November 08, 20181st2ndFinal
Hiwassee College192544
ETSU5851109
Stats at a GlanceHCETSU
FG Percentage.298 (17-57) .613 (46-75)
3P FG Percentage.167 (3-18) .500 (7-14)
FT Percentage.438 (7-16) .588 (10-17)
Offensive Rebounds919
Defensive Rebounds1337
Total Rebounds2256
Turnovers1911
Steals810
Bench Points2465
LeadersHCETSU
PointsJamal Weaver - 10
Mladen Armus - 15
ReboundsJamal Weaver - 6
Jeromy Rodriguez - 10
Octavion Corley - 10
Mladen Armus - 10
AssistsNaquon Newman - 2
Bryant Bernard - 2
Daivien Williamson - 5
StealsBryant Bernard - 3
D'Andre Bernard - 3
BlocksKenton Bibbs - 1
Jay Johnson - 1
Sandale James - 1
Dylan Ray - 1
Octavion Corley - 5
Men's hoops set for home opener Thursday vs. Hiwassee
Sophomore Bo Hodges (above) and the Bucs will be back in action on Thursday night in their home opener at 7 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.
Men's hoops set for home opener Thursday vs. Hiwassee
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 7, 2018) – Coming off a hard-fought loss to defending Sunbelt Conference champion Georgia State on Tuesday night in its season opener, the ETSU men’s basketball team will return to Freedom Hall Thursday night for their home opener against Hiwassee College.

Tip is set for 7 p.m. and the game is being presented by Pizza Hut.

The contest will air live via web streaming courtesy of ESPN+, while the Buccaneer Sports Network will provide live radio and internet audio streaming of the contest on its normal affiliates. Links to the broadcast, ticket information and live statistics can be found to the right of this preview story.

On Tuesday night, the Bucs dominated the boards by out-rebounding Georgia State by 10 overall and by 12 on the offensive glass. They also held a high powered Panthers’ offense to just 39 percent shooting and 74 points for the game with a strong defensive performance, but in the final minutes the Bucs could not muster enough offensive output to prevail. The Bucs will look to improve in that area against the Tigers on Thursday night.

ETSU, which is coming off a 25-9 season a year ago, returns just three players from last season’s active roster. With 10 new faces on the bench, head coach Steve Forbes enters his fourth season at the helm of the Bucs’ ship looking to once again build a winner. Having led the Bucs to three straight Southern Conference Tournament title games, a league title and NCAA Tournament trip in 2017, and a league high 76 total wins over the last three years, Forbes and his staff have made the Bucs one of the nation’s top mid-major basketball programs.

For more on Thursday night’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 2018-19 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

As ETSU head coach Steve Forbes enters his fourth season with the Buccaneers, the program has maintained and strengthened its position as one of the preeminent mid-majors in the country. ... In fact, Forbes has taken the Bucs to even higher levels of success, having totaled 76 victories and a .724 winning percentage during his first three seasons in Johnson City. ... At present, those numbers give Forbes the 14th highest win percentage among active NCAA Division I head coaches. … The Buccaneers are coming off a 25-win campaign in 2017-18, including a 16-game winning streak, which tied a program record and stood as the longest win streak in the country at one point during that run. The Blue and Gold also tied a program record with 11 true road wins a year ago and marked their third straight 20-win season under Forbes, having won 24, 27 and 25 games over the last three seasons. ... In addition, the Bucs made their third straight appearance in the Southern Conference Tournament title game, and have won more games than any other SoCon program since Forbes was named head coach. ... As he has in his previous three seasons, Forbes and his staff will once again revamp their lineup this season with a mix of talent from the high school, junior college and D-I transfer ranks ... In fact, this season may present even a bigger challenge than in the past, as the Bucs have graduated their entire starting lineup as well as some of the team’s top reserves.

