ETSU gets big win over Wofford to hold onto first place

fetcher magee and desonta bradford

ETSU came into Spartanburg, SC as winners of 11 in a row and Wofford, who had only lost one game at home all year, was looking to end the winning streak. Despite a hard fought effort and energetic crowd at the new Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium, Wofford was unable to derail the Bucs. Thanks to 17 points from Desonta Bradford and 16 from Jalan McCloud ETSU was able to extend their winning streak to 12 games. The winning streak is now just four games off the school record of 16 which occurred in the 2003-2004 season.

The game was back and forth throughout the first half until the 8:54 mark when Bo Hodges made a layup. The Bucs never looked back after that and quickly extended the lead to 9 points with six minutes left. The closest Wofford got after that was four points soon after the start of the 2nd half.

Wofford star Fletcher Magee led the Terriers with 21 points and Matthew Peagram scored 10. The ETSU defense continued to dominate as they held Wofford to just 37% shooting and 32% shooting from the 3-point line. Jermaine Long and the rest of the ETSU defense also did their job in containing the Fletcher Magee who was only 6-of-16 from the field and 5-of-12 from 3-point range. Magee never could get going and even missed two free throws. Coming into Saturday’s game Magee had only missed one free throw.

Another Streak

There was another streak on the line Saturday that came to an end. That streak actually belonged to Wofford. The Terriers had won five straight versus ETSU in Spartanburg. Prior to last night the last time ETSU won at Wofford was during the 2002-2003 season.

The Citadel

ETSU has a quick turnaround as they travel to face The Citadel Monday evening at 6 p.m. in Charleston, S.C. The Citadel is coming off a big win at Mercer on Saturday and will look to take down the red hot Bucs. Don’t be surprised to see a high scoring game Monday night as The Citadel is one of the highest scoring teams in the nation.

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ETSU extends winning streak to 10 with wins over Furman and WCU

Jalan McCloud dunks

The ETSU men’s basketball team played two more big Socon games this week and came away with two more victories while extending their winning streak to 10 games. It’s the Bucs longest winning streak since the 2006-2007 season. ETSU also improved to 7-0 in the Socon, which is their best conference start since 2003-2004 when the Bucs started 15-0. With the win over Furman on Thursday night the Bucs became the only undefeated team in the Socon and their undefeated mark remained after beating Western Carolina on Saturday.

Furman

The Bucs came into the Furman game with not winning at Timmons Arena since 2004 when it took a last second layup from Tim Smith to beat the Paladins 69-68. The game on Thursday night ended quite similarly to that 2004 game. The Bucs once again found themselves down a point in the final seconds against Furman and they looked to their senior leader Desonta Bradford to seal the win. Bradford drained a one handed floater with 4.5 seconds left to put the Bucs ahead 62-61. Furman was unable to make their final shot and ETSU came away with a hard fought win. It was a win that saw ETSU lead most of the game. The Bucs held a 12 point lead at one point in the 2nd half but Furman was able to crawl back and take the lead late. It was the Bucs defense that shined as they held Furman to just 36% shooting. The nine 3-point shots by ETSU was also a big factor in this win.

Desonta Bradford’s game winning shot:

Western Carolina

Saturday’s game against Western saw ETSU jump out to a 11-0 lead and never look back. The Bucs took home a rather easy 66-50 victory over a very physical Catamount team. The ETSU defense continued to dominate limiting Western to only 50 points on 32% shooting. Amazingly the 50 points allowed is just the 3rd lowest by an ETSU opponent so far this season. Both VMI and Hiwassee scored only 48 against ETSU.

The Bucs will look to continue their winning streak on Wednesday when they play Mercer for the 2nd time this year. The last outing saw ETSU win 74-55 in Macon. Mercer is coming into Wendesday’s game at 3-4 in the Socon after a tough overtime loss versus UNCG this weekend. Hopefully ETSU can build off the 5,412 fans that were at Freedom Hall for Western and fill Freedom vs Mercer!

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Desonta Bradford reaches 1,000 points while Bucs improve to 5-0

Desonta Bradford

After a big win versus UNCG on Thursday night the Bucs continued their winning ways with 89-48 blowout win over VMI and senior guard Desonta Bradford became the 41st player in ETSU basketball history to score over 1,000 points. With the win the Bucs improve to 5-0 in the Socon and are no longer tied for first place thanks to a Furman loss at Wofford.

