|January 18, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||FUR|
|FG Percentage||.397 (23-58)||.364 (20-55)|
|3P FG Percentage||.429 (9-21)||.269 (7-26)|
|FT Percentage||.778 (7-9)||.667 (14-21)|
Jalan McCloud - 12
- 7||Matt Rafferty
Daniel Fowler - 8
- 6||John Davis
Daniel Fowler - 3
- 2||John Davis
Matt Rafferty - 2
Daniel Fowler - 2
- 2||Jalen Williams
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 17, 2018) – Despite all of its success since returning to the Southern Conference in 2014-15, one place has still flummoxed the ETSU men’s basketball team – Furman’s Timmons Arena.
Having not won in three straight trips to the Paladins’ home floor, the Buccaneers will try to snap the spell when they put their unblemished 5-0 Southern Conference record and an eight-game winning streak on the line Thursday as they travel to face Furman at 7:30 p.m. The game will now be part of a special doubleheader, as the ETSU women’s team’s game with Furman scheduled for Wednesday night was moved to Thursday at 5 p.m. due to the inclement weather that gripped the region over the last 24 hours.
The contest will air live via video stream courtesy of the ESPN app, while the Buccaneer Sports Network will also have the live broadcast of the game on its radio affiliates and through the live link at ETSUBucs.com. In addition, live stats will also be available by clicking the link to the right of this story.
ETSU enters the contest fresh off a critical 89-48 win over VMI last Saturday, moving its record to 14-4 overall, 5-0 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, Furman enters the game in second place in the league at 13-5, 4-1, after dropping a road contest to Wofford on Saturday evening.
For more on Thursday’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 2017-18 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.
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.
When Steve Forbes was hired as the men’s basketball coach at ETSU on March 31, 2015, he promised that the Buccaneers would have a program of “first, best and most.” ... Less than two years later, Forbes made good on that guarantee as he guided the 2016-17 ETSU men’s basketball team to a 27-win season, both a Southern Conference regular season and tournament title, and a 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament ... Overall, the Bucs have combined to win more games than any other program in the SoCon over the last two years (51) and have made back-to-back appearances in the league’s tournament championship game ... As the squad enters the 2017-18 season, the momentum and excitement around the program are high, but there will be challenges. ...
Graduating four of its starting five players from a year ago, the Bucs have lost 62 percent of its offensive production from a year ago, along with its two best interior post defender.
The series vs. Furman
The Bucs and Paladins have a long history dating back to 1962, with most of the games being played during ETSU’s previous tenure in the Southern Conference ... In all, the Bucs lead the Paladins 28-26 in the all-time series ... The Bucs won the last meeting 93-81 in overtime back on Feb. 22, 2017 inside Freedom Hall.
Last time out against Furman
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 22, 2017) – On a night when they celebrated their final regular season basketball game inside Freedom Hall, ETSU’s seniors enjoyed a game they will remember for a lifetime. ... It took overcoming a last-second 3-pointer by Southern Conference rival Furman that sent the game to overtime, but senior T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) finished with a career high 32 points, fellow senior Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and four-year fan favorite A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) made the critical defensive plays down the stretch, as the ETSU men’s basketball team outscored the Paladins 19-7 in the extra period to win 93-81 in front of a sellout crowd of 6,149 fans. ... With the win, the Bucs took sole possession of first place in the Southern Conference. ... In a game that had multiple storylines, Cromer’s effort was arguably the most compelling – particularly in the second half. Scoring 12 straight and 15 of 17 over a five-minute stretch to single-handedly keep the Bucs in the lead, Cromer later went to the line for two free throws with 11.4 seconds left and the Bucs up 72-71. He hit both pressure-packed shots before Furman’s John Davis hit a 30-foot 3-pointer to send the game to overtime. ... Glass, Cromer and Merriweather were again the senior trio that took over in the extra period. Glass opened the scoring with two free throws, before Cromer and Merriweather hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 82-76. Glass scored again and the Bucs went on to hit a perfect 7-of-7 at the foul line to take the win.