 

Last time out

ATLANTA (Nov. 6, 2018) – Facing the defending Sun Belt Conference champion Georgia State in their season opener, the ETSU Buccaneers found themselves trailing by only one point with just over a minute left. ... Unfortunately, the decisive bounce of the game didn’t go the way of the Buccaneers. ... After a missed shot, Georgia State’s Damon Wilson collected an offensive rebound and seconds later connected on what became a game-deciding 3-pointer with 50 seconds left, giving the Panthers a 74-68 non-conference win over the Bucs in men’s basketball action Tuesday night inside the GSU Sports Arena. ... Despite the loss, there were positives for the Bucs, who entered this 2018-19 season with 10 new faces on their roster. ETSU out-rebounded the Panthers 49-39 overall and an impressive 27-15 on the offensive glass, but as Forbes pointed out, many of those rebounds came about because the Bucs shot just 35.1 percent. In addition, the Bucs had 12 assists compared to nine for Georgia State, and outscored the Panthers 42-24 in the paint. ... Transfer junior guard Isaiah Tisdale (Lexington, Ky.), one of the newcomers for Bucs, led the way offensively with a team high 19 points and four assists. Along with Tisdale’s production, sophomores Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) and Bo Hodges (Nashville) pitched in 11 points apiece, while junior post Jeromy Rodriguez (Santiago, Dominican Republic) had a game high 13 rebounds.

 

Out with the old ... in with the new

The loss of SoCon Player of the Year Desonta Bradford (Humboldt, Tenn.) and SoCon All-Conference selection Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) will pose challenges for the Bucs this season, but the team will return talented youngsters such as reigning SoCon Freshman of the Year Bo Hodges (Nashville) and All-SoCon Freshman Team selection Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia). ... Other returning players for the Bucs include forward James Harrison Jr. (Dallas, Texas), while  sophomore D-I transfer Patrick Good (Johnson City) and junior college forward Jerome Rodriguez (Santiago, Dominican Republic) will make their long-awaited debuts this season. .... Good missed last season while sitting out after transferring from Appalachian State, while  Rodriguez was sidelined with a shoulder injury ... The rest of the Bucs’ squad is comprised of skilled high school and junior college transfers, including JuCo All-Americans such as Isaiah Tisdale (Lexington, Ky.) and Kevon Tucker (Dacula, Ga.), as well as talented transfers Tray Boyd III (Memphis), D’Andre Bernard (Toronto, Canada) and Octavion Corley (Reno, Nev.). ... From the high school ranks, freshmen Daivien Williamson (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Carlos Curtis (Milwaukee) are expected to contribute.

 

Nation’s longest win streak in 2017-18

The Bucs posted the longest winning streak in the country at one point last season, winning 16 straight games from 12/19/17 to 2/17/18.

 

Point(s) taken

In his previous three seasons at ETSU, head coach Steve Forbes has managed roster turnovers to some degree ... But the drastic loss of offensive production heading into this season is unprecedented even in the history of ETSU’s basketball program ... With the loss nine of the team’s top 11 scorers from a year ago, the Bucs will be looking to replace 80 percent of the team’s scoring output from the 2017-18 season ... After averaging 75.2 points per game last year, the only returning players with significant production returning this season are the team’s No. 4-leading scorer Bo Hodges (Nashville) with 9.0 points per game, and No. 8-leading scorers Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) with 6.3 points per game.

 

Road Warriors

ETSU’s 11 true road wins last year ranked second only to three teams that won 12 a year ago, and when going back over the last three years, the Bucs have 27 true road wins, which ranks 10th nationally. ... In addition, the Bucs 11 true road wins in 2017-18 matched the program record set by the 2003-04 ETSU squad ... Second place on that list includes the 1990-91 and 1991-92 Bucs, both of whom won 10 road games during those seasons.

 

20-win season & SoCon title game appearance streak

Having collected three straight seasons of 20-plus wins (24 in 2015-16, 27 in 2016-17, and 25 in 2017-18), it marks only the fourth time in program history that the Bucs have accomplished that feat. Previous runs of 20-plus seasons went from 1950-51 to 1953-54, 1988-89 to 1991-1992, and 2008-09 to 2010-11. ... In addition, making title game appearances in the SoCon Tournament three years in a row marks only the second time in the program’s history the Bucs have accomplished that feat. ... ETSU reached the title game five years in a row from 1989 to 1993.