The ETSU defense continued to impress as they held VMI to only 26% shooting overall and 23% from the 3-point line. Additionally ETSU forced 15 turnovers and 10 steals. The Bucs were led in scoring by both Devontavius Payne and David Burrell, both scored 17 points. Payne was 4-6 from the 3-point line and was one rebound shy of a double double. The ETSU bench also had a productive night totaling 55 points.

The Bucs have dominated the conference games so far by winning by an average of 21.4 points. ETSU has won 12 of its last 13 games and 8th in a row. The 8 game winning streak is the longest winning streak since 2010-2011. The 5-0 conference mark is the best conference start for ETSU since 2008-2009 when ETSU also started 5-0 in conference play.

Rankings

The Bucs continue to move up in the rankings. At the time of this post ETSU is #59 in the Kenpom rankings, #62 in the ESPN BPI rankings and #5 in the CollegeInsider top 25.

Furman

The Bucs have another big game on Thursday night when they have to travel to Greenville, SC to face a Furman team that just suffered it’s first loss in conference play. This game has huge implications for the the Bucs, if they can win it would put them two games ahead of Furman and make them a clear favorite to win the regular season. However, playing at Furman has been a challenge for the Bucs since they rejoined the Southern Conference. The Bucs are 0-3 at Timmons Arena since rejoining in 2015. The last time the Bucs won at Furman was during the 2003-2004 season.

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Bucs easily win first 3 Socon games on the road

ETSU vs Chattanooga - Socon

When the ETSU basketball schedule came out in August, there was one thing that stood out most of anything. The Bucs were forced the start the Socon basketball schedule with three games on the road and two of those were against the preseason #1 (Mercer) and #2 (Samford) ranked teams. Coach Forbes publicly spoke about the brutality of this and so did many ETSU fans but it proved to be not much of a challenge for the senior led Bucs. Not only did ETSU win all three games but they made it look easy. The Bucs won each game by an average of 18.6 points (lets just round to 19) and absolutely dominated Chattanooga, a game which I felt ETSU could have won by 30, but the officiating was called in favor of Chattanooga, as ETSU was called for 11 more fouls than UTC. Despite the fouls, it did not matter, as the Bucs shot 56% and out rebounded the Mocs 42-29.

Road Warriors

Speaking of winning on the road, last night Coach Forbes tweeted out that ETSU has the 2nd most road wins than any other team in college basketball so far this season. The only team that has more is fellow in state rival Middle Tennessee. Maybe the two should play each other next season?

Rankings

The stellar play of the Bucs has earned them the attention from various polls and computer rankings. At the time of this writing ETSU is ranked #62 in the Kenpom Rankings, #72 in ESPN’s BPI rankings, #91 in the Sagarin Ratings and #104 in the RPI.

As for the Mid-Major polls the Bucs rank #16 in the college insider mid-major top 25, #8 in the NBC sports mid-major power rankings and #22 in the Mid-Major Madness top 25.

White out on Thursday night

On Thursday ETSU plays perhaps the biggest Socon matchup of the season so far which is a rematch of the Socon final between ETSU and UNCG in Johnson City. ETSU is calling on everyone to come out and fill Freedom Hall in a white out. Both ETSU and UNCG are unbeaten in Socon play so far this year, although ETSU has played one more game than UNCG. Go Bucs! Fill Freedom Hall!!

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Bucs Finish Non-Conf Play 10-3

The ETSU Men’s Basketball team finished the 2017 non-conference schedule tonight as they cruised to a 92-71 victory over Savannah State in Freedom Hall. It was very encouraging to see our guys come out with a lot of intensity in this game after coming off a tough, emotional loss to the Voles at home (more emotional for the fans as I couldn’t even bring myself to write a recap). Perea kicked off the scoring with a powerful two handed slam and the Buc’s never looked back. Devon Payne was hott in the first half, hitting 4 3-pointers and finished with a career high 17 points. TJ Cromer started off a bit slow in the first half with 5 points, but came alive after the intermission and finished with a career high 30 points. Desonta Bradford had another overall solid game finishing with 6 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Under the basket, Perea scored 13 points and had 8 rebounds. Ike Banks came off the bench and played very aggressively finishing with 2 pts and 6 rebounds. AJ Merriweather was the junkyard dog that he is and recorded 11 points, 5 steals, and 4 rebounds.

Savannah State’s leading scorer Dexter McClanahan finished with 28 pts (a career high).

The Buc’s enter conference play with a record of 10-3, with 10 wins being their most non-conf wins since the 90-91 season. A few things I’d like to see us clean up going into league play are our free throw shooting (66%), our turnovers (14 per game), and finishing at the rim.