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 13, 2018) – Following an important win over UNC Greensboro on Thursday night and with a trip to Furman awaiting next week, Saturday afternoon’s home matchup with VMI could have been considered a “’trap” game for the ETSU men’s basketball team. Turns out, the Buccaneers weren’t interested in overlooking the Keydets. ... On a night when senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) became the 41st player in program history to reach 1,000 points for his career, the Bucs got a game high 17 points from both senior guard Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.) and senior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) to roll to an 89-48 Southern Conference win over VMI inside Freedom Hall. With the victory, the Bucs have now won 12 of their last 13 games to improve to 14-4 overall and 5-0 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, VMI dropped to 5-10, 0-4. ... The Bucs, who were without the services of senior guard Jalan McCloud (Forth Worth, Texas) for family reasons, also got 16 points from freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville). Meanwhile, Bradford scored 14, including his milestone reaching 1,000th point, which came with 5:07 left in the contest. For the game, ETSU once again shot over 50 percent from the field (53.2), while also out-rebounding the Keydets 43-34, besting them 48-16 on points in the paint, and outscoring them 55-14 in bench points. ... In the first half, the Bucs struggled offensively and found themselves down 6-2 four minutes into the contest. However, that’s when Hodges came off the bench and promptly provided a spark by scoring the next nine points in the contest to make it 11-6 in favor of ETSU. From there, the Bucs methodically built on their advantage to ultimately hold a 35-19 lead at the break. ... In the second half, Payne continued to fan the flames that Hodges initially ignited by opening the scoring with back-to-back 3-pointers. At that point, any hope the Keydets had of a comeback disappeared.
Bucs’ eight-game win streak best in Forbes’ era
The ETSU basketball team has enjoyed plenty of wins over three seasons under head coach Steve Forbes’ direction ... But with its eighth win in a row on Saturday against VMI, the Bucs now have the longest streak of success in those three seasons ... Forbes and the Bucs had also won seven straight in 2015-16 ... In addition, the Bucs win Saturday now gives the team the longest win streak since the 2010-11 squad won 10 in a row ... The longest win streak in school history was 15 set in both 1952-53 and 2003-04.
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 last week, helped the Bucs improve to 12-4 overall and 3-0 in SoCon play at the time with a pair of road wins over league opponents.
Bucs move to No. 5 in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll
After just cracking into the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll two weeks ago at No. 16, the Bucs third straight convincing road win in SoCon play and two home wins have allowed ETSU to move up to and maintain the No. 5 spot in the poll for two straight weeks. ... This comes on the heels of the Bucs earning the No. 8 spot in the NBC Sports Mid-Major Power Rankings two weeks ago, while also being ranked No. 36 in Andy Katz’s weekly power ranking of all Division I programs.
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.
Bradford doing it all for Bucs
Entering Thursday’s game at Furman (1/18), senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) is ranking as one of -- if not the best -- all-around players in the SoCon ... He currently is the only SoCon player in the league to display the following versatility, ranking in the Top 10 of multiple categories per game, including points (13.9), rebounds (5.8), assists (3.4), steals (1.7), assist/TO ratio (1.5), defensive rebounds (5.1) and minutes played (31.1).
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 ... As of Jan. 16, the team is one of the best in the country in multiple categories.
Hodges goes on “Bo”-nanza in 113 seconds
In a less than two-minute span against Hiwassee College, freshman Bo Hodges (Nashville) put on a show ... The two-time Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee collected 11 points, four dunks, two layups, two steals and a free throw in a total of 113 seconds during the first half of the Bucs’ win. ... Those numbers propelled Hodges to a game high 18 points on the night ... In addition, Hodges later scored nine straight first-half points to spark the Bucs’ offense in a dominating win over VMI (1/13).
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.
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.
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 948 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.
The Top 10 as of Dec. 10 can be found below:
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.
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
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 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.