February 03, 20181st2ndFinal
Chattanooga243761
ETSU354681
Stats at a GlanceUTCETSU
FG Percentage.390 (23-59) .567 (34-60)
3P FG Percentage.263 (5-19) .563 (9-16)
FT Percentage.769 (10-13) .500 (4-8)
Offensive Rebounds79
Defensive Rebounds1830
Total Rebounds2539
Turnovers813
Steals96
Bench Points98
LeadersUTCETSU
PointsRodney Chatman - 26
Desonta Bradford - 22
ReboundsJoshua Phillips - 12
Peter Jurkin - 13
AssistsMakale Foreman - 2
Rodney Chatman - 2
Jermaine Long - 3
Jalan McCloud - 3
Desonta Bradford - 3
David Burrell - 3
Jason Williams - 3
StealsRodney Chatman - 4
Jason Williams - 2
BlocksDavid Jean-Baptiste - 1
Makinde London - 1
Peter Jurkin - 1
Bo Hodges - 1
Rival Mocs visit Bucs for Gold Out Saturday matchup
Senior David Burrell and the Bucs will welcome rival Chattanooga Saturday at 4 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.
Rival Mocs visit Bucs for Gold Out Saturday matchup
Friday, February 2, 2018

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 2, 2018) – Having reached 20 wins faster than any team in program history, the ETSU men’s basketball team will look to defend its current 14-game winning streak when rival Chattanooga invades Freedom Hall Saturday afternoon.

Tip is set for 4 p.m. and fans are encouraged to wear their favorite gold ETSU gear for a special “Gold Out” inside Freedom Hall. Limited seats are still available and fans can expedite entry into the arena by purchasing on-line and preprinting their tickets. The first 200 fans to enter Freedom Hall will also receive a complimentary gold t-shirt. Gates will open at 2:30 to help facilitate pregame foot traffic.

The Bucs, who have won 18 of their last 19, are 20-4 overall and a perfect 11-0 in SoCon action following a 96-76 win on Thursday over Samford. Meanwhile, Chattanooga enters the contest at 8-16, 2-9.

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 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 83 times, with ETSU trailing the all-time series 37 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 three straight games in the series, including a dominating 85-66 win in the last meeting between the two teams in Chattanooga back on Jan. 6, 2018.

 

Last time out vs. Chattanooga

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 inside McKenzie Arena. ... 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. ... But overall, it was arguably the most dominating half of basketball ever for the Bucs on their arch rivals’ home floor.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2018) – Senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) scored a career high 31 points and the ETSU men’s basketball team collected its 14th straight victory with a 96-76 win over Samford in Southern Conference play Thursday night at Freedom Hall. ... Before a crowd of 5,019, the 2017-18 Buccaneers became the 19th team in program history to reach 20 wins, improving to 20-4 overall and continuing their vice grip on first-place in the SoCon standings with a perfect 11-0 league mark. Bradford led the way by going a remarkable 12-of-16 from the floor on the night, as the Bucs hit 14 3-pointers --- just one shy of the school record – and shot 58 percent from the floor. Meanwhile, Samford dropped to 8-16, 4-7. ... The game did feature some unusual scoring swings, as the Bucs quickly forged ahead by 22 at 30-8 with 10 minutes left in the first half. However, after later leading by 18 at 48-30, Samford outscored the Bucs 19-4 over the remainder of the opening half and the first four minutes of the second half to pull to within one possession at 52-49 with just under 16 minutes left in regulation. ... At that point, the adjustments Forbes referenced took effect, as the Bucs went on a 9-0 spurt to end the Samford threat and eventually led by as many as 24 in the second half.

 

ETSU vs. Chattanooga -- The similarities are 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

 

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 Player of the Week for Jan. 23-29. The award is selected by the league. ... 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’ 14-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 14th win in a row on Thursday versus Samford, 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 Thursday 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.

 

14 wins in a row ranks third in the nation

With a win over Samford on Thursday, the Bucs have now won 14 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 18 and 17 straight wins, respectively, while the Bucs third with 14, ahead of teams such as Cincinnati, Virginia and Rhode Island with 13.

 

Forbes winning percentage among the nation’s best

In his three seasons at ETSU, head coach Steve Forbes has a winning percentage of .747 (71-24), 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).

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 Feb. 1, the team is one of the best in the country in multiple categories.

 

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 (15.2), field goal percentage (.488), rebounds (5.8), assists (3.5), steals (1.7),  assist/TO ratio (1.6), defensive rebounds (5.2) and minutes played (32.0).

 

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. 27............................. Marcus Reese (1980-84), 1,157

No. 28........................ Alvin West (1987-91), 1,115 points

No. 29 ............ Desonta Bradford (2014-18), 1,114 points

No. 30....................... Major Geer (1987-91), 1,094 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.

 

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 953 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.