December 22, 20171st2ndFinal
Georgia Southern312859
ETSU364379
Stats at a GlanceGSETSU
FG Percentage.407 (22-54) .483 (29-60)
3P FG Percentage.333 (4-12) .429 (9-21)
FT Percentage.611 (11-18) .571 (12-21)
Offensive Rebounds713
Defensive Rebounds2328
Total Rebounds3041
Turnovers1513
Steals25
Bench Points1638
LeadersGSETSU
PointsBrown - 24
Devontavius Payne - 15
ReboundsO'Connell - 9
Mladen Armus - 6
Desonta Bradford - 6
Jalan McCloud - 6
Devontavius Payne - 6
AssistsGladden - 2
Jason Williams - 6
StealsGlenn - 1
Brown - 1
Desonta Bradford - 3
BlocksGlenn - 2
Peter Jurkin - 3
Bucs to host former SoCon rival Georgia Southern Friday
Senior David Burrell and the Bucs are back home on Friday night at 7 p.m. to host former SoCon foe Georgia Southern.
Bucs to host former SoCon rival Georgia Southern Friday
Thursday, December 21, 2017

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 21, 2017) – A familiar foe will invade Freedom Hall for a Christmas weekend showdown on Friday night, as former Southern Conference rival and current Sun Belt Conference member Georgia Southern will take on the ETSU men’s basketball team. Tip is set at 7 p.m.

Fans are reminded to wear their favorite tacky holiday sweaters and help bring a festive spirit to the game, as this will be the first meeting between these two teams since the 2004-05 season, when both programs were still members of the Southern Conference.

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.

ETSU, which enters at 7-4 overall on the season and has won five of its last six games, will be facing an Eagles team that has been impressive in the early season. So far, Georgia Southern is 9-3 on the year with a RPI in the Top 40.

For more on Friday’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. Georgia Southern

As fellow members of the Southern Conference throughout much of the 1990s and early 2000s, the Bucs and Eagles have met 29 times on the hardwood all-time ... ETSU trails the series 12-17, but the last meeting came all the way back at the end of the 2004-05 season, a 97-91 win for the Eagles. 

 

Last time out against Georgia Southern

STATESBORO, Ga. (Feb. 26, 2005) -- A late rally by East Tennessee State fell just short as Georgia Southern defeated the Bucs in the season finale for both teams, 97-91, from Hanner Fieldhouse in Statesboro, Ga. With the loss, ETSU fell to 9-18, 4-12 in Southern Conference play while the Eagles closed out the 2004-05 regular season 17-12, and 10-6 in conference games. ... In front of a national audience on ESPN2, the Southern Conference’s top two scorers put on a show. ETSU junior point guard Tim Smith (Newport, News, Va.), number one in scoring, poured in a career-high 41 points. ... Smith made 16-of-29 field goals, including 5-of-7 beyond the arc. Junior forward Dillion Sneed (Chicago, Ill.) joined Smith in double-figures, totaling 10 points and a SoCon season-high 22 rebounds. ... However, the trio of Elton Nesbitt (second in scoring), Terry Williams and Donte Gennie combined for 66 points. Those three accounted for all 12 of Georgia Southern’s 3-pointers: Nesbitt 6, Williams 4 and Gennie 2. ... The Eagles shot 49.4 percent from the game, five points higher than ETSU, and sank 12-of-23 from beyond the arc. Free throw shooting was a downfall as GS made only 9-of-17 attempts. ... Down 25-24 midway through the first half, Williams hit a three-pointer that put the Eagles ahead what turned out to be for good. That started a 21-5 run over five minutes. Up 11 at halftime, Georgia Southern led by as many as 19 early in the second half (60-41) before ETSU made a run. In fact the Buccaneers outscored the Eagles 29-13 over the next eight minutes. A Smith three-pointer capped the run and made it a 73-70 game. ... Later Gennie scored five straight points to help the Eagles start to pull away.

 

Last time out

DETROIT (Dec. 19, 2017) – This time, the ETSU men’s basketball team was simply not going to relinquish a late-game lead.  ... After losing a heartbreaking two-point contest at No. 10 Xavier on Saturday afternoon, the Buccaneers overcame a five-point halftime deficit and showed resolve down the stretch to take a hard-fought victory over Horizon League foe Detroit Mercy 81-73 at Calihan Hall. ... The Bucs, who improved to 7-4 on the season with the win, led by as many as 12 in the second half before seeing the Titans (4-8) cut that advantage to five with five minutes left. However, senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) made clutch plays down the stretch to end Detroit Mercy’s threat and finish with a game high 21 points, while fellow senior guard Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) assisted that effort with 14 points on the night. ... Indeed, this current six-day road trip that also followed finals week has been a challenge for the Bucs, but they now return home for a pair of games against Georgia Southern (Dec. 22) and Tusculum (Dec. 28) with a chance to build even more momentum before opening Southern Conference play on the road Dec. 31 at Mercer.  ... In this game, the Bucs committed just seven turnovers compared to 16 for the Titans, and they scored 22 points off those UDM miscues. ... An 11-of-27 effort (41 percent) from 3-point range was the only statistic that kept UDM in the contest. ... The first half featured offensive runs by both teams, but it would be the Titans that put together the most impressive surge. After the Bucs used an 11-0 spurt and another 7-2 run to take a 28-19 lead with 5:25 left, the Titans outscored ETSU 20-6 over the remainder of the half to take a 39-34 advantage into the intermission. ...     In the second half, the Bucs methodically battled back over the first 10 minutes of play to take a 57-55 lead. At that point, a 10-0 run over the next four minutes led to a 67-55 advantage for ETSU with 6:35 left in the game. ... UDM did score the next five points to get within five with five minutes left, but that’s as close as the Titans would get.

 

Bradford closing in on 1,000 points

Senior guard Desonta Bradford is coming off back-to-back games of eclipsing 20 points, and now stands at 903 points for his career ... With another 97 points this season, he would become the 41st player in school history to eclipse 1,000 points for his career.

 

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 65 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 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. 19, the team is one of the best in the country in collecting steals and forcing 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.), 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.

 

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 941 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.