January 07, 20171st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceETSUMER
FG Percentage.512 (21-41) .389 (21-54)
3P FG Percentage.353 (6-17) .240 (6-25)
FT Percentage.679 (19-28) .833 (10-12)
Offensive Rebounds711
Defensive Rebounds2319
Total Rebounds3030
Bench Points1118
PointsT.J. CROMER - 23
Ria'n Holland - 24
ReboundsTEVIN GLASS - 6
Stephon Jelks - 11
Ria'n Holland - 3
Ria'n Holland - 3
Cory Kilby - 1
Stephon Jelks - 1
Bucs continue road swing Saturday at Mercer
The Bucs won three straight over the Mercer Bears last season, including a win in the quarterfinals of the SoCon Tournament.
Bucs continue road swing Saturday at Mercer
Friday, January 6, 2017

MACON, Ga. (Jan. 6, 2017) – After scoring a season high 115 points in a track meet of a basketball game Thursday night at The Citadel, the ETSU men’s basketball team will play its second straight road game in Southern Conference play Saturday when the Buccaneers take on longtime rival Mercer. Tip is set for 4:30 p.m. inside Hawkins Arena.

The game will air via live video streaming courtesy of ESPN3.com, and the Buccaneer Sports Network will have the live broadcast of the game on its radio affiliates and via the live link at ETSUBucs.com.

For the Bucs, who enter the game ranked 11th nationally in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, this will be another opportunity to maintain the momentum of a 12-3 start to the season and an unblemished 2-0 record in SoCon play. Meanwhile, Mercer enters the contest at 7-9, 1-2 in league play.

For more on Saturday’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 2016-17 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

In his first season as head coach of the ETSU men’s basketball program in 2015-16, Steve Forbes wasted little time reinvigorating the Buccaneers’ program with an energetic style of play, an engaging approach with the fan base, and plenty of success on the court … In all, the Bucs finished the with 24 wins – which marks the program’s third highest win total in the modern era – and collected 14 victories in Southern Conference play, which is second only to the 15 collected by the Bucs’ 2003-04 squad … ETSU also reached the Southern Conference Tournament finals, which marked the 12th time the program has played in a conference championship game, and the team also earned a postseason tournament berth for the 14th time with an invite to the inaugural Vegas 16 Tournament … Heading into the 2016-17 season, the Bucs will be losing players such as first-team All-SoCon performer Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.), 1,000-point club member Lester Wilson (Knoxville), high-flying dunk specialist Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.), and steady point-guard presence Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) … Last year, Guyn averaged 18.3 points per game, while Bello and Wilson combined for another 16 points a contest … However, not all of the production from a year ago is gone, as All-SoCon selection T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) returns after averaging 14.9 points and a team high 3.1 assists per game a year ago … In addition, players such as All-SoCon Tournament selection Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who averaged 7.6 points and 2.9 rebounds a year ago, and veterans like A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) will be back on the court for the Bucs … Post Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) will also return after a season in which he showed marked improvement throughout and finished averaging 5.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game … Fans will also get to see two new players on the floor this year that sat out as redshirts a year ago … This duo includes transfers Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) from Indiana and Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) from Wichita State … Perea and Glass are both post players who will quickly add depth and talent in the paint … Along with these eight returning players, the Bucs will also be adding five new recruits to the team, a group that includes a couple of Junior College All-Americans and a great deal of offensive firepower … The class is comprised of guards Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.), Jason Williams (Detroit), Jermaine Long (New Orleans) and transfer Kanayo Obi-Rapu (Greensboro, N.C.), along with forward David Burrell (Milwaukee).


The series vs. Mercer

The Bucs lead the all-time series over Mercer 16-8 ... The majority of the past 24 matchups were played over a nine-year span from 2005-2014, as the two teams were previously members of the Atlantic Sun Conference ... The Bucs have won the last three meetings between the teams, including a an 81-65 win over the Bears in the quarterfinals of the SoCon Tournament back on March 5 of last year.


Last time out vs. Mercer

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 5, 2016) – With a defensive effort that held the Mercer Bears to 37 percent shooting for the game, the No. 2-seeded ETSU men’s basketball team pulled away in the second half to capture an 81-65 win in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament presented by General Shale at the U.S. Cellular Center. ... With the win, the Bucs picked up their sixth straight victory, improved to 22-10 on the year, and defeated Mercer for the third time this season. ... The Bucs got a game high 25 points from senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.), while junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) and senior guard Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) pitched in 17 and 10 points, respectively. ETSU shot 44 percent from 3-point range (11-of-25) and were an impressive 24-of-27 from the free throw line (88.9 percent). ETSU also held a 24-8 advantage in fast break points. For Mercer, senior Phillip Leonard scored a team-high 22 points. ... While the Bucs ultimately trailed by as many as six points at 30-24, ETSU outscored Mercer 13-5 to close the half and led 37-35 at the break. ... In the second half, the Bucs methodically built a lead of 54-45 with 9:57 left in regulation, thanks in part to back-to-back 3-pointers from Cromer and a strong defensive effort from junior post Peter Jurkin (Jubah, South Sudan), who posted four blocks in the opening 30 minutes of game play. ... The Bucs never looked back from there.


