December 15, 20151st2ndFinal
UNC Asheville493584
Stats at a GlanceETSUAVL
FG Percentage.471 (24-51) .532 (33-62)
3P FG Percentage.375 (6-16) .412 (7-17)
FT Percentage.435 (10-23) .647 (11-17)
Offensive Rebounds914
Defensive Rebounds1829
Total Rebounds2743
Bench Points2212
PointsT.J. CROMER - 13
ReboundsISAAC BANKS - 7
BlocksHUGHES - 3
Bucs back in action at Asheville Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Senior guard Deuce Bello and the rest of the Bucs will be looking for a second straight win Tuesday night on the road at UNC Asheville
Bucs back in action at Asheville Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Monday, December 14, 2015

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 15, 2015) – With final exams now completed, the ETSU men’s basketball team returns to the court and begins its stretch of holiday games with a trip to UNC Asheville Tuesday night. Tip inside Kimmel Arena is set for 7 p.m.

The game will air locally on WAPK-TV (check local listings), and will also be available via The Buccaneer Sports Network will also provide live play-by-play coverage via its radio and web streaming affiliates.

The Buccaneers, who improved to 4-4 and snapped a three-game losing streak last week with a 51-point trouncing of Milligan College, will be looking to win for the first time on the road since defeating ACC opponent Georgia Tech back on Nov. 20.

For more on Tuesday night’s matchup, click on the game notebook link to the right, or read the game notes located below. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2015-16 season, visit 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.


The Steve Forbes era begins

It seems like only yesterday that Steve Forbes was named the 16th head coach in the history of ETSU basketball back on March 30, 2015 ... But seven months later and the Bucs are ready to begin the Forbes’ era ... Having most recently served two seasons as an assistant coach at Wichita State where he helped take the Shockers to the Sweet 16 in 2014-15, Forbes has been heralded for his recruiting ties and his extensive background as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level – which included a five-year stop at the University of Tennessee ... Complete bio information on Forbes can be found at and general coaching records and other statistics are available on Page 2 and Page 5 of this media notes package.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 10, 2015) – Senior guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) scored a career-high 12 points and four other Buccaneers reached double-figure scoring, as the ETSU men’s basketball team out-rebounded Milligan Collge 55-33 and forced 21 turnovers in a 98-47 win over the Buffaloes inside Freedom Hall. ... With the win, ETSU improves to 4-4 on the season. Meanwhile, Milligan stands at 8-3 on the year. ... The Bucs also outscored Milligan 42-18 in the paint, 31-8 off turnovers, and held a 52-17 advantage in bench points. Along with McClain’s 12-point effort, the Bucs got a game-high 18 points from senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) and 13 from fellow senior guard Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.). Meanwhile, junior posts Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) and Benny Lufile (Burlington, Ontario, Canada) both posted double-doubles, with Banks finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Lufile collected 11 points and 11 boards. ... Both teams struggled offensively early in the game, as the score stood 6-2 in favor of ETSU seven minutes into the contest. Following the second media timeout, however, the Bucs came out with a renewed intensity on the defensive end of the floor, which helped ETSU power to a 28-9 offensive run to make it 34-11 with six minutes left before the intermission. ... McClain helped stir the ETSU offensive out of the early funk by scoring seven straight points during one stretch and finished with nine in the first half. Meanwhile, Bello netted a game-high 11 points in the first half, as ETSU out-rebounded Milligan 30-18 and forced 14 turnovers en route to a 49-22 halftime lead. ... After the break, the Bucs kept the pressure on and never let up, progressively adding to their advantage and ultimately finishing with their largest lead of the game at 51 points.


The series vs. UNC Asheville

The Buccaneers and Bulldogs have had 21 previous meetings, with ETSU holding a 15-6 advantage in the all-time series ... The Bucs have won six straight in the series, including a victory in the last game back on Nov. 22, 2014.


Last time out against UNC Asheville

JOHNSON CITY (Nov. 22, 2014) – Tying a school record with 15 made 3-pointers as a team and powered by a game-high 31 points from senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), the ETSU men’s basketball won an offensive showcase 98-87 over non-conference opponent UNC Asheville inside Freedom Hall. ... With ETSU shooting 53 percent from the field and the Bulldogs connecting on a 52 percent clip for the night, a total of eight players scored in double figures with four on each team. While Rembert finished with 31, teammates such as senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) netted 16, guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) collected 12, and senior post Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) pitched in an important 10 points. ... Giplaye also just missed on a double-double, collecting nine rebounds and three steals in his best performance as a Buccaneer. Harris’ points and three made 3-pointers were also career bests for the sophomore. ... While the offense was impressive, the defensive numbers were critical to the Bucs’ success. ETSU forced Asheville into 23 turnovers and swiped 13 steals, while the Bucs gave up the basketball just 11 times on the night. ... With two talented offensive teams on the floor, the first half was a shootout. Both squads shot over 50 percent from the field before the intermission, with ETSU ultimately using a 22-10 run over the final six minutes to lead 53-42 at the break. The Bucs ended up connecting on nine 3-pointers in the first half, led by three each from Rembert and Harris. ... Asheville’s Andrew Rowsey was equally impressive, hitting four threes of his own before half and netting 17 points in all. The key for the Bucs was creating 13 Asheville turnovers. ... After the break, ETSU continued to bomb away from outside and built a lead of as many as 15 at 69-54 with just over 12 minutes left in the game. However, Asheville slowly worked its way back into the contest and got to within four at 88-84 with four minutes left on the clock. ... At that point though, a free throw by sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson), a layup by junior guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), followed by a steal and a score by Riley helped the Bucs back out to a nine-point advantage and basically iced the game.