 

Forbes’ era highlighted by unprecedented numbers

The Bucs total of 76 wins over the last three years ranks seventh among mid-major programs (excluding the Power 5 Conferences, the Big East Conference and American Athletic Conference) and 23rd in the nation among all teams. In addition, that three year stretch is the best mark of any single head coach in ETSU’s program history. ... That is not the only area in which Forbes is breathing rarified air, as with a .724 winning percentage (76-29) since 2015, Forbes sits atop the all-time coaching list at ETSU. ... In fact, the closest former coach to Forbes would be Charles Reece, who coached the Bucs from 1918-22 and posted a .613 winning percentage in just 31 games during a different era for the sport. ... In the modern era – which we will define as beginning with legendary head coach Madison Brooks in 1948 – the next closest coach in percentage is Alan LeForce, who posted a .607 winning percentage from ’91-96.

 

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 963 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.

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 once they are released later this year.

 

Bucs picked third, place three on preseason All-SoCon

The Southern Conference announced earlier this season that the ETSU men’s basketball team has been picked to finish third by both the league’s coaches and media, while the Buccaneers placed three players on the preseason all-conference team. ... The Bucs, who must replace all five starters from a year ago, return 2017-18 SoCon Freshman of the Year Bo Hodges (Nashville), who was joined on the preseason all-conference team by teammates and junior-college transfers Tray Boyd III (Memphis) and Jeromy Rodriguez (Santiago, Dominican Republic). ETSU was slotted third in both polls, earning 67 points from the coaches and 198 points and two first-place votes from the media. The Bucs put together what at the time was the nation’s longest winning streak at 16 games from December to February last season, opening league play 13-0 before UNCG halted both streaks. ETSU finished a game back of the Spartans in the SoCon standings and was 25-9 overall, making its third straight appearance in the league tournament’s title game.

 

Where are the Bucs from?

Under the direction of head coach Steve Forbes and his staff, the ETSU men’s basketball program has shown that it has a nation-wide -- and even international -- recruiting reach. This season, the team’s 15 roster players come from seven states in the United States, including four from Tennessee and one each from the states of Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nevada and Texas ... More impressively, four other countries show the Bucs’ international reach, with players from the Netherlands, Serbia, Canada and the Dominican Republic.

 

Schedule breakdown

The Bucs will open their season on the road against Georgia State on Nov. 6, and will play three of their first four games of the year away from Freedom Hall. ... Trips to Creighton (No. 11) and Illinois (Dec. 15) highlight the schedule, along with participation in both the Cayman Island Classic (Nov. 19-20) and Sun Bowl Classic (Dec. 21-22) ... The team will initially open SoCon play with a game on Dec. 1 at Wofford, before beginning the heart of their league schedule with three straight home games starting Dec. 29 against rival Furman inside Freedom Hall. ... ETSU’s other main home league games will include visits from rivals Chattanooga (Jan. 5), UNCG (Jan. 19), Wofford (Feb. 7) and Mercer (Feb. 16).

 

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).

 

Wins compared to in-state rivals over last three years

ETSU’s 76 victories over the last three years bests the marks of other programs in the state, including Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Belmont, Chattanooga, Austin Peay, Lipscomb, UT-Martin and Tennessee Tech.

 

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).

 

Forbes vs. The Class of 2015 and SoCon History

Of coaches hired in the spring of 2015, Forbes ranks second behind only Nevada’s Eric Musselman (81-29) for number of wins and winning percentage. He ranks just ahead of Texas Tech’s Chris Beard (75-29), who was hired at Arkansas-Little Rock in 2015 before heading to Texas Tech in the spring of 2016. ... Posting an average of 25.3 wins per season, Forbes ranks second on the Southern Conference all-time list for wins per season. He trails only Everett Case, who averaged 26.7 wins a year at N.C. State from 1946 to 1953.

 

ETSU attendance proves Bucs’ fans are best in SoCon

After posting the nation’s 15th best increase for average attendance from the previous year from the 2015-16 season to the 2016-17 campaign, attendance numbers kept looking good for the Bucs in 2017-18. ETSU, which led the Southern Conference in average home attendance with 4,440 last season, has now set a new school record for total attendance in back-to-back seasons, with a total of 131,843 fans watching the Bucs play in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

 

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’ posted back-to-back seasons with wins over teams from the “Power 5” in 2015-16 and ’16-17 ... The Bucs dropped ACC 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 the SEC since beating the same Bulldogs back in 2010.