ETSU hosts VMI on December 31st in the first conference game of the year

Boxscore

Recap

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Buc’s Handle Morehead St On The Road

The Buc’s handled business today on the road at Morehead State as they cruised to a 78-68 win. Many Buc fans, including myself, were worried they might overlook this game in anticipation for the vaunted matchup with Tennessee at Freedom Hall 5 days from now. However, they showed no signs of that as they got out to a 35-12 lead 10 minutes into the first half. The game was never really in doubt, although the Buc’s had two lapses during the game and allowed Morehead to get within 9 and 8 pts in the second half. Despite the Eagles record and the assault allegations against their now former coach, year in and year out Morehead is a consistently good mid-major program so I’ll definitely look at this game as a good win on the road.

TJ Cromer busted out of his recent shooting slump going for 23 pts, 7 assists on 6-9 shooting from 3 point land. He did have 6 turnovers which is uncharacteristic of him. Desonta Bradford and Hanner Mosquera-Perea finished with 13 pts a piece and David Burrell added 7 pts off the bench.

ETSU @ Morehead St. Boxscore

ETSU @ Morehead St. Recap

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ETSU Gets Much Needed Road Win At SEC Foe Miss. St.

The Buccaneer faithful were able to witness their first win on the road in 2016 as ETSU beat SEC foe Mississippi State at “The Hump” in Starksville, MS on Wednesday night. The Buc’s came into the game needing a resume building road win, and they got what they needed. Quite frankly, ETSU looked like the better team all game. They led by as much as 10 and never trailed throughout. ETSU has played Miss. St. in the past, and came into the game leading the all-time series 2-1. They were able to add to that series lead via a buzzer beating put-back by Hanner Mosquera-Perea with barely a second left on the clock. Desonta Bradford stepped up big time, hitting multiple shots in the lane, beyond the arc, and sinking 2 critical free throws down the stretch to pull of the dub. Even though TJ Cromer is the leading scorer, Bradford can easily take over as the go-to guy when needed.

As far as stats go, Bradford led the way with 15pts, 4reb, and 2ast. TJ Cromer had 14pts on 6-14 shooting. There are many other contributors to mention as this team is DEEP. However, some of note are Devontavius Payne who had 9 pts and David Burrell with 8. Both players came in with ferocity and hit 3 big threes between them. For Mississippi State, the Buc’s were able to stifle the Bulldogs leading scorer in Quinndary Weatherspoon who finished with 13pts on 3-9 shooting. The Bulldogs leading scorer was F Aric Holman, who finished with 17pts, 6reb, and 4blks.

When you play on the road against a good team it’s all about managing the storm, and the Buc’s did that tonight. Something we never saw last game against Dayton, or UNC Wilmington. Tonight was a huge team building win for our Bucs. Our players proved to themselves they can play on the road and manage a comeback effort by the home team.

ETSU takes on Morehead St. at their place on Saturday Dec. 17th. While Morehead St. is always a respectable mid-major, they have struggled this year amid complications with their previous coach.

More analysis to come

ETSU @ Mississippi St. Boxscore

ETSU @ Mississippi St. Recap

Watch Replay: ETSU @ Mississippi St.

Desonta’s Dunk in Transition

Game Winning Shot:

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Bucs fall at Dayton 75-61

The Buc’s had another chance to pull of a signature win on the road, but they simply could not get it done against a very talented Dayton team picked to win the Atlantic 10 conference. Oddly enough, the Buc’s struggled inside even though that has been proven to be a strength, as their season avg in rebounding margin is +10. The Flyers were able to shut down the Buc’s leading scorer TJ Cromer (19 ppg) who went 1-11 from the field and finished with 4 pts. Desonta Bradford and David Burrell were the lone bright spots for ETSU who produced 12 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast (4 to) and 12 pts, 4 reb respectively. Charles Cooke led the way for Dayton going for 24 pts, 8 reb, and 4 blocks. Dayton also welcomed back the edition of Senior F Kendall Pollard who returned from injury and played a big part on the glass snagging 12 rebounds and scoring 12 points.

The Buc’s move on to Mississippi State on Wednesday Dec. 14. They will have their 3rd chance in as many tries to pick up a solid non-conference win on the road. The Buccaneer faithful, including myself, will be intently rooting for an improvement in play from our talented and deep squad. I’m hoping the Dayton game was merely a mirror of the Villanova game last year, where we lost badly, and then proceeded to beat Georgia Tech on the road courtesy of a Guyn 3 at the buzzer.

ETSU @ Dayton Boxscore

ETSU @ Dayton Recap

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