March 03, 20181st2ndFinal
Chattanooga312859
ETSU383977
Stats at a GlanceUTCETSU
FG Percentage.412 (21-51) .583 (35-60)
3P FG Percentage.300 (6-20) .154 (2-13)
FT Percentage.500 (11-22) .714 (5-7)
Offensive Rebounds117
Defensive Rebounds1924
Total Rebounds3031
Turnovers148
Steals38
Bench Points2217
LeadersUTCETSU
PointsMakinde London - 13
Makale Foreman - 13
Jalan McCloud - 22
ReboundsNat Dixon - 6
Desonta Bradford - 6
AssistsDavid Jean-Baptiste - 3
Jalan McCloud - 5
StealsRodney Chatman - 1
David Jean-Baptiste - 1
Nat Dixon - 1
Jalan McCloud - 2
BlocksJames Lewis - 1
David Jean-Baptiste - 1
Bo Hodges - 3
Bucs begin title defense Saturday in SoCon quarterfinals
ETSU's eight seniors will (above) be making their final trip to the SoCon Tournament this weekend.
Bucs begin title defense Saturday in SoCon quarterfinals
Friday, March 2, 2018

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 2, 2018) – The ETSU men’s basketball team enters the 2018 Southern Conference Tournament with the goal of making a third straight championship game appearance and defending its 2017 title.

The journey will begin Saturday night, as the No. 2-seeded Buccaneers (23-8 overall, 14-4 SoCon) will play in the tournament quarterfinals at 6 p.m. inside the U.S. Cellular Center. The Bucs will face the winner of Friday night’s opening round matchup between Samford and Chattanooga, which is set for 7:30 p.m.

ETSU fans looking to make the trip to Asheville can learn more about game day festivities and tickets by clicking here. Meanwhile, fans unable to be at the tournament in person can watch the games live via the Watch ESPN App or on-line at espn.com. In addition, the Buccaneer Sports Network will also have the live broadcast of the game on its radio affiliates and via the live link at ETSUBucs.com. Meanwhile, ETSUBucs.com will also provide live stats during the game.

The Bucs, winners of 21 of their last 26 games, have had a rollercoaster season. After opening the year at 2-3, the team enjoyed a program record – and what was then the nation’s longest active winning streak – by rattling off 16 victories in a row. However, the team struggled at the end of the season, losing four of its last five games.

Even so, head coach Steve Forbes and the Bucs sport a 7-1 record against their side of the bracket this weekend. Moreover, Forbes has shown a great deal of success in the SoCon Tournament since coming to ETSU prior to the 2015-16 season, having posted a 5-1 mark in the league’s pinnacle event.

With three wins this weekend, the Bucs could make the program’s 11th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament, and it would be the sixth time in school history the team has made consecutive trips to March Madness (1989-1990-1991-1992, 2003-2004 and 2009-2010).

For more on Saturday’s matchup, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2018 postseason, 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.

 

Bucs ready to head back to Asheville

The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of success at the SoCon Men’s Basketball Tournament ... Seven times the Bucs have won the championship, which includes last season’s title run, four straight championships from 1989-92, and back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004 ... While the Bucs are 35-20 all-time in the SoCon Tournament, their time in Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center has been particularly enjoyable -- including a string of 14 straight wins from 1989 to 1993 ... In fact, the Bucs played in the SoCon title game five straight years during that stretch -- winning four of those championship appearances. ... In all, the Bucs have made seven championship game appearances in the U.S. Cellular Center, including back-to-back visits in the last two seasons (2016 & 2017).

 

ETSU hoping to add another NCAA trip

Having already made 10 trips to the NCAA Tournament in its history, the ETSU men’s basketball team would like to add to its legacy by taking another conference tournament trophy back to its treasure chest ... The most memorable stretch in school history was from 1989 to 1992, when the Bucs made four straight trips to the NCAAS, were ranked in the Top 10 nationally (1991), and defeated Arizona in the NCAA first round in 1992 ... The Bucs only other trip prior to that run came in 1968 ... Other trips to the NCAAs came in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2017.

 

Last time out in the SoCon Tournament

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 6, 2017) – The Buccaneers are going dancing! ... When Steve Forbes was hired as the men’s basketball coach at ETSU on March 31, 2015, he promised that the Bucs would have a program of “first, best and most.” Less than two years later, Forbes made good on that guarantee. ... Avenging two losses to UNC Greensboro during the regular season, the ETSU men’s basketball program made histor, dropping the Spartans 79-74 in the

