January 28, 20171st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceUTCETSU
FG Percentage.436 (24-55) .436 (24-55)
3P FG Percentage.350 (7-20) .357 (5-14)
FT Percentage.696 (16-23) .742 (23-31)
Offensive Rebounds814
Defensive Rebounds2029
Total Rebounds2843
Bench Points104
PointsGreg Pryor - 21
ReboundsMakinde London - 7
AssistsTre' McLean - 3
StealsJustin Tuoyo - 2
Tre' McLean - 2
BlocksJustin Tuoyo - 3
Bucs, Mocs set for another epic showdown Saturday
ETSU fans are encouraged to wear gold for Saturday's #GoldOut game versus Chattanooga at 4 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.
Bucs, Mocs set for another epic showdown Saturday
Friday, January 27, 2017

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 28, 2017) – Once again, the ETSU men’s basketball team will face its arch rival Chattanooga in a game with significant Southern Conference implications Saturday afternoon inside Freedom Hall. Of course, this is just as it should be.

The Buccaneers and Mocs will tip off at 4 p.m., in a matchup of teams currently tied for first place in the loss column of the SoCon regular season standings. The Bucs (16-5 overall, 6-2 SoCon) will also be trying to snap a five-game losing streak to the Mocs (15-5, 6-2), as well as avenge a loss to UTC in last year’s SoCon Tournament title game.

A sellout crowd is expected for this special #GoldOut game, as fans are encouraged to wear their favorite gold ETSU gear. Those unable to attend will be able to watch the game via live video streaming courtesy of ESPN3.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.

The Bucs, who are currently ranked 15th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll, are 34-47 all-time against UTC, as both programs are considered the most traditionally successful men’s basketball programs in the history of the modern Southern Conference. In all, the two teams have combined for 20 NCAA Tournament trips all-time (11 for UTC and nine for ETSU), and they have combined for 51 SoCon championships all-time.

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 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. Chattanooga

In what is widely considered the longest and most heated rivalry in ETSU basketball history, the Bucs and Mocs have met 80 times with ETSU trailing the all-time series 34 to 46 ... The two teams shared the same conference from 1979 to 2005, spending several years battling in the Southern Conference before both teams were reunited in the SoCon again beginning with the 2014-15 season ... The Mocs have won the last five games in the series, including a 73-67 win in the finals of the SoCon Tournament last season back on March 7, 2016 in Asheville, N.C.


Last time out vs. Chattanooga

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 7, 2016) – Down 12 points at halftime, the No. 2-seeded ETSU men’s basketball team fought valiantly to within one point of No. 1 seed Chattanooga in the second half, but the Buccaneers’ fell short in their bid for a 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament, falling 73-67 to the Mocs in the finals of the Southern Conference Tournament Monday evening inside the U.S. Cellular Center ... Trailing 38-26 at halftime, the Bucs pulled  to within one possession on multiple occasions in the second half. However, with the score 62-57 and four minutes left in regulation, ETSU junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) attempted a 3-pointer and believed he was fouled on the play. Instead, after a no call, Cromer was assessed a technical foul, and in the wake of that play, Forbes was also called for a second technical. Chattanooga hit three of the four technical free throws, building their lead to 65-57 and the Mocs never looked back. ... For the game, UTC went 26-of-31 from the foul line compared to a 6-of-13 clip for the Bucs. ETSU was also whistled for 25 fouls compared to 16 for the Mocs. ... The Bucs were led by a game-high 14 points from sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), while Cromer scored 13 and senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) added 11. For Chattanooga, Greg Pryor and Tre’ McLean each had a team-high 13 points.


Last time out

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 25, 2017) – In one of the classic games in the history of ETSU men’s basketball, the Buccaneers battled through two overtimes to ultimately drop Southern Conference foe Samford 96-86 on the road at the Pete Hanna Center. ... The game – which included 12 ties and 21 lead changes – saw the Bucs make a defensive stop at the end of regulation to force the first overtime, but then look on as Samford’s Christen Cunningham hit a buzzer-beating, game-tying 3-pointer to send the teams to a second extra period. At that point, the Bucs scored 18 points in the final, five-minute OT period – an offensive surge led by 11 points from junior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) and a clutch 3-pointer by senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) – to take the win. 

... Bradford finished with his first-ever double-double thanks to 10 rebounds and a career high 21 points, while Cromer finished with a game high 27. In all, five ETSU players would score in double figures, with junior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) adding 14, while senior post Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) and senior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) netted 12 and 10, respectively. ... The second OT period was highlighted by Bradford’s play. Trailing 80-79, the junior guard scored seven of the team’s next 10 points and Cromer hit a three during the run to stake the Bucs to an 89-80 lead. That was ultimately enough to take the bite out of the Bulldogs and get the win.


ETSU and Chattanooga similarities striking

The rivalry between the Buccaneers and Mocs is in many ways directly related to the similarities between the programs. Both teams’ successes have mirrored each other:

                                                                         ETSU   Chattanooga

Overall championships                                       21             30

Regular Season (to include North Titles)             12             19

NCAA Appearances                                               9             11

Sweet 16 Appearances                                          1               1

Players of the Year                                                9               5

Coaches of the Year                                              8               6


The two teams have met six times in tournament title games, with the teams tied at 3-3 in those matchup ... ETSU won in 1992, 2003 and 2004, while the Mocs have victories in 1983, 1993 and 2016. Over a 17-year span from 1981 to 1997, the Bucs and Mocs represented the SoCon in the NCAAs a remarkable 12 times (ETSU four times and Chattanooga eight times).


Merriweather, Cromer nearing 1,000 career points

Entering Saturday’s game with UTC, senior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) currently stands at 959 points for his career, while fellow senior T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) stands at 922 points ... Both players are trying to join a group of 38 ETSU players in the 1,000-point club.


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 19th nationally at 48.8 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 scoring margin, free throws attempted, scoring offense, and steals per game among others. A complete list of the Bucs current position in the national statistics can be found to the left of this note.


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

At 16-5 so far this season, the Bucs are off to the their best start since the 2003-04 ETSU team finished the regular season and tournament with five losses ... That group -- led by the trio of Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.), Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) and Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.)  went 15-0 in SoCon play before falling to College of Charleston in the regular season finale ... The 2003-04 Bucs went on to win the SoCon Tournament and gave Cincinnati a scare in the NCAA Tournament, losing to the Bearcats by three and finishing the year at 27-6 overall, one of the best seasons in school history.


Bucs currently ranked 15th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 16-5 start, the Bucs are currently ranked 15th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, which was released on Monday ... The Bucs are joined in the ranking by fellow SoCon members Chattanooga (7th) and UNCG (14th).


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


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 21 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in 15 of those contests ... For instance, in the road 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 7.3 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 8.7 points and 3.8 rebounds a game, have also provided much-needed production.


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.