Ge’Lawn doing it all for Bucs

Senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn’s game-winning shot at Georgia Tech (11/22) is just the most recent indictation of the play he has displayed so far at ETSU ... Heading into the Milligan matchup, Guyn leads the Bucs in scoring (18.3 ppg), assists (2.6 apg), blocks (1.3 bpg), and is tied for third on the team in rebounding (4.1 rpg) ... The rebound and block numbers are most impressive considering Guyn plays the point guard position.


Cromer meeting expectations as offensive threat

When transfer junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) joined the Buccaneers, he was touted as a scoring threat and a player that would provide some offensive bunch ... Cromer has lived up to that billing, and is currently second on the team with 14.1 points per game.


Bucs make history with win at Georgia Tech

While ETSU has enjoyed its share of wins over “major” opposition in the past, the Bucs’ win over Georgia Tech earlier this season marked the programs first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference school since defeating N.C. State back in 1991 ... It was also the team’s first win over a “Power 5” Conference team since dropping Arkansas back during the 2009-10 season, and the first win over Georgia Tech since the 1978-79 campaign.


Buc bits

It is a new day for the ETSU men’s basketball program, as the Buccaneers welcome first-year head coach Steve Forbes and his assistant coaching staff to the program for the 2015-16 season ... Forbes, a highly successful assistant coach at the Division I level at programs such as Tennessee, Wichita State and Texas A&M, wasted no time revamping the ETSU roster, as the program’s lineup has not seen this much restructuring since the start of the 1997 season ... Returning just six players from last season’s squad, Forbes and company have utilized their vast recruiting ties to bring in 10 new players to the program … This group of 10 will include four transfers from Division I programs such as Cincinnati, Indiana, Missouri and Witchita State, along with four junior college transfers and two incoming high school prospects.


Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 20 years

Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 867 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.

Bucs postseason resume ranks among mid-major bests

The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of postseason success and ranks as one of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs ... The Buccaneers have earned berths to the NCAA Tournament nine times (1969, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and NIT twice (1983, 2007) ... The Bucs made their second trip all-time to the CIT Postseason Tournament in 2014, marking the program’s 13th postseason tournament appearance all-time ... In the Bucs first CIT appearance in 2011, ETSU went 2-1 with wins over Furman and Ohio, advancing to the tournament semifinals before losing to Iona in a hard-fought 83-80 contest at the Dome ... In 2014, the Bucs went 1-1, defeating fellow Southern Conference member Chattanooga before falling to Towson in the quarterfinals.


Bucs picked 4th; Merriweather named All-SoCon

The ETSU men’s basketball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Southern Conference standings by both the league’s coaches and media, according to the preseason polls released by the league office on Thursday. ... While Chattanooga was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the league and the Mocs’ Casey Jones was selected as the preseason player of the year, ETSU junior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) was named to the SoCon preseason all-conference team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams or student-athletes.


Returning players to be counted on in ’15-16

As for returning players from last year’s squad who are expected to provide valuable minutes this year, junior forward A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) leads the group after averaging 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds a year ago, while providing the Bucs valuable defensive skills with a 1.3 steals per contest … Along with Merriweather, the Bucs also return senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), who averaged 12.6 points a game last season, senior guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), who finished with a team-high 3.1 assists per contest, sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who averaged 4.1 points per game, and junior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.), who finished with 2.9 points and 4.9 rebounds a game in limited action a year ago.


Newcomers galore for Forbes and company

While Merriweather, McClain, Wilson and Bradford return in the backcourt, the Bucs have also added a wealth of talent at those positions with the addition of a pair of Division I senior transfers Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) from Cincinnati and Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) from Missouri … Both Guyn and Bello completed their degrees at their previous schools, meaning both are eligible to compete immediately at ETSU, and both are expected to play extensive minutes this season … In addition, junior college transfer T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) joins the Bucs after a successful career as a point producer at Columbia State, and true freshman Shemar Johnson (Columbus, Miss.) brings exceptional height to the wing position at 6-foot-6 … In the frontcourt, Banks is the lone returning player but is joined by 7-foot center Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan), who sat out last season with ETSU after transferring from Indiana … Along with those two, the Bucs have also added help for the inside game this season by signing junior college transfers Nigel Holley (Wilmington, N.C.) and Abednego “Benny” Lufile (Burlington, Ontario, Canada), as well as true freshman post Toriano Stokes (Memphis, Tenn.) … Beyond those players that will be eligible this season, the Bucs have also added Indiana transfer Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) and Wichita State transfer Tevin Glass (Greensboro, N.C.) who will miss this season due to NCAA transfer rules.


VIP Seen publishes first Game Time Magazine for hoops

For the first time ever, ETSU fans can get a comprehensive look at both the men’s ane women’s basketball teams by purchasing the first-ever collector’s edition of ETSU Game Time Magazine published by VIP Seen Magazine. ... Game Time is available for purchase at local Roadrunner Markets, Food City locations, and at the ETSU campus bookstore. ... Full of preseason information, rosters, player profiles, a spring preview, and more, Game Time Magazine makes a perfect gift.


Wilson eyeing program’s 3-point record

Already a 1,000-point scorer, senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) has an opportunity to put his name in the ETSU basketball record books again this season as the most prolific 3-point shooter in school history ... Currently ranking 5th on the career list with 218 makes from beyond the arc, Wilson finds himself 58 makes behind the program leader Courtney Pigram (Memphis), who made 276 3-pointers during his career from 2005-09 ... Wilson has averaged 70 makes a year during his previous three seasons at ETSU, meaning if he can replicate his “average” this year he should have a shot to take the top spot.