Last time out

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Jan. 5, 2017) – The Citadel Bulldogs may have entered Thursday night’s game leading the Southern Conference in scoring this season, but it was the ETSU men’s basketball team that put on a show. ... Scoring a season high 115 points and using a stifling defensive effort to hold The Citadel 29 points below its season scoring average, the Buccaneers took the bite out of the Bulldogs and cruised to a 115-71 win inside McAlister Field House. ... Seven ETSU players reached double figures in the win, led by a game high 19 points each from senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) and junior guard Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.). Meanwhile, senior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) finished with 14 points, senior posts Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) and Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) posted 12 points apiece, junior guard Jermaine Long (New Orleans) netted 11, and junior post David Burrell (Milwaukee) collected 10. ... The game was certainly statistically lop-sided in favor of the Bucs, with ETSU shooting 55 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range on the night, compared to a 31 percent clip from the field for the Bulldogs. The Bucs also out-rebounded The Citadel 55-40, while besting the Bulldogs by large margins in points in the paint (58-22), points off turnovers (32-12), second chance points (25-17) and fast break points (10-0).


Cromer named SoCon Player of the Week

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 3, 2017) – Senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) has been named the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for all games played Dec. 20 through Jan. 2, as he led the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 2-1 record over the holidays by averaging over 21 points per game. ... The guard scored in double figures in all three games for ETSU, including a season-high 30 points in a 92-71 win over Savannah State on Dec. 29.  The Bucs began Southern Conference play with a 102-75 victory over VMI on Dec. 31, and Cromer once again paced the Bucs with 21 points. ... The senior connected on 50 percent of his field goals over the three games and was 12-of-24 from 3-point range.


Off and running: Bucs’ start one of the best ever

At 12-3 so far this season, the Bucs are off to their best start since the 1990-91 ETSU team opened the year at 14-1 ... That group -- led by ETSU legend and current Lees-McRae assistant coach Keith “Mister” Jennings   -- went on to go 21-2 through their first 23 games and reached No. 10 in the national rankings ... That team also won a third straight Southern Conference Tournament title and advanced to the NCAAs for the third of four straight trips to March Madness. ... With the win over Savannah State in their non-conference finale, the Bucs also became the first team since that same 1990-91 squad to secure 10 non-conference wins in a season.


Bucs currently ranked 11th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 12-3 start, the Bucs are currently ranked 11th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll.


Bucs ranking among nation’s best statistically

Entering November’s Sanford Pentagon Showcase, the Bucs led the nation in field goal percentage, shooting a blistering 58.8 percent from the floor three games into the season ... Currently, ETSU ranks 30th nationally at 48.6 percent ... With a 68.3 percent clip in the game against UDM, ETSU came up just half a percentage shy of the program’s single game record ... The Bucs currently rank in the Top 50 in multiple categories nationally, including rebound margin, scoring margin, free throws attempted, and 3-point percentage, among others. A complete list of the Bucs’ current position in the national statistics can be found to the left of this note.


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 now posted back-to-back seasons with wins over teams from “Power 5” Conferences ... The Bucs dropped Atlantic Coast Conference foe Georgia Tech last season, and followed that victory with a win over Mississippi State earlier this year ... The win over GT  was the firs over an ACC foe since defeating N.C. State back in 1991 ... The MSU win was the first since dropping the same Bulldogs back in 2010.


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


Banks money so far this season from the field

The Bucs posted high shooting percentages in two of their first three games this season and that trend has continued, thanks in much part to the accurate efforts of the team’s inside players ... For instance, entering the The Citadel game, senior post Isaac Banks (New Orleans) is 32-for-45 from the field this season, ranking first in the country at 71 percent ...  Along with Banks, players like senior Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) is 52-of-85 for a 61 percent mark, while junior David Burrell (Milwaukee) is 52-of-88 for a 59 percent clip from the field.


Depth, bench play coming through in the clutch for Bucs

The depth of the ETSU bench is becoming more apparent with each game this season ... Through the first 15 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in 11 of those contests ... For instance, in the win over The Citadel, Jermaine Long (New Orleans) put together season highs for points (11), rebounds (5) and assists (5) in 20 minutes of play. ... Other players like Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.), who is averaging 8.7 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 8.8 points and 4.1 rebounds a game, have also provided much-needed production.


ETSU offense thrives on assists, unselfish approach

With a season high 24 assists in the win over Savannah State, the Bucs continued to post strong numbers in that statistical category ... Through 15 games this season, the Bucs have dished out 254 assists on 430 total made baskets ... In other words, over 60 percent of the time a made shot by the Bucs is coming off an assist ... Five times this season, the Bucs have eclipsed 20 assists, with those games coming against Fordham, Detroit Mercy, South Dakota State, Savannah State and The Citadel.


Basketball Times’ ranks ETSU JuCo recruiting class #2

In a Basketball Times’ story by Tony Jimenez earlier this year, ETSU head coach Steve Forbes and his staff are were praised for their recruiting efforts at the junior college level. ... In fact, the Bucs’ 2016-17 recruiting class -- which includes JuCo first team All-Americans -- was ranked No. 2 in the nation behind only Southeastern Conference member Arkansas ... In all, the Bucs’ seven-player recruiting class for this year included five junior college additions.


Forbes makes USA Today list of “coaches on the rise”

ETSU head men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes was recently 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.