November 29, 20171st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceETSUFOR
FG Percentage.592 (29-49) .500 (23-46)
3P FG Percentage.429 (6-14) .316 (6-19)
FT Percentage.667 (18-27) .806 (25-31)
Offensive Rebounds83
Defensive Rebounds2617
Total Rebounds3420
Bench Points2811
PointsDesonta Bradford - 22
ReboundsDesonta Bradford - 9
AssistsJalan McCloud - 4
Desonta Bradford - 4
StealsJermaine Long - 2
BlocksKanayo Obi-Rapu - 1
Jason Williams - 1
Bo Hodges - 1
Bucs make trip to Big Apple to face Fordham
Senior guard Devontavius Payne and the rest of the Bucs will be looking for back--to-back wins when they face Fordham on Wednesday night.
Bucs make trip to Big Apple to face Fordham
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

BRONX, N.Y. (Nov. 28, 2017) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will venture into the heart of the Big Apple on Wednesday night as the Buccaneers travel to the Bronx, N.Y., to face Fordham. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Rose Hill Gymnasium.

The game will air live via video stream courtesy of the media portal, while the Buccaneer Sports Network will also have the live broadcast of the game on its radio affiliates and through the live link at In addition, live stats will also be available by clicking the link to the right of this story.

Entering the game with a 3-3 record, the Bucs will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. This will be the second meeting all-time between the two teams, with ETSU having won the last matchup a year ago. Fordham brings a 2-3 record into the contest.

For more on Wednesday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2017-18 season, visit and click on the men’s hoops link.

Game Notes

We are “ETSU”

The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called “ETSU” ... East Tennessee State University in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.


Buc bits

When Steve Forbes was hired as the men’s basketball coach at ETSU on March 31, 2015, he promised that the Buccaneers would have a program of “first, best and most.” ... Less than two years later, Forbes made good on that guarantee as he guided the 2016-17 ETSU men’s basketball team to a 27-win season, both a Southern Conference regular season and tournament title, and a 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament  ...  Overall, the Bucs have combined to win more games than any other program in the SoCon over the last two years (51) and have made back-to-back appearances in the league’s tournament championship game ... As the squad enters the 2017-18 season, the momentum and excitement around the program are high, but there will be challenges. ...

Graduating four of its starting five players from a year ago, the Bucs have lost 62 percent of its offensive production from a year ago, along with its two best interior post defender.


The series vs. Fordham

This will be the second meeting between the Bucs and Rams, with the first matchup occurring last season ... ETSU leads the series 1-0 after beating Fordam 96-59 back on Nov. 11, 2016.


Last time out vs. Fordham

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 11, 2016) – Talk about a nice debut for the ETSU men’s basketball team. ... Junior transfer David Burrell (Milwaukee) scored a game-high 21 points and five other teammates reached double figures, as the Buccaneers shot 63 percent from the field and opened Homecoming weekend by racing past Atlantic 10 Conference foe Fordham 96-59 inside Freedom Hall. ... The Bucs (1-0) trailed early on, but went to a new 1-3-1 zone early in the second half to surge ahead by as many as 37 points by the end of the game. Along with Burrell, senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) finished with 16 points, junior guard Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.) netted 14, and senior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) added 13. Meanwhile, both junior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) and senior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans) pitched in 10 points each. ... With Fordham expected to be aggressive thanks to their hounding man-to-man, trapping defense, the Bucs struggled to take the lead early in the game. In fact, with the Rams hitting their first five 3-pointers of the contest, Fordham built a lead of 18-13 with 12 minutes left before the break. ... However, at that point ETSU found its offensive footing, putting together a 12-5 run highlighted by dunks Merriweather and Burrell to make it 25-21 in favor of the Bucs. From there, another 13-5 run helped ETSU pull away further and ultimately the Bucs led 47-37 at the break. ... After the break, the Bucs confused Fordham by opening in a 1-3-1 zone defense that helped turn the ball over on multiple possessions and resulted in a 13-2 run to make it 60-39 with 15 minutes left in the game.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 25, 2017) – Senior Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) has now officially introduced himself – and his game – to ETSU men’s basketball fans. ... The graduate-transfer guard scored a game and career high 25 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists, taking over a game that was a tight contest midway through the second half, and lifting the Buccaneers to an 83-73 non-conference win over Summit League foe Fort Wayne b inside Freedom Hall. ... Along with McCloud’s effort, fellow senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) scored 16 points, as the Bucs finished the game shooting just under 50 percent from the floor. For the Mastodons, three players posted double-figure scoring, led by

