February 20, 20181st2ndFinal
The Citadel424284
ETSU463682
Stats at a GlanceCITETSU
FG Percentage.441 (26-59) .478 (33-69)
3P FG Percentage.361 (13-36) .296 (8-27)
FT Percentage.826 (19-23) .533 (8-15)
Offensive Rebounds1215
Defensive Rebounds2624
Total Rebounds3839
Turnovers1814
Steals512
Bench Points2140
LeadersCITETSU
PointsZane Najdawi - 24
Bo Hodges - 17
ReboundsKaelon Harris - 9
David Burrell - 10
AssistsFrankie Johnson - 7
Jermaine Long - 7
StealsFrankie Johnson - 3
Jermaine Long - 3
BlocksZane Najdawi - 1
Derek Webster - 1
Quayson Williams - 1
Bo Hodges - 1
Mladen Armus - 1
Bucs open three-game home stretch Tuesday vs. The Citadel
The Bucs have a chance to lock in at least a share of the SoCon title Tuesday night against The Citadel.
Bucs open three-game home stretch Tuesday vs. The Citadel
Monday, February 19, 2018

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 19, 2018) – With an opportunity to wrap up at least a share of the Southern Conference regular season title, the ETSU men’s basketball team will host league foe The Citadel Tuesday night inside Freedom Hall.

Tip is set for 7 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 21 of their last 23, are 23-5 overall and 14-1 in SoCon play. They currently hold a two-game lead over second-place UNC Greensboro and can wrap up an outright league championship with two wins in their final three home games. Meanwhile, The Citadel is 9-18, 4-11.

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 last Monday at UNCG.

For more on Tuesday’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

Tuesday marks the 58th all-time meeting between the two programs with ETSU holding a 41-16 advantage in the series ... The Bucs have won the last five meetings, including a 73-71 victory over the Bulldogs back on Jan. 29, 2018 in Charleston, S.C.

 

Last time out vs. The Citadel

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 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.

 

Last time out

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Feb. 17, 2018) – After suffering its first Southern Conference loss of the season and its first defeat in 17 straight games earlier in the week, the question Saturday was how would the ETSU men’s basketball team respond to its first taste of adversity since Dec. 16 of last year? Buccaneer fans will like the answer. ... Building an 18-point first-half lead and getting a game high 22 points from senior guard Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.), the Bucs pulled ahead by as many as 23 points in the second half and ultimately cruised to a 72-61 win over Western Carolina Saturday afternoon inside the Ramsey Center.

... With the win, the first-place Bucs moved to 23-5 overall, 14-1 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, the Catamounts dropped to 12-16, 7-8. ... Along with Payne, the Bucs also got strong efforts from freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville) and senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt). Hodges finished with 17 points and three steals on the night, while Bradford added 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the winning effort. ... The Bucs out-rebounded the Catamounts 44-24 and outscored them 26-15 in bench points, while shooting 47 percent from the field. ETSU’s defense held WCU to just 39 percent shooting on the night. ... In the first half, the Bucs used an early 8-0 offensive run and another 11-0 spurt to lead by as many as 18 and end the half up by a score of 40-25. Hodges led the way in the opening 20 minutes with 10 points, while Payne added eight, and Bradford posted both six rebounds and six points. ... After the break, Payne took over. In the opening four minutes, the senior guard scored all 11 of ETSU’s points and hit three 3-pointers, forcing a Western Carolina timeout as the Bucs led 51-28 with 16:24 left in regulation.

 

Bucs have nation’s 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.

 

11 road wins matches program record

The Bucs 11 true road wins this year matches the program record set by the 2003-04 ETSU squad ... Second place on that list includes the 1990-91 and 1991-92 Bucs who both won 10 road games during those seasons.

 

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 in a win over Wofford on Jan. 27.

 

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. 18, 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 (15.3), field goal percentage (.473), rebounds (5.9), assists (3.5), steals (1.9),  assist/TO ratio (1.5), defensive rebounds (5.1) and minutes played (32.4).

 

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 Feb. 12. ... 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 ....................................... Desonta Bradford (2014-18), 1,176 points

No. 27............................................... Hal Morrison (1951-54), 1,171 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 957 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.