January 11, 20181st2ndFinal
UNCG273158
ETSU284068
Stats at a GlanceUNCGETSU
FG Percentage.333 (21-63) .522 (24-46)
3P FG Percentage.292 (7-24) .300 (3-10)
FT Percentage.529 (9-17) .654 (17-26)
Offensive Rebounds189
Defensive Rebounds1728
Total Rebounds3537
Turnovers1114
Steals15
Bench Points2123
LeadersUNCGETSU
PointsMarvin Smith - 11
Jalan McCloud - 15
ReboundsMarvin Smith - 9
Desonta Bradford - 9
AssistsFrancis Alonso - 2
Malik Massey - 2
Demetrius Troy - 2
Jalan McCloud - 4
StealsIsaiah Miller - 1
Desonta Bradford - 1
Jermaine Long - 1
Devontavius Payne - 1
Jason Williams - 1
Jalan McCloud - 1
BlocksJordy Kuiper - 1
Garrett Collins - 1
Desonta Bradford - 2
Peter Jurkin - 2
No. 5 Bucs set to host No. 18 UNCG in SoCon title rematch
Freedom Hall will be a "White Out" on Thursday night against UNCG. Tip is at 7 p.m.
No. 5 Bucs set to host No. 18 UNCG in SoCon title rematch
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 10, 2018) – In one of the more highly-anticipated games for the ETSU men’s basketball team this season, the Buccaneers will host SoCon foe UNCG in a rematch of the 2017 Southern Conference Tournament title game Thursday night inside Freedom Hall.

Tip is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be a “White Out,” with fans being asked to wear their favorite white ETSU gear or white attire.

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.

Both teams enter the contest with unblemished conference marks atop the SoCon standings. The Bucs are winners of six straight and 10 of their last 11, with an overall record of 12-4 and 3-0 in SoCon play. Meanwhile the Spartans are 11-4, 2-0 in league action.

Thursday will mark the first home game for the Bucs since a home date with Tusculum back on Dec. 28, as ETSU began the New Year with three straight road wins in conference play. Those convincing victories – by margins of 19, 18 and 19 – helped propel the Bucs to a No. 5 ranking in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll. UNCG comes in at No. 18 in that same listing.

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. UNCG

The Bucs hold a 15-11 lead in the all-time series against the Spartans, having won four of the last six meetings, including a 79-74 victory in the 2017 Southern Conference Tournament finals last March.

 

Last time out against UNCG

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 6, 2017) – The Buccaneers are going dancing! ... When Steve Forbes was hired as the men’s basketball coach at ETSU on March 31, 2015, he promised that the Bucs would have a program of “first, best and most.” Less than two years later, Forbes made good on that guarantee. ... Avenging two losses to UNC Greensboro during the regular season, the ETSU men’s basketball program made history, dropping the Spartans 79-74 in the championship game of the Southern Conference Tournament and earning the program’s 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament. ... In front of a sold out crowd dominated by ETSU fans and before a national television audience on ESPN, the 2016-17 Bucs improved to 27-7 on the season and are now tied for second on the program’s all-time list for wins in a season. Meanwhile, UNCG dropped to 25-9. ... Four players scored in double figures for the Bucs, with senior T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) netting a team-high 23 points and going 11-of-11 at the free throw line, while senior A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) added 13 on 5-of-5 shooting. Hanner Mosquera-Pera (Istmina, Colombia) and Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) each finished with 12, while David Burrell (Milwaukee, Wis.) pitched in with five points and tied the single-game tournament record with six blocks. Glass just missed a double-double as he pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. ... As a team, ETSU – which outscored the Spartans 48-36 in the second half – shot 53 percent from the field and posted a school record by going 19-of-19 from the charity stripe. Cromer was named the tournament most valuable player, while both he and junior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) were named first-team, all-tournament.

 

Last time out

CHATTANOOGA (Jan. 6, 2018) – It may not go down as the greatest or most tightly-contested game in the history of the men’s basketball rivalry between ETSU and Chattanooga, but for Buccaneer fans, it sure did feel good. ... Playing arguably its best half of basketball ever on its rival’s home floor, ETSU took a 21-point lead into halftime and then cruised through the second half to collect a dominating 85-66 win over the Mocs in Southern Conference action Saturday evening inside McKenzie Arena. ... With the win, the Bucs – who have now won 10 of their last 11 games – improved to 12-4 overall and completed a perfect three-game road swing to open SoCon play with a 3-0 record. Meanwhile, Chattanooga dropped to 6-10, 0-3. ... ETSU was led by senior post Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan), who posted his first career double-double with a team high 15 points and 11 rebounds. Along with Jurkin, freshman post Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) collected 14 points, while senior guards Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) and Devontavius Payne added 13 and 12, respectively. ... Shooting 56 percent from the floor and 37 percent from 3-point range, the Bucs also out-rebounded the Mocs 42-29 and outscored them 50-32 in the paint. ETSU also held a 39-11 advantage in bench points. ... The Bucs could not have scripted a better start to the game. Opening with a 13-1 run and not allowing a Mocs’ field goal for nearly four minutes of play, ETSU went on to hold UTC to just two baskets over the first 13 minutes of action and eventually led by as many as 23 in the first half. In the end, the Bucs took a 48-27 lead into the halftime locker room. ... After the break, the two teams basically traded baskets, with UTC unable to get any closer than 16 at 69-53.

 

Jurkin named SoCon player of the week

ETSU’s senior center Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) was named the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for all contests from Jan. 2-8. ... The award is selected by the league office. ... Jurkin, who averaged 15.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in just 20.5 minutes per game last week, helped the Bucs improve to 12-4 overall and 3-0 in SoCon play with a pair of road wins over league opponents. ... A 7-foot, sixth-year senior, Jurkin opened his week with 15 points, two rebounds and a blocked shot in ETSU’s 90-72 win at Samford on Thursday. He was 5-for-6 from the floor and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line on the night. ... At Chattanooga two days later, Jurkin again scored 15 points, this time adding 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. He blocked three shots and went 4-for-8 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line as the Bucs rolled to their largest-ever road win over the Mocs, 85-66. ... For the week, Jurkin was 9-for-14 from the floor (64.3 percent) and 11-for-12 from the free-throw line (91.7 percent).

 

Bucs move to No. 5 in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll

After just cracking into the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll last week at No. 16, the Bucs third straight convincing road win in SoCon play seemed to impact voters this week, as ETSU moved all the way up to No. 5 in the rankings ... This comes on the heels of the Bucs earning the No. 8 spot in the NBC Sports Mid-Major Power Rankings last week.

 

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, after going 3-0 during this first stretch of SoCon games, the Bucs will also face another three game swing away from Freedom Hall from Feb. 10 to Feb. 17.

 

Bradford closing in on 1,000 points

Senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) scored 13 points in the win at Chattanooga on Jan. 6 and now stands at 974 points for his career ... With another 26 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, 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. ... Those numbers propelled Hodges to a game high 18 points on the night ... In addition, Hodges currently ranks second  in the SoCon in field goal percentage, hitting 63 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. 9, 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 946 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.

 

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.