championship game of the Southern

Conference Tournament and earning

the program’s 10th trip all-time to the

NCAA Tournament. ... In front of a

sold out crowd dominated by ETSU

fans and before a national television

audience on ESPN, the 2016-17 Bucs

improved to 27-7 on the season and are now tied for second on the program’s all-time list for wins in a season. Meanwhile, UNCG dropped to 25-9. ... Four players scored in double figures for the Bucs, with senior T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) netting a team-high 23 points and going 11-of-11 at the free throw line, while senior A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) added 13 on 5-of-5 shooting. Hanner Mosquera-Pera (Istmina, Colombia) and Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) each finished with 12, while David Burrell (Milwaukee, Wis.) pitched in with five points and tied the single-game tournament record with six blocks.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 25, 2018) – Leading by five with four minutes left on its home court, the ETSU men’s basketball had a Southern Conference regular season title within reach. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, it was not meant to be. ... Hitting three 3-pointers down the stretch – including one that turned into a four-point play following an ETSU foul – the Furman Paladins rallied to take a 79-76 win over the Bucs in the regular season finale for both teams Sunday afternoon at Freedom Hall. ETSU battled to the end, but senior Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.) had his game-tying 3-point attempt rim out at the buzzer. ... It was the Bucs’ third straight loss and their fourth in five games, marking the first time the Bucs had lost three straight home games since the 1996-97 season ... With the loss, the Bucs will be the No. 2 seed in the SoCon Tournament and open play at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening inside the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C., facing the winner of Friday’s first round matchup between No. 7 Samford and No. 10 Chattanooga. ... On a day when the Bucs honored eight seniors who played their final game inside Freedom Hall, it was senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) who tried to will ETSU to a win, scoring a game high 19. Of those points, most of them came in the final 10:14 of the contest after the Bucs had fallen behind by eight at 60-52.

 

The series vs. Samford and Chattanooga

ETSU will face the winner of Friday night’s Samford vs. Chattanooga opening round matchup ... The Bucs are 11-1 all-time against Samford and have won the last seven matchups with the Bulldogs ... Meanwhile, the Bucs are 38-46 all-time against their rival Mocs, but have won four straight in the series over the last two seasons. ... On this side of the bracket, the Bucs are 7-1, with a split against Furman as its only blimish.

 

Bradford named POTY, three more Bucs earn honors

The ETSU men’s basketball team brought home its share of hardware on both the coaches and media All Southern Conference teams announced by the league office on Wednesday, led by senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who was named by the coaches as the SoCon Player of the Year. ... Along with Bradford’s first-team selections by both the coaches and media, senior guard Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) was a second team pick by the coaches and a third team pick by the media, while freshman Bo Hodges (Nashville) was named by the coaches as the league’s Freshman of the Year. Hodges was also an All-Freshman Team selection by both the coaches and media, while fellow freshman Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) joined him on the coaches All-Freshman squad. ...         Bradford is ETSU’s first SoCon player of the year since Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) was selected by both the coaches and media in 2003-04. Meanwhile, Hodges is the first ETSU player to earn SoCon freshman of the year honors since Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) was honored by both the coaches and media in 2002-03. The Bucs played in the Atlantic Sun Conference from 2005 to 2014. ...      Bradford becomes the 10th ETSU player to earn player of the year honors, joining Harley “Skeeter” Swift (1967-68), Troy Lee Mikell (1982-83), Keith “Mister” Jennings (1989-90 & 1990-91), Dimeco Childress (2001-02), Zakee Wadood (2003-04), Tim Smith (2005-06), Courtney Pigram (2006-07) and Mike Smith (2010-11).

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.

 

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 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 -- in fact, the Bucs have more total wins than any other program in the SoCon over the last three years (74). ... 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 for the progarm’s longest streak ever, joining the 2003-04 squad. 

 

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.

 

Forbes winning percentage among the nation’s best

In his three seasons at ETSU, head coach Steve Forbes has a winning percentage of .725 (74-28), which ranks 13th nationally among active coaches with at least three years of NCAA Division I experience ... ETSU’s head coach ranks 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 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 960 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.

 

Bradford more than just a scorer for the Bucs

Senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) 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 (15.5), field goal percentage (.481), rebounds (5.8), assists (3.5), steals (1.9),  assist/TO ratio (1.6), defensive rebounds (5.1) and minutes played (32.5).

 

Bucs now No. 12 in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll

After just cracking into the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll seven weeks ago at No. 16, the Bucs 16 straight wins allowed ETSU to move up to the No. 4. ... This week, the Bucs dropped back to No. 12 following three straight losses at home.

 

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. 17.................................. Trazel Silvers (1991-94), 1,257 points

No. 18....................................... Rusty Woy (1951-54), 1,228 points

No. 19................................... Winfred Reid (1979-82), 1,224 points

No. 20................................. Charlie Stuart (1974-77), 1,217 points

No. 21 ......................... Desonta Bradford (2014-18), 1,214 points

No. 22 ..................................... T.J. Cromer (2015-17), 1,206 points

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 to earn this honor.

 

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.