|February 23, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||WOF||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.563 (27-48)||.477 (21-44)|
|3P FG Percentage||.471 (8-17)||.350 (7-20)|
|FT Percentage||.684 (13-19)||.815 (22-27)|
- 18||Desonta Bradford
- 7||Peter Jurkin
Donovan Theme-Love - 4
- 2||Desonta Bradford
- 3||Devontavius Payne
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 22, 2018) – Still in control of its own destiny in the race for the Southern Conference regular season title, the ETSU men’s basketball team will welcome league foe Wofford to Freedom Hall on Friday night.
Tip is set for 7 p.m.
The game will feature Star Wars Night, as well as Fan Appreciation Day promotions such as a special Steve Forbes Bobblehead giveaway courtesy of Johnson City Honda to the first 1,000 fans in attendance. In addition, fans will have the opportunity to take pictures with various Star Wars characters, bid on limited edition Star Wars/ETSU autograph poste rs, and participate in a post-game autograph session with members of the team and Star Wars characters.
The contest 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 24, are 23-6 overall and 14-2 in SoCon play. They currently hold a one-game lead over second-place UNC Greensboro and can wrap up at least a share of the SoCon title with a win on Friday. A Buccaneer win and a loss by UNCG on Friday would give the Bucs the outright championship. Wofford enters the game at 19-10, 10-6, on the year with a well-publicized win over No. 10 North Carolina.
Currently ranked 5th 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 Friday’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.
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.
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. Wofford
The Buccaneers hold a dominating 35-10 advantage in the all-time series against the Terriers. ... The Bucs won the last meeting between the two teams earlier this year in Spartanburg, S.C., a 75-62 victory back on Jan. 27, 2018.
Last time out vs. Wofford
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 on the game 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. ... 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. Magee and teammate Matthew Pegram were the only Terriers in double figures, with Pegram netting 10. ... 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. ... The game was ultimately 59-54 when Bradford hit back-to-back 3-pointers, senior post Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) banked home a basket, and Bradford followed that score with an impressive reverse layup to make it 69-56 with two minutes left.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 20, 2018) – With senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) out while nursing an ankle injury, the ETSU men’s basketball team looked on as The Citadel took advantage Tuesday night inside Freedom Hall. ... Making 11 more free throws in the game and hitting 13 3-pointers on the night, the Bulldogs took the lead early in the second half and made clutch plays down stretch to hold on for an 84-82 upset victory over the first-place Bucs in Southern Conference play. ... With the loss, the Bucs dropped to 23-6 overall, 14-2 in SoCon action, but still hold a one-game lead in the league standings over UNC Greensboro with two games left in the regular season this weekend. ... Despite trailing by as many as seven points late in the contest, the Bucs battled back to tie the game with a 7-0 run that was capped by a dunk from senior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) with one minute left in the contest. However, The Citadel’s Zane Najdawi – who finished with 24 points – connected on a clutch 3-pointer to make it 79-76 with 35 seconds left and the Bulldogs went 4-of-5 at the free throw line to secure the victory. ... The Bucs got a double-double effort from Burrell with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville) and freshman post Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) had 17 and 14 points, respectively. ... The Bucs suffered the loss despite dishing out 25 assists on 33 made shots, shooting 48 percent from the floor, and holding advantages in points in the paint (48-20), points off turnovers (24-14), second chance points (14-8), fast break points (16-6) and bench points (40-21). ETSU also had 12 steals compared to The Citadel’s five, and forced the Bulldogs into 18 turnovers.
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 .740 (74-26), 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. 20, 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 now No. 5 in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll
After just cracking into the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll six weeks ago at No. 16, the Bucs 16 straight wins allowed ETSU to move up to the No. 4 spot in the poll on Feb. 12. ... This week, the Bucs dropped back to No. 5 ... 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
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 958 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.
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.