December 16, 20171st2ndFinal
ETSU392766
Xavier274168
Stats at a GlanceETSUXU
FG Percentage.373 (25-67) .379 (25-66)
3P FG Percentage.393 (11-28) .308 (8-26)
FT Percentage.833 (5-6) .833 (10-12)
Offensive Rebounds1215
Defensive Rebounds2530
Total Rebounds3745
Turnovers89
Steals35
Bench Points2432
LeadersETSUXU
PointsDesonta Bradford - 20
BLUIETT - 18
ReboundsDesonta Bradford - 10
GATES - 7
O'MARA - 7
AssistsJalan McCloud - 5
GOODIN - 6
StealsMladen Armus - 1
David Burrell - 1
Jason Williams - 1
GOODIN - 1
MARSHALL - 1
JONES - 1
GATES - 1
O'MARA - 1
BlocksPeter Jurkin - 5
JONES - 2
O'MARA - 2
No. 10 Xavier next up for Bucs Saturday at 2
The Bucs will play their second Top 10-ranked opponent of the season on Saturday at Xavier.
No. 10 Xavier next up for Bucs Saturday at 2
Friday, December 15, 2017

CINCINNATI (Dec. 15, 2017) – For the second time already this season, the ETSU men’s basketball team will face a Top 10 opponent as the Buccaneers travel to take on No. 10 Xavier Saturday at 2 p.m. inside the Cintas Center.

The Bucs, who traveled to then No. 7 Kentucky back on Nov. 17, will be protecting a four-game winning streak as they head into this game with the Musketeers, who are currently 9-1 on the season.

The contest will air live via video stream courtesy of the FoxSportsGo 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 6-3 record, the Buccaneers will be looking to maintain the momentum gained by four straight wins, a run that includes a road victory at Atlantic 10 member Fordham and a win over defending Horizon League champion Northern Kentucky, as well as a 46-point margin in their last outing against Hiwassee.

For more on Saturday’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. Xavier

The Bucs and Musketeers have met three times, with ETSU trailing the series 1-2 ... The Bucs’ victory in the series came in the first matchup between the two teams back during the 1991-92 season in Cincinnati, an 82-79 win for ETSU ... Since then, Xavier has won back-to-back games in the series, including an 80-55 home victory back during the 1999-2000 season.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 10, 2017) – It is better to give than receive during the holiday season, and Hiwassee College was certainly in a giving mood Sunday afternoon inside Freedom Hall. ... The ETSU men’s basketball team had 15 steals and forced 17 turnovers in the first half, closing the opening 20 minutes on a 23-2 run to take a 31-point lead into the intermission and cruise past the Hiwassee College Tigers, 94-48. The partisan crowd of 3,321 fans saw the Bucs improve to 6-3 on the season and head into finals week on a four-game winning streak. ... All 13 ETSU players scored in the game and each were on the floor for significant minutes, with freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville) leading the way with a game high 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor in just 10 minutes of playing time. Along with Hodges, sophomore guard Jason Williams (Detroit) and freshman post Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) pitched in 12 and 10 points, respectively. ... The Bucs first-half dominance did not begin until 10 minutes into a game with ETSU leading 23-13. It was at that point when Forbes and his staff began to employ the team’s full-court, pressing defense. ... While all the Bucs seemed to thrive over the remainder of the half and finished on a huge offensive run, it was Hodges who seemed the most comfortable on the floor, finishing the half with 13 points and two steals to go with multiple dunks in transition.  ... The second half started in exactly the same fashion as the first half, as senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) collected a steal and then dunked the transition basket home, making it 50-17 with 19:40 left in regulation. From there, ETSU’s large lead only continued to grow, ultimately finishing at 46 points. ... For the game, ETSU held large advantages in bench points (68-25), fast break points (33-6), points off turnovers (37-8) and points in the paint (54-28). The Bucs ultimately finished with 22 assists on the night and forced the Tigers into 27 turnovers.

 

Several Bucs providing

new offensive sparks

Finding new offensive production heading into the season was a big need 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.

 

Hodges goes on “Bo”-nanza in 113 seconds

In a less than two-minute span against Hiwassee College, true freshman Bo Hodges (Nashville) put on a show ... The two-time Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee collected 11 points, four dunks, two layups, two steals and a free throw in a total of 113 seconds during the first half of the Bucs’ win over the Tigers ... Those numbers propelled Hodges to a game high 18 points on the night ... In addition, Hodges currently ranks first in the SoCon in field goal percentage, hitting 66 percent of his shots.

 

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 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 939 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA. The Top 10 as of Dec. 10 can be found below:

School.............................................................. #of games

  1. Kentucky............................................................ 1,022
  2. UNLV................................................................. 1,016
  3. Vanderbilt.......................................................... 1,008
  4. Duke..................................................................... 996
  5. Arkansas............................................................... 951
  6. Western Kentucky.................................................. 948
  7. East Tennessee State............................................. 939
  8. Oakland................................................................ 914
  9. Texas.................................................................... 900
  10. Princeton............................................................. 884

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

 

ETSU 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.

 

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.

 

2016-17 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

 

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).

 

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.

 

Hodges stepping up as freshman contributor

Freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville) has consistently improved throughout the season, and in the Bucs’ last two games he has become an efficient performer on both ends of the floor ... Against Fordham (11/29), Hodges finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, and followed that effort with 14 points and three blocks in the win over Northern Kentucky (12/6) ... Hodges has also moved to 2nd in the SoCon in field goal percentage, connecting on 61 percent of his shots so far this season.