guard Bryson Scott with 24 points. ... The Bucs took an offensive approach that attacked the basket from the tip, with slashing guard play that valued two-point scores over 3-pointers. It was a method that ultimately proved successful, even though early on the Mastodons looked like they may win out by relying on 3-point shots. ... Case in point, the first half was an offensive showcase, with the Bucs slashing to the rim time after time and shooting 66 percent from the floor, 50 percent from 3-point range and 92 percent at the foul line. Unfortunately for the Bucs, the Mastodons were nearly as good from the field, but instead did most of their damage from 3-point range, going 9-of-18 from beyond the arc compared to the Bucs 3-of-6 clip from outside. ... The result was a tight game at the half, but the Bucs did manage to build a little breathing room thanks to a dramatic half-court shot from McCloud as the clock expired. That bucket gave McCloud a game high 19 points at the break and spotted the Bucs a 52-47 lead heading into the intermission. .... In the second half, the Bucs led by six at 56-51 before going scoreless over a five-minute stretch of game play, allowing Fort Wayne to tie it at 56. That’s when McCloud and Bradford reasserted themselves, combining to score 12 of the Bucs next 14 points to power a 14-2 offensive run that basically put the game away. ... Fort Wayne did manage to cut the lead to five thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers, but from there ETSU went 6-of-6 at the foul line to ice it. 


Jurkin, Payne provide offensive sparks

Finding new offensive production heading into the season was a big concern for the Bucs ... So far, senior guard Devontavius Payne (Cardondale, Ill.) and senior post Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) have shown signs that they can help in that area ... In a win over Savannah State (11/13), Payne netted a personal best 28 points, while Jurkin netted his career high

with 17 points in a loss at Kentucky (11/17). ... Both players continued to produce against Delaware State, with Payne scoring 11 points, while Jurkin provided a career high 10 rebounds and nine points.


Bradford named preseason All-SoCon, Bucs picked 4th

ETSU senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) was selected to the Preseason All-Southern Conference team by the league’s coaches, and the Buccaneers were picked to finish fourth in both the coaches and media polls released by the SoCon offices earlier this year. ... ETSU, the reigning SoCon tournament champion, was selected fourth in both polls, finishing one point behind Furman in the coaches poll with 64 points and two first-place votes, and garnering 178 points and four first-place votes in the media poll. The Bucs, who earned a share of last year’s regular-season title at 27-8 overall and 14-4 in the league, put Bradford, their lone returning starter from last year’s squad, on the preseason all-conference team.


Bucs continue on 3-point streak list

Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 936 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.


ETSU’s own version of “one-and-done”

While Power 5 programs such as Kentucky and Duke have defined the term “one-and-done” to describe freshmen that play a single season before moving on to the NBA, ETSU has created its own version of “one-and-done” which  relies on fifth-year graduate players and other transfers to help give ETSU a jolt of competitive talent. ... In 2015-16, Cincinnati transfer Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) was one of these players for the Bucs, while last year Indiana transfer Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) and Wichita State transfer Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) provided ETSU with a single-season boost of talent during the 2016-17 campaign. ... This year, guard Jalan McCloud (Forth Worth, Texas) is carrying on the tradition after transfering from Texas Southern.

Bucs among best in NCAA

A complete listing of where the Bucs currently stand in the NCAA national rankings can be found to the left of this note ... As of Nov. 28, the team is one of the best in the country in collecting steals and forcing turnovers.


2017-18 ETSU squad among the best ever at ETSU

Along with making program history thanks to a 10th trip all-time to the NCAAs and another conference title, last year’s ETSU team also ranked among the best teams ever in multiple single season statistical categories. They included:

Wins................................................................. T-2nd, 27

Free throws made.............................................. 2nd, 597

Blocked shots.................................................... 2nd, 162

Points............................................................... 4th, 2782

Assists............................................................... 4th, 516

Scoring margin................................................ T-4th, +9.8

Field goals made................................................. 4th, 960

Field goal percentage......................................... 6th, .488

3-pt. FG made.................................................... 6th, 265

Rebounding margin............................................ 6th, +4.2

3-pt. FG percentage........................................ T-4th, .382

Winning Percentage........................................... 8th, .771

Rebounds...................................................... T-9th, 1269


Three game road swings a challenge for Bucs

As the Bucs open the season with a three game road swing, it won’t be the last time ETSU faces that challenge this year. ... In fact, the Bucs will open SoCon play with three straight road games, and then end the season with three more league games away from home.


