January 20, 20181st2ndFinal
Western Carolina203050
ETSU313566
Stats at a GlanceWCUETSU
FG Percentage.322 (19-59) .490 (24-49)
3P FG Percentage.211 (4-19) .263 (5-19)
FT Percentage.727 (8-11) .684 (13-19)
Offensive Rebounds129
Defensive Rebounds1629
Total Rebounds2838
Turnovers1317
Steals86
Bench Points1825
LeadersWCUETSU
PointsDeriece Parks - 16
Desonta Bradford - 16
ReboundsMike Amius - 5
Peter Jurkin - 7
AssistsDeriece Parks - 2
Matt Halvorsen - 2
Desmond Johnson - 2
Desonta Bradford - 5
StealsMarc Gosselin - 2
Deriece Parks - 2
Desmond Johnson - 2
Desonta Bradford - 3
BlocksMarc Gosselin - 1
Devin Peterson - 1
Adam Sledd - 1
Desonta Bradford - 2
Peter Jurkin - 2
First-place Bucs welcome Catamounts to Freedom Hall Saturday
First-place Bucs welcome Catamounts to Freedom Hall Saturday
Friday, January 19, 2018

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 19, 2018) – With the nation’s third longest active win streak and an unblemished Southern Conference record, the ETSU men’s basketball team will host league foe Western Carolina Saturday afternoon inside Freedom Hall. Tip is set for 4 p.m.

The first-place Buccaneers, who have won nine straight and 13 of their last 14 games, are 15-4 overall and a perfect 6-0 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, Western Carolina enters the contest at 8-10, 4-2.

The game 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 enters the contest fresh off a dramatic 62-61 win over Furman on Thursday night, thanks to senior Desonta Bradford’s game-winning floater with 4.5 seconds left in regulation. The Bucs’ two game home stand will feature Western Carolina, followed by a visit from SoCon rival Mercer on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

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. Western Carolina

ETSU leads the all-time series 52-24 and had won 17 straight matchups with the Catamounts before losing to Western Carolina 67-61 in the first round of the 2015 SoCon Tournament. ... The Bucs have avenged that lone loss with four straight victories in the series, including a 68-52 win in the last meeting between the two teams on Feb. 25, 2017 in Cullowhee, N.C.

 

Last time out vs. Western Carolina

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2017) – The ETSU men’s basketball team never allowed Western Carolina to even entertain thoughts of an upset. ... Holding an opponent to its lowest point total in a first half this season, the Buccaneers took a 32-12 halftime lead and led wire-to-wire in a 68-52 win over the Catamounts Saturday night at the Ramsey Center. Senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) scored a game high 18 points, while senior forward Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) and junior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) added 14 and 11 points, respectively, to lead the Bucs’ effort. ... With the win, ETSU (24-6 overall, 14-3 SoCon) locked up at least a share of the SoCon championship, marking the program’s first regular season title since the 2006-07 season in the Atlantic Sun Conference. ... The ETSU defense was simply stifling in the first half, holding the Catamounts to just 12 points and a 23 percent shooting percentage (6-of-26) from the floor. Forcing 11 turnovers and outscoring WCU 13-0 on those miscues, the Bucs used a 17-0 offensive run midway through the half to build a 23-4 lead. ... In the second half, Western Carolina came out with more offensive urgency, scoring more points in the first five minutes of play than they did in the entire first half. Outscoring the Bucs 16-8 over that time frame, WCU made it 40-28 in favor of ETSU with 15:09 left in regulation.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 18, 2018) – It wasn’t easy, but the ETSU men’s basketball team finally shook off the Furman funk. ... Senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) hit a floater in the lane with 4.5 seconds left as the Buccaneers held off the Paladins’ second-half rally to take a 62-61 Southern Conference road win Thursday evening inside Timmons Arena. With the victory, the Bucs improved to 15-4 overall and 6-0 in SoCon play, while also picking up their first win on Furman’s home floor since returning to the Southern Conference in 2014-15. ... Bradford, who had struggled in the contest and was 3-of-9 from the field before

