January 06, 20181st2ndFinal
ETSU483785
Chattanooga273966
Stats at a GlanceETSUUTC
FG Percentage.559 (33-59) .390 (23-59)
3P FG Percentage.368 (7-19) .294 (5-17)
FT Percentage.632 (12-19) .556 (15-27)
Offensive Rebounds1012
Defensive Rebounds3217
Total Rebounds4229
Turnovers1112
Steals76
Bench Points3911
LeadersETSUUTC
PointsPeter Jurkin - 15
Nat Dixon - 20
ReboundsPeter Jurkin - 11
Jonathan Bryant II - 6
AssistsJermaine Long - 4
Rodney Chatman - 4
Nat Dixon - 4
StealsJalan McCloud - 3
David Jean-Baptiste - 2
BlocksPeter Jurkin - 3
Nat Dixon - 2
Rival Chattanooga awaits as Bucs wrap up road swing
Senior guard Jalan McCloud and the rest of the Bucs will look to keep rolling in SoCon play Saturday at Chattanooga. Photo courtesy of Marvin Gentry.
Rival Chattanooga awaits as Bucs wrap up road swing
Friday, January 5, 2018

CHATTANOOGA (Jan. 5, 2018) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will end a three game road swing in Southern Conference play on Saturday, as the Buccaneers will take on arch rival Chattanooga at 5 p.m. inside McKenzie Arena.

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.

The Bucs, who enter the contest having won back-to-back games over the Mocs, have posted convincing back-to-back wins over SoCon foes Mercer and Samford to quickly take the top spot in the league standings. Meanwhile, UTC is currently 6-9 overall, 0-2 in league play.

ETSU, which enters at 11-4 overall on the season and 2-0 in SoCon action, has won nine of its last 10 games and is currently ranked No. 16 in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major ranking.

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. Chattanooga

In what is widely considered the longest and most heated rivalry in ETSU basketball history, the Bucs and Mocs have met 82 times, with ETSU trailing the all-time series 36 to 46 ... The two teams shared the same conference from 1979 to 2005, spending several years battling in the SoCon before both teams were reunited again beginning with the 2014-15 season ... The Bucs have won back-to-back games in the series, including a 65-51 win in the last meeting between the two teams in Chattanooga back on Feb. 18, 2017.

 

Last time out against Chattanooga

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2017) – It is appropriate that Chattanooga’s home floor is nicknamed the “Roundhouse,” because the ETSU men’s basketball team ran circles around the Mocs. ... Enjoying its best defensive effort of the season and a 17-0 offensive run midway through the second half, the Buccaneers made a statement on the home floor of the defending Southern Conference champions, besting UTC 65-51 in front of 6,402 fans at the McKenzie Center. ... The defensive package employed by ETSU was effective, holding the Mocs to a season low 20 points in the first half and UTC had just 39 points with 2:05 left in the game, before scoring a quick 12 points in the final minutes. Man-to-man, 1-3-1 zone, match-up zones, and even defensive styles that would change during a single UTC possession, forced the Mocs into 19 turnovers and led to 14 steals by the Bucs. Moreover, the Bucs used those miscues by UTC to outscore the Mocs 26-13 off turnovers. ... For the night, ETSU was led by a game high 15 points from senior guards A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.), while senior post Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) had 10. Glass was perfect from the field for the second-straight game, going 5-of-5 from outside, while Merriweather was 6-of-7 from the floor. ... Prior to tonight, the lowest first half point total for any ETSU opponent this year was 22 by South Dakota State back in November at the Sanford Pentagon Showcase. On this night, the Bucs held UTC to 20 points before the break and used a 10-0 offensive run to build its largest lead of the half at 20-12, ultimately holding a 24-20 advantage at the intermission.

 

Last time out

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 4, 2017) – With 24 assists on 31 made shots, the ETSU men’s basketball team used a highly efficient offensive effort to shoot 61 percent from the floor and drop Southern Conference rival

Samford 90-72 inside the Pete Hanna Center. ... Senior guard Jermaine Long (New Orleans, La.) led the Buccaneers with a career high nine assists, while four other teammates reached double figure scoring led by a team high 18 points from senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt). Other top scorers for the Bucs included senior post Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) with 15 points, freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville) with 13, and senior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) with 11. ... With the win, the Bucs have now won nine of their last 10 games, improving to 11-4 overall and a perfect 2-0 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs dropped to 5-10, 1-1. ... For the Bucs, it was the second straight decisive road win in league play following a 19-point win at Mercer on New Year’s Eve. The Bucs ultimately led by as many as 22 in this game. ... Along with the offensive effort, ETSU held a strong Bulldogs offensive team to 46 percent shooting and just a 26 percent clip from 3-point range. The Bucs also out-rebounded Samford 30-27 and forced 16 turnovers on seven steals. In addition, ETSU shot 55 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent from the free throw line. ... To open the game, the Bucs attacked Samford’s 3-2 zone by driving the lane and dishing for dunks and short jump shots. The result was ETSU shooting 64 percent from the field and dishing out 13 assists on 16 made shots, as the Bucs built a 44-34 lead by the intermission. ... Before the break, Jurkin led the way with 11 points, while Long had five assists. ... In the second half, the Bucs got a pair of 3-pointers from Long that ignited a 12-5 run and made it 59-39 with just under 16 minutes left in regulation. While Samford tried to claw back and got to within 12 at 69-57, that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way.

 

ETSU and Chattanooga similarities striking

The rivalry between the Buccaneers and Mocs is in many ways directly related to the similarities between the programs. Both teams’ successes have mirrored each other:

                                                                         ETSU   Chattanooga

Overall championships                                       23             30

 

Regular Season (to include North Titles)             13             19

 

NCAA Appearances                                            10              11

 

Sweet 16 Appearances                                         1                1

 

Players of the Year                                               9                5

 

Coaches of the Year                                             8                7

 

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 have three more consecutive road league games near the end of the season.

 

Bradford closing in on 1,000 points

Senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) scored 18 points in the win at Samford (1/4) and now stands at 961 points for his career ... With another 39 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.

 

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 Jan. 3, 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.

 

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). ... 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 945 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.