December 06, 20171st2ndFinal
Northern Kentucky284371
ETSU463884
Stats at a GlanceNKU-METSU
FG Percentage.491 (27-55) .596 (31-52)
3P FG Percentage.235 (4-17) .333 (5-15)
FT Percentage.867 (13-15) .810 (17-21)
Offensive Rebounds66
Defensive Rebounds1923
Total Rebounds2529
Turnovers1410
Steals76
Bench Points1142
LeadersNKU-METSU
PointsWILLIAMS - 22
Devontavius Payne - 16
ReboundsMCDONALD - 6
Desonta Bradford - 8
AssistsHOLLAND II - 5
Jalan McCloud - 6
StealsTATE - 3
GARNETT - 3
Devontavius Payne - 3
BlocksWALTON - 1
Bo Hodges - 3
Peter Jurkin - 3
Buccaneer fans are encouraged to wear their favorite blue ETSU gear for Wednesday's game against Northern Kentucky.
"Blue Out" awaits as ETSU hosts NKU Wednesday
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 5, 2017) – When Northern Kentucky visits Freedom Hall Wednesday night at 7 p.m, the Norse will be greeted by not only the ETSU men’s basketball team, but also by a special “Blue Out” fan base in the stands.

The Buccaneers and Norse will meet for the second time this season in a rare non-conference, home-and-home series, as ETSU will look to avenge a season-opening loss to their former Atlantic Sun Conference rivals from the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Now a member of the Horizon League and the defending champion of that conference, NKU will meet the defending Southern Conference champion Bucs, a team focused on evening the score with the Norse.

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

Entering the game with a 4-3 record, the Bucs will be attempting to protect their first winning streak of the season. Meanwhile, NKU has played well early on this season and holds a 6-2 overall record, with those two losses coming by a combined four points.

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 ETSUBucs.com 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. Northern Kentucky

Tonight’s game is a rematch of former Atlantic Sun Conference foes, with ETSU holding a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series ... During the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, the Bucs and Norse met four times, with ETSU going 3-1 in those matchups ... This year, the two teams scheduled a rare home-and-home, non-conference series with the Bucs losing the previous meeting, 81-63, back on Nov. 10, 2017.

 

Last time out vs. Northern Kentucky

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2017) – In a season-opening contest between two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, the squad replacing four starters looked the part against a team that returned the majority of its weapons. ...  With its starting lineup from a year ago still intact and featuring preseason Horizon League Player of the Year Drew McDonald, who scored a game high 22 points, the Northern Kentucky men’s basketball team put together a more fluid and complete effort to cruise past ETSU 81-63 at BB&T Arena.    ... The stats certainly told the story on this night, as the Bucs committed 20 turnovers and managed only three assists. ETSU was also just 2-of-18 from 3-point range, as senior David Burrell (Milwaukee) was held to only two points and two rebounds, and ETSU’s starting lineup combined to go just 10-of-29 from the field. Meanwhile, NKU dished out 17 assists and committed just 14 turnovers, with McDonald joined in double figures by Lavone Holland and Carson Williams with 16 and 15 points, respectively. ... For the Bucs, preseason All-Southern Conference pick Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) had a team high 15 points, while newcomers Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) and Kanayo Obi-Rapu (Greensboro, N.C.) collected 11 and 10 points, respectively. Another couple bright spots for the Bucs included freshman post Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) grabbing a team high 10 rebounds and scoring seven points, while fellow freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville) had six boards and seven points. The Bucs did out-rebound the Norse 43-40 and held NKU to 40.9 percent shooting from the floor, but the Bucs shot just 11.1 percent from 3-point range themselves and watched the Norse outscore them 34-30 in the paint and 27-13 off turnovers.

 

Last time out

BRONX, N.Y. (Nov. 29, 2017) – Missing senior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) due to a minor medical procedure, the ETSU men’s basketball team needed other players to step into the spotlight Wednesday night at Fordham. Freshman Bo Hodges (Nashville) and junior Andre Edwards (Compton, Calif.) answered the call. ... Hodges scored a career high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Edwards came off the bench to  also score a career high 11 points and collect four boards, as the Buccaneers outlasted a pesky Fordham squad 82-77 in non-conference hoops action at Rose Hill Gymnasium. ... Along with Hodges and Edwards, the Bucs also got a needed game high 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists from senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), as ETSU shot an impressive 59 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Rams 34-20 on the night. ... The first half did not start well for the Bucs, who committed seven turnovers in the first four minutes of play and fell behind 6-0. Fortunately for ETSU, its defensive effort was solid and held the Rams scoreless for nearly six minutes of game play, regaining the 9-8 lead. From there, both teams traded baskets before ETSU hit 3-pointers on four of its last five made field goals of the half to take a 33-28 lead into the break. ... After the break, the Bucs went small with a lineup that included five guards. Those ball handlers helped ETSU cut down on its turnovers and pull ahead by 11 at 58-47 with 10:21 left in regulation. However, Fordham made its best run of the game, outscoring the Bucs 9-2 to pull to within four with seven minutes left. ... The Rams continued to slowly cut into the ETSU lead and ultimately got to within one at 78-77 with 3.0 seconds left. Bradford was fouled and hit two pressure-packed free throws to make it 80-77. The Bucs then intercepted the Fordham in-bounds pass and junior guard Kanayo Obi-Rapu (Greensboro, N.C.) hit two more free throws to ice the game.

 

Several Bucs providing new 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. ... In addition, in the Bucs’ game at Fordham, freshman Bo Hodges (Nashville) stepped into the starting lineup to post career hights in points (20) and rebounds (8), while junior college transfer Andre Edwards (Compton, Calif.) came off the bench to make his ETSU debut and score 11 points to go with four rebounds.

 

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.

 

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 Dec. 4, the team is one of the best in the country in collecting steals and forcing turnovers.

 

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 937 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.