Turnover issues early on for Bucs

In back-to-back games to open the season, the Bucs committed 20 turnovers against both Northern Kentucky (11/10) and Savannah State (11/13) ... They have improved on those numbers marginally in their last three games, with 16 turnvoers against Kentucky 911/17) and only 14 in the win over Delaware State (11/20) and loss to Troy (11/22) ... The Bucs had 16 turnovers in the win over Fort Wayne (11/27) ... A year ago, the Bucs averaged just 14.8 turnovers a contest.    


Success against Power 5 opponents

The Bucs have enjoyed their share of wins in early season games against Power 5 Conference foes over the last decade ... Since the 2008-09 season, ETSU has collected victories over Arkansas in 2009 (94-85), Georgia Tech in 2015 (69-68), and Mississippi State in both 2010 (63-62) and 2016 (67-65). ... Prior to the 2008-09 season, the Bucs have a long tradition of upsetting Power 5 teams, including a win over No. 3 seeded Arizona in the first round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament, along with wins over Tennessee (1989 and 1991), N.C. State (1989, 1990 and 1992) and Virginia Tech (1998).


Bucs among nation’s best in attendance growth

The ETSU men’s basketball team continues to reap good news from its historic 2016-17 season, learning earlier this year that the program posted the nation’s 15th best increase for average attendance from the previous year. ... The Bucs, who averaged 3,065 fans a game in 2015-16, watched as that number ballooned to 4,053 fans per game during the team’s championship run to the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17. ETSU ultimately led the Southern Conference in average attendance per game – selling out three games during the season versus Tennessee, Chattanooga and Furman – and was just outside of the Top 100 in overall attendance in the country out of 347 Division I teams.


Newcomers bring production in opener

Despite the loss in the season opener at Northern Kentucky, newcomers Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas), Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) and

Bo Hodges (Nashville) provided glimpses of their potential. ... McCloud -- a fifth year graduate transfer -- posted a double digit scoring effort with 11 points, while grabbing six rebounds, dishing out two assists and grabbing two steals. ... Meanwhile, freshmen Armus and Hodges produced as well, with Armus collecting a team high 10 rebounds and scoring seven points, while Hodges scored seven points and six boards. ... McCloud has gone on to post a season high 25 points in the win over Fort Wayne (11/27), while Hodges had a season high nine points in that same win.


300th game for Forbes

ETSU head coach Steve Forbes reached a milestone last Friday night at Kentucky, coaching his 300th game as a head coach ... Overall, Forbes is 219-82 (.728) as a head coach at both the junior college and NCAA Division I levels ... His complete coaching record can be found on Page 5 of this notes packet.


Junior transfer Rodriguez to miss season

ETSU men’s basketball head coach Steve Forbes announced prior to the start of the regular season that junior forward Jeromy Rodriguez (Santiago, D.R.) will undergo a medical procedure and will miss the 2017-18 season. ... Rodriguez will still have two years of eligibility remaining when he returns to the roster in ’18-19.


Forbes makes USA Today list of “coaches on the rise”

ETSU head men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes was named to USA Today’s list of 10 coaches on the rise heading into the 2016-17 season. Below is an excerpt from the story by Jon Rothstein and a link to the entire list: Which coaches are on the rise in college basketball? Check out our list below as we look at 10 coaches in the sport trending upwards. In no particular order … Steve Forbes, East Tennessee State: Forbes won 24 games in his first season as a head coach in Division I and should be a perennial contender in the SoCon. A tenacious recruiter when he was an assistant at both Tennessee and Wichita State, Forbes knows how to find players. The Bucs currently have three players on their roster — Peter Jurkin (Indiana), Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Indiana), and Tevin Glass (Wichita State) that were all recruited to play at a significantly higher level before Forbes lured them to East Tennessee State.


Back-to-back seasons with wins over “Major” opponents

While ETSU has enjoyed its share of wins over “major” opposition in the past, the Bucs’ have posted back-to-back seasons with wins over teams from “Power 5” Conferences ... The Bucs dropped Atlantic Coast Conference foe Georgia Tech in 2015-16, and followed that victory with a win over Mississippi State in 2016-17 ... The win over GT was the first over an ACC foe since defeating N.C. State back in 1991 ... The MSU win was the first over an SEC foe since dropping the same Bulldogs back in 2010.