CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Dec. 29, 2021) – The ETSU men’s basketball team tips off Southern Conference play Thursday night on national television when the Buccaneers travel to Chattanooga. Game time is set for 7 p.m. inside McKenzie Arena.
ABOUT THE BUCS
- ETSU ended non-conference play with a thrilling 86-84 win at Georgia last Wednesday, when David Sloan hit the game-winning three-pointer with 8.4 seconds remaining … The win not only marked the Bucs’ first road victory of the season, but it was the second time in the last three seasons ETSU took down a Power 5 program and the fourth time in the last seven years the Blue and Gold accomplished the feat.
- ETSU got in on the SoCon fun of taking down Power 5 programs this season as the Bucs became the fifth SoCon team to defeat a Power 5 in 2021-22 … The Citadel opened the season with a road win at Pittsburgh, followed by Furman taking down Louisville, Samford defeated Oregon State and Mississippi State, while Wofford also beat Georgia.
- ETSU enters conference play with an overall record of 8-5.
- Thursday marks the 34th SoCon opener for the Blue Gold with ETSU going 18-15 in the previous 33 ... Since 2001-02, the Bucs have won nine of the last 11 SoCon openers, including the 86-78 home win over Western Carolina last season.
- Through ETSU’s first 13 games, seven games have been decided by seven points or less and four by two points or less … The Bucs are 5-2 in those seven games decided by seven points or less and have split the four games decided by two points or less.
- Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 1,073 consecutive games ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game ... The Bucs currently rank as the fifth-longest streak in the NCAA, with UNLV topping the list with 1,142 games.
- Since the start of the 2015-16 season, ETSU’s 151 victories are the second-most most by any Division I team in the state, with Belmont leading the charge at 156 … The other DI programs in the state include: Tennessee (132), Memphis (128), Lipscomb (121), Chattanooga (118), MTSU (114), Austin Peay (109), Tennessee State (88), Vanderbilt (87), UT-Martin (85) and Tennessee Tech (75).
- Since the start of the 2015-16 campaign, ETSU has won 79 SoCon games, which ranks second during this time span … UNCG leads all SoCon teams with 80 wins during this stretch … Furman (76) and Wofford (70) are the other top win leaders in league play during this span … Overall, ETSU is 79-25 (.760) in the league since the start of the 2015-16.
- The Mocs enter Thursday’s game with an overall record of 10-3.
- Chattanooga wrapped up non-conference play with a 77-65 win over MTSU on Dec. 22.
- The Mocs have won five of their six home games this season with the lone setback coming against College of Charleston, 68-66.
- Chattanooga is led by Malachi Smith as he’s averaging a SoCon-best 20.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game … Smith is also shooting 55 percent from the field, and ranks fourth nationally in total points (265) and sixth in field goals made (95).
- Joining Smith in double figures is David Jean-Baptiste (14.5 ppg) and Kansas transfer Silvio DeSousa (12.5) … Jean Baptiste leads the team with 43 made three-pointers – ranking 11th nationally – while DeSousa is shooting 58 percent from the field and posting 6.3 rebounds per contest.
- Chattanooga is averaging 77.8 points per game and allowing 62.8.
- The Mocs boast the top scoring defensive team in the SoCon, while also toping the league in scoring margin (+14.9), field goal percentage (.484) and offensive rebound percentage (.380).
- Chattanooga was picked to win the league by both the coaches and media.
- Thursday marks the 95th all-time meeting between the two historical programs with Chattanooga holding a slight 49-45 all-time lead.
- The Mocs swept the regular season series a year ago with a pair of two-point wins, while ETSU ended Chattanooga’s season with a 63-53 win in the SoCon quarterfinals.
- Despite the two close battles in the regular season – where A.J. Caldwell knocked down the game-winning three pointer with one second remaining – giving the Mocs a 67-65 win in Johnson City, while Chattanooga followed that up with a 53-51 win nine days later at home where Damari Monsanto’s game-winning three-pointer was wiped off due to ETSU’s bench calling a timeout before the shot, the Bucs only led for a combined 34 seconds in those two contests.
- The Bucs had won 10 straight in the series before the setback inside Freedom Hall, however, ETSU has still won 11 of the last 13 meetings … The 10 straight wins marked the longest winning streak by any team in the series.
MORE ON THE SERIES
- 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 since their time in the SoCon ... Overall, the teams have accounted for 52 overall championships (22 for ETSU), 33 regular season titles (including North Titles) with the Bucs winning 14, 22 NCAA appearances (11 by the Bucs), each program has one Sweet 16 appearance, 15 Players of the Year (10 by the Bucs) and 16 Coaches of the Year (9 by the Bucs).
- The teams have met six times in the SoCon Championship game with both teams winning three of them.
- The most points scored by the Bucs against the Mocs was 104 in the win back in 1990-91, while UTC scored 107 in the victory back in 1973-74.
- Thirty-four of the previous 94 meetings have been decided by five points or less, including five by one point.
- Thursday marks the first time the two teams are opening conference play since the 2000-01 season when Chattanooga won 67-58 on Jan. 2, 2001 in Chattanooga.
- Thursday’s game will be televised on ESPNU with Derek Jones (pbp) and Lance Blanks (color) providing the call … Click here for live video.
- The game will be broadcast on WXSM-AM 640 with “Voice of the Bucs” Jay Sandos providing the play-by-play starting with the Atmos Energy Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m. … Click here for live audio.
- Live stats will be available for Thursday’s contest via GoMocs.com. Click here to access the live stats feed.
- Twitter updates will also be available by following @ETSU_MBB.
ETSU gears up for its SoCon home opener when the Bucs host VMI on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m.
For more information on ETSU men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball tab.