December 19, 20171st2ndFinal
East Tennessee State344781
Detroit Mercy393473
Stats at a GlanceETSUDETMERCY
FG Percentage.509 (28-55) .407 (22-54)
3P FG Percentage.214 (3-14) .407 (11-27)
FT Percentage.759 (22-29) .750 (18-24)
Offensive Rebounds611
Defensive Rebounds2522
Total Rebounds3133
Turnovers716
Steals50
Bench Points3438
LeadersETSUDETMERCY
PointsDesonta Bradford - 21
CHATMAN - 20
ReboundsMladen Armus - 9
CHATMAN - 10
AssistsJason Williams - 3
LONG - 4
StealsDesonta Bradford - 3
BlocksAndre Edwards - 2
JONES - 3
Bucs looking to bounce back Tuesday at Detroit Mercy
Junior guard Andre Edwards (44) scored 10 points in the Bucs' loss at Xavier Saturday.
Bucs looking to bounce back Tuesday at Detroit Mercy
Monday, December 18, 2017

DETROIT (Dec. 19, 2017) – After taking No. 10 Xavier to the wire on Saturday, the ETSU men’s basketball team will face its final non-conference road test before opening Southern Conference play when the Buccaneers meet Detroit Mercy Tuesday night. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Calihan Hall.

The Buccaneers, who stand at 6-4 on the season, will be looking to win for the fifth time in their last six games. Meanwhile, the Horizon League’s Titans are 4-7 on the year.

The contest 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.

Following this game, the Bucs will return home for a pair of games over the holiday break. First up will be a strong Georgia Southern squad out of the Sun Belt Conference on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a meeting with nearby Tusculum College on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.

For more on Tuesday’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. Detroit Mercy

The Bucs are 1-0 all-time against the Titans, having beaten them 107-78 last season on Nov. 14, 2016 ... This will be the second of a two-game series for the two teams.

 

Last time out against Detroit Mercy

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 14, 2016) – Shooting 68.3 percent from the floor and outscoring Horizon League foe Detroit Mercy by 19 in the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team rolled to its second win of the season 107-78 inside Freedom Hall. ... The Buccaneers (2-0) were led by a career-high 27 points from senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.), while junior transfer Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.) collected 18 points. In addition, senior posts Isaac Banks (New Orleans) and Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) netted 12 and 10 points, respectively, with Banks going a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. ... It was hard to find any disappointing statistics for ETSU. The Bucs outscored the Titans 56-24 in the paint, 47-21 in bench points, blocked six shots, and dished out 21 assists on the night. The only issue for the Bucs were 15 turnovers, most of which came in the early part of the game. ... In the first half, the Titans hung around thanks to those untimely turnovers and the Bucs’ off-the-mark shooting from beyond the arc. However, after holding a slim one-point lead at 22-21, junior guard Julian Walters (Madison, Wis.) ignited ETSU by coming off the bench to hit back-to-back 3-pointers and make it 28-21 in favor of the Bucs with six minutes left before the half. ... From there, the Bucs lead grew to as many as 12 before ETSU ultimately took a 43-33 advantage into the halftime locker room. In the first half, ETSU shot 68 percent from the floor and was led by 13 points from Cromer.

 

Last time out

CINCINNATI (Dec. 16, 2017) – With a 22-point lead and 14 minutes left in the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team looked poised to collect the program’s first ever regular season victory over a team ranked in the Top 10 nationally. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, they will have to continue to wait on that elusive, historic win. ... No. 10 Xavier outscored the Bucs 39-14 for the remainder of the game and ultimately took its only lead of the secondhalf when All-American candidate Trevon Bluiett sank a fall away jump shot with six seconds left, lifting the Musketeers past ETSU 68-66 inside the Cintas Center. ... The difficult loss dropped ETSU to 6-4 on the season, while Xavier improved to 10-1. The Bucs certainly looked like the better team until the 14:25 mark of the second half. At that point, a 3-pointer by ETSU freshman Bo Hodges (Nashville) had given the Bucs a 51-29 lead and the home crowd of 10,432 sat quiet and stunned. In fact, ETSU still led by 10 at 59-49 with six minutes left, but was unable hold. ... After Bluiett’s heroics, the Bucs still had seven seconds left on the clock, but because Xavier had only three team fouls at that point of the second half, the Musketeers simply fouled ETSU three times to kill time and leave the Bucs with only one second left to attempt a desperation 3-pointer to end the game. ... For the contest, senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) made the case that he was the best player on the floor, posting a double-double with a game high 20 points and 10 rebounds. He was joined in double figures by three other ETSU players, as senior post Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) finished with 11 points and a career high five blocks, while senior guard Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) and junior guard Andre Edwards (Compton, California) added 10 points apiece.  ... While Xavier entered the game as one of the nation’s top shooting teams with an average of 55 percent from the floor on the year, the ETSU defense held the Musketeers to just a 38 percent clip. ... In fact, that defensive effort by the Bucs held Xavier to just 29 percent shooting the first half, while ETSU shot 57 percent from 3-point range and hit eight 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes. ... After the intermission, Xavier did not score a basket until the 15:25 mark of the second half, allowing the Bucs to move build their largest lead of the game. It was at that point the Musketeers changed to a trapping 1-3-1 defense and slowly began to cut into the ETSU lead.

 

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.), senior post Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan), freshman Bo Hodges (Nashville) and junior transfer Andre Edwards (Compton, Calif.) 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, Hodges 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. ... Edwards also picked up 10 points and four boards in the loss to Xavier.

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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.