January 29, 20181st2ndFinal
ETSU383573
The Citadel343771
Stats at a GlanceETSUCIT
FG Percentage.361 (22-61) .310 (18-58)
3P FG Percentage.087 (2-23) .393 (11-28)
FT Percentage.818 (27-33) .828 (24-29)
Offensive Rebounds148
Defensive Rebounds3528
Total Rebounds4936
Turnovers1414
Steals84
Bench Points3414
LeadersETSUCIT
PointsDesonta Bradford - 23
Zane Najdawi - 18
ReboundsMladen Armus - 10
Desonta Bradford - 10
Leandro Allende - 6
Frankie Johnson - 6
Zane Najdawi - 6
AssistsJermaine Long - 7
Frankie Johnson - 7
StealsDavid Burrell - 2
Desonta Bradford - 2
Alex Reed - 2
BlocksMladen Armus - 2
Devontavius Payne - 2
Zane Najdawi - 3
First-place Bucs travel to The Citadel for Monday showdown
The ETSU men's basketball team is undefeated in SoCon play and has won 12 straight games.
First-place Bucs travel to The Citadel for Monday showdown
Sunday, January 28, 2018

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Jan. 28, 2018) – Sporting the nation’s third longest winning streak at 12 games, the ETSU men’s basketball team will continue its trek through Southern Conference play Monday night, as the Buccaneers take on The Citadel inside McAlister Field House.

Tip is set for 6 p.m.

The first-place Bucs, who have won 16 of their last 17 games and are 8-3 on the road this season, are 18-4 overall and 9-0 in SoCon action following a critical 75-62 road win at Wofford on Saturday night. Meanwhile, The Citadel is also fresh off a road win Saturday over Mercer, standing at 7-13, 2-6 on the season.

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.

Currently ranked 5th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, the Bucs are also ranked in the Top 60 in both the KenPom Power Rankings and the NCAA RPI. The last Bucs’ squad to post a longer winning streak was the 2003-04 Bucs, who won 16 in a row and went 15-1 in SoCon play.

For more on Monday’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. The Citadel

Monday marks the 57th all-time meeting between the two programs with ETSU holding a 40-16 advantage in the series ... The Bucs have won the last four meetings, including a 90-69 victory over the Bulldogs back on Feb. 9, 2017.

 

Last time out vs. The Citadel

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 9, 2017) – Coming off a tough three-point loss at Wofford in its previous game, the ETSU men’s basketball team was in search of bouncing back into the win column. ... The Bucs did just that as four players scored in double figures – including a team-high 17-point effort by senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) – as ETSU capped off the season sweep over The Citadel with a 90-69 victory on Thursday night inside Freedom Hall. ... Joining Cromer in double figures were juniors Desonta Bradford (Humboldt, Tenn.) and David Burrell (Milwaukee, Wis.), along with senior Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia). Bradford and Mosquera-Perea both finished with 12 points, while Burrell – who was celebrating his 22nd birthday – added 11 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. Perea ended a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and totaled four rebounds and three blocks, and Bradford pulled down six boards and dished out four assists. To go with his 17 points, Cromer also filled up the stat sheet with five rebounds and five assists. ... Cromer and A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) just missed reaching the 1,000-point milestone as Cromer is now five points shy and Merriweather is six away. Overall, 11 different Buccaneers reached the scoring column in the 21-point win. ... As a team, the Buccaneer defense held the nation’s leading scoring team 24 points below their single-game average, along with limiting them to 34 percent shooting (24-for-71).

 

Last time out

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 27, 2018) – Before a sold out crowd inside Wofford’s sparkling new Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium, ETSU senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) drove, dished, defended, slashed, scored, and ultimately imposed his will against the Terriers. ...  In a crucial Southern Conference matchup, the Buccaneers found themselves leading by five with nine minutes left when Bradford scored eight of his team high 17 points during a decisive 10-2 offensive run, powering ETSU to a 75-62 win over Wofford. The victory marked the Bucs 12th straight win and their 16th victory in 17 games, as ETSU moved to 18-4 overall, 9-0 in SoCon play. ... With the loss, Wofford dropped two games back of the Bucs in the loss column of the league standings at 15-6, 6-2. ... While Bradford took over in the final minutes, it was a complete team effort, as fellow senior guards Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) and Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.) had 16 and 11 points, respectively. In addition, freshman post Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) had 11 points. ... The Bucs held Wofford’s offense to just 37 percent shooting on the night, and while the Terriers’ highly-touted shooting guard Fletcher Magee did finish with a game high 21 points, he was only 6-of-16 from the field and 5-of-12 from 3-point range. ... Early on, the Bucs tried to rely on shots from 3-point range without much success, going 2-of-8 from beyond the arc in the opening minutes and watching Wofford lead 12-9 with 12 minutes left before the break. However, at that point, the ETSU offense began to heat up as the Bucs outscored Wofford 19-7 over the next eight minutes of play to take their largest lead of the game at 28-19. From there, the Terriers were able to cut into the Bucs’ lead, but ETSU still enjoyed a 38-32 advantage at the break. ... After the break, Wofford got to within four early in the half, but that would be as close as the Terriers would get.

 

Bucs’ 12-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 12th win in a row on Saturday against Wofford, 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 Saturday now gives the team the longest win streak since the 2003-04 squad enjoyed the longest win streak in school history at 16, while the 1952-53 squad won 15 straight.

 

12 wins in a row ranks third in the nation

With a win over Wofford on Saturday, the Bucs have now won 12 games in a row and currently rank tied for third nationally for the longest active winning streak. ... Purdue and St. Mary’s lead the nation with 16 straight wins, while the Bucs are tied for third at 12 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 .742 (69-24), 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 (14.1), rebounds (5.7), assists (3.6), steals (1.6),  assist/TO ratio (1.6), defensive rebounds (5.1) and minutes played (31.7).

 

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

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

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

 

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.

 

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).

 

Forbes’ Formula: 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 951 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).

 

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.

 

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.