January 04, 20181st2ndFinal
ETSU444690
Samford343872
Stats at a GlanceETSUSAM
FG Percentage.608 (31-51) .464 (26-56)
3P FG Percentage.550 (11-20) .261 (6-23)
FT Percentage.810 (17-21) .778 (14-18)
Offensive Rebounds710
Defensive Rebounds2317
Total Rebounds3027
Turnovers1616
Steals76
Bench Points3223
LeadersETSUSAM
PointsDesonta Bradford - 18
Alex Thompson - 19
ReboundsBo Hodges - 5
Devontavius Payne - 5
TEAM - 5
AssistsJermaine Long - 9
Josh Sharkey - 9
StealsDesonta Bradford - 3
Josh Sharkey - 2
D. Denzel-Dyson - 2
BlocksBo Hodges - 1
Kanayo Obi-Rapu - 1
Peter Jurkin - 1
Trip to Samford next up for ETSU men Thursday night
Trip to Samford next up for ETSU men Thursday night
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 3, 2018) – Following a convincing win over Mercer last Sunday, the ETSU men’s basketball team will play the second of three straight road contest games to open Southern Conference play when the Buccaneers visit Samford Thursday night.

Tip at the Pete Hanna Center is set for 8 p.m. (EST).

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 10-4 overall on the season and 1-0 in league play, has won eight of its last nine games and is currently ranked No. 16 in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major ranking. Meanwhile, Samford stands at 5-9 overall, 1-0 in SoCon play.

For more on Thursday’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. Samford

The Bucs are 9-1 all-time against Samford ... In a series that dates back to 1979, the Bucs won the first four contests before dropping a home game to the Bulldogs during the 2014-15 season ... The Bucs have won the last five meetings between the two programs, including an 81-72 win in the semifinals of the 2017 SoCon Tournament.

 

Last time out against Samford

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 5, 2017) – The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of outstanding individual performances in the Southern Conference Tournament over the years, but on Sunday night, senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) had a game for the ages. ... Scoring a career high 41 points – 25 of which came in an incredible first half – Cromer became the first player to eclipse 40 points in a Southern Conference Tournament game since NBA star Stephen Curry went for 43 in 2009, as the Buccanners raced past Samford 81-72 in the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center. ... With the win, the Bucs improved to 26-7 on the season, but more importantly secured a spot in Monday night’s SoCon title game against UNC Greensboro at 7 p.m. ... Connecting on 9-of-12 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, Cromer tied the tournament record for threes in a game and came up just one shy of the ETSU single-game mark. He also became the first ETSU player to eclipse 40 points in a game since Tim Smith’s 41 in a win over Georgia Southern back in 2005. ... Cromer – who finished 11-of-18 from the field and 10-of-11 at the foul line – was joined in double figures on the night by junior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) with 13. For Samford, three players netted double figures, led by a strong 30-point showing from guard Christen Cunningham. ... Cromer’s offensive play and the Bucs’ defensive effort were the story of the first half. Scoring six of ETSU’s first nine points thanks to a pair of 3-pointers, Cromer went on to net his remarkable 25 points in the opening 20 minutes thanks to an 8-of-12 shooting clip from the floor and 6-of-8 showing from 3-point range.

 

Last time out

MACON, Ga. (Dec. 31, 2017) – When it comes to playing the Mercer Bears, 2017 was a great year for the ETSU men’s basketball team. ... For the fourth time over the last 365 days, the Buccaneers handed the Bears a defeat, as ETSU said goodbye to the past year with a dominating New Year’s Eve victory over Mercer 74-55 in the Southern Conference opener for both teams inside Hawkins Arena. ... The Bucs held the Bears to just one field goal over a nine-minute stretch of the second half and then shot an impressive 10-of-18 (56 percent) from 3-point range to improve to 10-4 overall and 1-0 in SoCon play. With the loss, the Bears fall to 7-7, 0-1.  ... The Bucs – who beat Mercer twice during the regular season and then in the quarterfinals of the 2017 SoCon Tournament back during the 2016-17 season – got a game high 22 points from senior guard Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas), a player who had hit just three 3-pointers all season but connected on four during Sunday’s game. In addition to McCloud, fellow senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) and freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville) each added 12 points for the Bucs. ... The key stretch of the game came with the score 49-44 in favor of ETSU with 12:31 left in regulation. Over the next nine minutes, the Bucs would hold Mercer to just one field goal and use that stretch to build a 63-50 lead. From there, the Bears could only muster two more field goals, while ETSU went on an 11-5 run to close out the 19-point victory.

 

Three game road swings a challenge for Bucs

The Bucs opened the season with a three game road swing, and it won’t be the last time ETSU faces that challenge this year. ... In fact, the Bucs are currently in the midst of a SoCon opening stretch of three road games, and then will end the season with three more road league games.

 

Bradford closing in on 1,000 points

Senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) was coming off back-to-back games of eclipsing 20 points before posting another 10-point effort in the win over Georgia Southern ... With 12 more points against Mercer (12/31), he now stands at 943 points for his career ... With another 57 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. 29, 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) and freshman Bo Hodges (Nashville) 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).

 

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 944 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:

  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.

 

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.