hitting the game-winner, was still the clear choice for ETSU head coach Steve Forbes and his coaching staff, as the Bucs drew up a final play with 20 seconds left in regulation.  ... It was indeed a battle. ... The Bucs had led by as many as 12 points in the second half and were up 11 at 51-40 with 12:23 left in the game before Furman – who dropped to 13-6, 4-2 – went on a 17-5 run to take the lead 57-56 with just under five minutes left. From there, the teams traded the lead five more times before Bradford’s game winner. ... Bradford and fellow senior guard Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) led the Bucs with 12 points each, while senior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) finished with 11. For the Paladins, Matt Rafferty had 13 points and 2017 SoCon Player of the Year Devin Sibley had 11 before leaving the game with a hand injury.

 

Bucs’ nine-game win streak best in Forbes’ era

The ETSU basketball team has enjoyed plenty of wins over three seasons under head coach Steve Forbes’ direction ... But with its ninth win in a row on Thursday against Furman, the Bucs now have the longest streak of success in those three seasons ... Forbes and the Bucs had also won seven straight in 2015-16 ... In addition, the Bucs win Thursday now gives the team the longest win streak since the the 2010-11 team won nine in a row and the 2006-7 squad won 10 in a row ... The longest win streak in school history was 15 set in both 1952-53 and 2003-04.

 

Nine wins in a row ranks third in the nation

With a win over Furman on Thursday night, the Bucs have now won nine games in a row and currently rank tied for third nationally for the longest active winning streak. ... Purdue leads the nation with 14 straight wins, followed by St. Mary’s with 13. ... ETSU then ranks tied for third along with Cincinnati, Virginia and Rhode Island.

 

Forbes winning percentage among the nation’s best

In his three seasons at ETSU, head coach Steve Forbes has a winning percentage of .733 (66-24), which ranks 13th nationally among active coaches with at least three years of NCAA Division I experience ... While names such as Mark Few (Gonzaga), Roy Williams (North Carolina), John Calipari (Kentucky) and Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) are ahead of Forbes on the list, ETSU’s head coach does rank ahead of coaches Gregg Marshall (Wichita State), Bruce Pearl (Auburn), Jamie Dixon (TCU), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Bob Huggins (West Virginia), Archie Miller (Indiana), Jay Wright (Villanova) and Steve Alford (UCLA).

 

Bradford more than just a scorer for the Bucs

While his game-winning score at Furman on Jan. 20th was a great play, senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) has been making winning plays for the Bucs throughout the season ... He currently ranks as one of -- if not the best -- all-around players in the SoCon ... As of today’s game, Bradford is the only SoCon player in the league to display the following versatility, ranking in the Top 10 of multiple statistical categories per game, including points (13.8), rebounds (5.6), assists (3.3), steals (1.6),  assist/TO ratio (1.5), defensive rebounds (4.9) and minutes played (31.3).

 

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

After just cracking into the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll two weeks ago at No. 16, the Bucs third straight convincing road win in SoCon play and two home wins have allowed ETSU to move up to and maintain the No. 5 spot in the poll for two straight weeks. ... This comes on the heels of the Bucs earning the No. 8 spot in the NBC Sports Mid-Major Power Rankings two weeks ago, while also being ranked No. 36 in Andy Katz’s weekly power ranking of all Division I programs.

 

Bradford reaches milestone with 1,000th point

With a layup late in the second half of the Bucs’ win over VMI (1/13), senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) reached 1,000 points for his career ... He became  the 41st player in school history to eclipse that mark.

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. 18, the team is one of the best in the country in multiple categories.

 

Jurkin earns SoCon player of the week honor

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 at the time with a pair of road wins over league opponents.

 

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 later scored nine straight first-half points to spark the Bucs’ offense in a dominating win over VMI (1/13).

 

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.

 

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 at the end of the year from Feb. 10 to Feb. 17.

 

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 948 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

 

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 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.

 

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).

 

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

 

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.