February 01, 20181st2ndFinal
Samford354176
ETSU484896
Stats at a GlanceSAMETSU
FG Percentage.455 (30-66) .576 (38-66)
3P FG Percentage.263 (5-19) .452 (14-31)
FT Percentage.786 (11-14) .750 (6-8)
Offensive Rebounds98
Defensive Rebounds2129
Total Rebounds3037
Turnovers1313
Steals97
Bench Points536
LeadersSAMETSU
PointsD. Denzel-Dyson - 23
Desonta Bradford - 31
ReboundsEric Adams - 9
Mladen Armus - 6
AssistsJosh Sharkey - 8
Jermaine Long - 4
Jason Williams - 4
Desonta Bradford - 4
StealsEric Adams - 4
Desonta Bradford - 3
BlocksKevion Nolan - 1
Peter Jurkin - 2
First-place Bucs set to host Samford Thursday night
Senior guard Devontavius Payne (above) and the Bucs have won 13 straight games heading into Thursday's contest.
First-place Bucs set to host Samford Thursday night
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2018) – After making another successful road trip in Southern Conference play, the first place ETSU men’s basketball team will return home to play back-to-back games in front of the home faithful beginning Thursday night against Samford.

Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.

The Bucs, who have won 13 straight games and 17 of their last 18, are 19-4 overall and a perfect 10-0 in SoCon action following a close-call win 73-71 on Monday night at The Citadel. Meanwhile, Samford enters the contest at 8-15, 4-6.

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 65 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 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 10-1 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 six meetings between the two programs, including a 90-72 road win earlier this season back on Jan. 4, 2017 in Birmingham, Ala.

 

Last time out vs. Samford

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. ... 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.

 

Last time out

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Jan. 29, 2018) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will return to Johnson City with its 13-game winning streak intact, but not before The Citadel Bulldogs took a serious shot at ending the Buccaneers remarkable run. ... With ETSU having rallied to take the lead late at 73-71 with 6.1 seconds left, The Citadel’s Alex Reed had a wide open 3-point shot at the buzzer miss the mark, as the Bucs escaped with a two-point victory in Southern Conference hoops action Monday night inside McAlister Field House. ... ETSU has now won 17 of its last 18 games and improved to 19-4 overall, 10-0 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, The Citadel dropped to 7-14, 2-7. ... Indeed, this night didn’t look good for the Bucs. While the Bulldogs hit 11-of-28 shots from 3-point range, the Bucs struggled through their toughest night of the year from outside, going just 2-of-23 from beyond the arc. In addition, The Citadel also went 24-of-29 from the free throw line. Those numbers resulted in the Bulldogs leading for a good portion of the game. ... In addition, the Bucs got more

luck than just Reed’s miss. With ETSU leading 69-68 with 20 seconds left, The Citadel’s Frankie Johnson missed another wide open shot, this time a layup that would have given the Bulldogs the lead. After senior guard Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) hit 1-of-2 at the line, the Bulldogs then inexplicably threw the ball away and gave the Bucs two more free throws as freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville) hit the pair and made it 72-68 with 12.5 seconds left. ... The Bulldogs didn’t go away though, as a 3-pointer from Matt Frierson pulled them to within one at 72-71. After another Citadel foul, McCloud made another 1-of-2 trip to the line with 6.1 seconds, making it 73-71 and setting up Reed’s 3-pointer miss.

 

Bradford names SoCon Player of the Week

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 30, 2018) – ETSU senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) has been named the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for all contests from Jan. 23-29. The award is selected by the league office. ... Bradford averaged 18.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game to help the Bucs to a 3-0 week that extended their current winning streak to 13 games, the SoCon’s longest since Davidson won 17 straight in 2012-13. ... Bradford opened his week with 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds in ETSU’s 84-75 win over Mercer on Wednesday and followed that up with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the Bucs’ 75-62 victory in a showdown at Wofford on Saturday. ... The senior from Humboldt, Tennessee, wrapped up his week with 23 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season in Monday’s 73-71 win at The Citadel.

 

Bucs’ 13-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 13th win in a row on Monday at The Citadel, 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 ... The Bucs’ win Monday 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.

 

13 wins in a row ranks third in the nation

With a win over Wofford on Saturday, the Bucs have now won 13 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 .745 (70-24), 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 (14.5), rebounds (5.9), assists (3.5), steals (1.7),  assist/TO ratio (1.6), defensive rebounds (5.2) and minutes played (32.0).

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

 

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.

 

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 and has continued to move up the list. His position on the all-time scoring list is below:

No. 29....................... Major Geer (1988-91), 1,094 points

No. 30.............. A.J. Merriweather (2013-17), 1,084 points

No. 31 ............ Desonta Bradford (2014-18), 1,083 points

No. 32........................ Ben Rhoda (2002-06), 1,071 points

 

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.

 

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 952 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.

 

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.