February 17, 20181st2ndFinal
East Tennessee State403272
Western Carolina253661
Stats at a GlanceETSUWCU
FG Percentage.474 (27-57) .389 (21-54)
3P FG Percentage.450 (9-20) .300 (6-20)
FT Percentage.900 (9-10) .722 (13-18)
Offensive Rebounds148
Defensive Rebounds3016
Total Rebounds4424
Turnovers2216
Steals812
Bench Points2615
LeadersETSUWCU
PointsDevontavius Payne - 22
Deriece Parks - 17
ReboundsMladen Armus - 10
Marc Gosselin - 4
AssistsDesonta Bradford - 6
Marc Gosselin - 3
StealsBo Hodges - 3
Marc Gosselin - 5
BlocksPeter Jurkin - 1
Bo Hodges - 1
Mike Amius - 2
Mens hoops ready to get back on track Saturday at WCU
Senior David Burrell and the Bucs enter Saturday's game on top of the Southern Conference standings.
Mens hoops ready to get back on track Saturday at WCU
Friday, February 16, 2018

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Feb. 16, 2018) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will be looking to start another streak on Saturday, as the Buccaneers travel to face Southern Conference foe Western Carolina.

Tip inside the Ramsey Center is set for 2 p.m.

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.

The first-place Bucs, who have won 20 of their last 22, are 22-5 overall and 13-1 in SoCon play. They currently hold a one-game lead over second-place UNC Greensboro in the league standings. Meanwhile, Western Carolina is 12-15, 7-7.

Currently ranked 4th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, the Bucs received five votes in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll before having their nation-best, 16-game winning streak snapped on Monday at UNCG.

 

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 53-24 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 five straight victories in the series, including a 66-50 win in the last meeting between the two teams back on Jan. 20 in Johnson City.

 

Last time out vs. Western Carolina

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 20, 2018) – It took Western Carolina eight minutes of game play before scoring its first basket Saturday afternoon, and that’s all the head start the ETSU men’s basketball team needed. ... Building an 11-point halftime lead and then opening the second half with an 8-0 run, the Buccaneers cruised to their 10th-straight win with a 66-50 Southern Conference victory over the Catamounts in front of a season-high crowd of 5,412 fans at Freedom Hall. With the win, the Bucs have now won 14 of their last 15 games and improved to 16-4 overall, 7-0 in league play. ... Senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who was honored prior to the game for reaching the 1,000-point plateau last week against VMI, finished with a game high 16 points to lead the Bucs, while fellow senior guard Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) added 13. For the Catamounts, guard Deriece Parks matched Bradford’s 16-point effort to pace WCU. ... The Bucs’ defense established itself early, not allowing a Western Carolina a field goal for the opening nine minutes of play. During that stretch, the Bucs opened an 11-0 lead, but the Catamounts finally broke through with a score and ended up netting nine points in a row to pull within two at 11-9. From there though, the Bucs methodically beat back WCU and finished the half with a 31-20 advantage. ... After the intermission, the Bucs opened with eight straight points and ultimately led by as many as 22 points in the second half. Western closed to within 11 at 51-40 with nine minutes left in regulation, but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way.

 

Last time out

GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 12, 2018) – Facing a chance to stand alone with the longest win streak in program history, the ETSU men’s basketball team unfortunately watched its special run of success come to an end Monday night inside the Greensboro Coliseum. ... Holding the Buccaneers to their lowest point production of the season and blocking 14 shots, UNC Greensboro used an 18-6 offensive run in the second half to race past ETSU 74-56, handing the Bucs their first Southern Conference loss of the season and their first defeat

in the last 17 games. ... Holding the Bucs to just 30.3 percent shooting, while hitting on 49 percent of their own shots, the Spartans got a team high 20 points from guard Francis Alonso, while teammates Demetrius Troy and Marvin Smith had 17 and 13 points, respectively. Meanwhile, forward James Dickey had eight points and eight blocks to lead the UNCG defensive effort. ... For the Bucs, Bradford was the only player in double figures with 21 points on the night. ... Early turnover problems and inefficient offense for ETSU – combined with five 3-pointers by the Spartans – allowed UNCG to build a lead of 13 at 27-14 with just over seven minutes left in the opening 20 minutes. ...        At that point, the Bucs relied on their own defensive effort to turn the tables on the Spartans, forcing nine UNCG turnovers by the half and outscoring the Spartans 11-2 off those miscues. With a 14-5 advantage in second chance points and a 23-19 advantage on the boards, the Bucs used those numbers to outscore the Spartans 19-6 to close the half, and when a 3-pointer by Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) found the bottom of the bucket at the first half buzzer, ETSU trailed by just two at 33-31. ... After the break, the Bucs’ momentum from the end of the first half did not carry over, as UNCG outscored ETSU 20-8 over the first eight minutes of play to take its largest lead of the game at that point, 53-39. The Bucs got back to within 10 at 53-43, but that would be as close as they could get the rest of the way.

 

Bucs have longest active win streak snapped

With a win over VMI on Saturday, Feb. 10 and St. Mary’s loss to Gonzaga, the Bucs had the nation’s longest win streak at 16 games ... However, with their loss to UNCG on Monday, Feb. 12, the Bucs watched their streak of success come to an end.

 

Win streak best in Forbes’ era, ties program mark

The ETSU basketball team has enjoyed plenty of wins over three seasons under head coach Steve Forbes’ direction ... But with its 16th win in a row on Saturday, Feb. 10 vs. VMI, the Bucs had the longest streak of success in those three seasons ... Forbes and the Bucs had also won seven straight in 2015-16 ... The Bucs’ 16th win tied them with the 2003-04 squad, which also posted a 16-win streak.

 

Bradford named SoCon Player of the Month

Following a month when the ETSU men’s basketball team posted a perfect 9-0 record in Southern Conference play, Buccaneers’ senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) has been named the league’s January Player of the Month. ...      The SoCon office announced Bradford’s honor on Monday, officially recognizing him for a month in which he averaged 15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Those efforts helped the Bucs extend their win streak, which currently stands at 15 games. Bradford shot nearly 52 percent from the floor in January, going 46-for-89, and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.1 with 37 assists and just 18 turnovers. ...     Bradford scored at least 12 points in each contest, including a season-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds in the Bucs’ 73-71 win at The Citadel to end the month. He had 12 points and nine rebounds in a win over UNCG on Jan. 11 and had 17 points and seven boards in a win over Wofford on Jan. 27. In a win over Mercer on Jan. 24, he scored 15 points and matched his career high with nine assists.

 

Forbes winning percentage among the nation’s best

In his three seasons at ETSU, head coach Steve Forbes has a winning percentage of .745 (73-25), 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. 10, 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 (15.4), field goal percentage (.482), rebounds (5.8), assists (3.4), steals (1.9),  assist/TO ratio (1.6), defensive rebounds (5.1) and minutes played (32.3).

 

Bucs move to No. 4 in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll

After just cracking into the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll four weeks ago at No. 16, the Bucs 16 straight wins in SoCon play allowed ETSU to move up to the No. 4 spot in the poll on Monday. ... 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. 22................................................. Kevin Tiggs (2007-09), 1,197 points

No. 23................................................. Isiah Brown (2008-12), 1,183 points

No. 24.............................................. Wes Stallings (1983-86), 1,181 points

No. 25............................................ Micah Williams (2006-11), 1,180 points

No. 26............................................... Hal Morrison (1951-54), 1,171 points

No. 27 ....................................... Desonta Bradford (2014-18), 1,166 points

No. 28 ............................................. Marcus Reese (1980-84), 1,157 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 956 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.