ETSU handles the Mocs in Chattanooga

The Mocs and the Bucs faced off for the 2nd time this season, this time in Chattanooga where the Mocs had only lost twice at so far this year and was trying to avenge a blowout loss to the Bucs in Johnson City. This proved to be no challenge for the Bucs as the won 77-64 to take 7 straight wins versus rival Chattanooga.

ETSU started the game strong jumping out to a quick 10 point lead in the first half. The Bucs then went cold and only scored two points in the last six minutes, fifty-six seconds of the half. This long scoring drought let the Mocs back into the game and they led 33-30 at halftime.

Much like a lot of games this year for the Bucs the 2nd half was a different story. After some back and forth between ETSU and the Chattanooga early in the 2nd half, the Bucs then went of a 14-0 run to gain the lead at 52-42. The Mocs got within 4 not long after, but were unable to get any closer. The Buccaneers then put the game away with 3:11 left thanks to a Mladen Armus dunk, which game ETSU their largest lead of the game at 16.

ETSU dominated the Mocs in the paint by outscoring them 42-16. ETSU also scored 20 points off over turnovers compared to only 1 for the Mocs and shot 93% from the FT line.

The Bucs had 4 guys scoring in double digits including Lucas N’Guessan who scored a career high 14 points and was 6-7 from the field and a perfect 2-2 from the line. ETSU also got a huge game out of Bo Hodges, who led the Bucs in 4 statistical categories. Hodges had 13 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block.

Tisdale finds N’Guessan for the dunk

Wofford

Todays win puts ETSU at 19-5 for the season and 9-2 in conference play and sets up a huge game on Thursday night versus the Wofford Terriers who are 19-4 overall and a perfect 11-0 in conference play. The Bucs and Terriers have already played once this year with Wofford winning by 16 points in Spartanburg.

Wofford lit up Citadel today by hitting twenty 3-point shots and won by 38 points in Charleston. A win against Wofford will take ETSU a long way and put them back into contention for the regular season Socon title.

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Patrick Good breaks school record in win over Western Carolina

Sophomore guard Patrick Good had a record-setting night on Saturday when he broke a school record by hitting 11 3-points in a big win versus Western Carolina. Good was hot all night starting the game at an astonishing 9-10 from the 3-point line. He ended up finished 11-of-17 from beyond the arc and 12-of-18 from the field for a total of 35 points. The 35 points was also a career high for Good.

Patrick Good broke a nearly 10-year old record which had previously been set by ETSU great Courtney Pigram on Feb. 28, 2009. Pat commented in the post game that he knew he was going to have a huge night early in the 2nd half when hit a contested 3-pointer well beyond the NBA line as the shot clock was winding down.

Not only did Patrick Good have a career night but Mladen Armus also had one of the best games of his career. Armus finished with a career-high 21 points (9-of-13 shooting) and grabbed 12 rebounds, while also notching his fourth career double-double.

The Bucs started the game hot with a 17-3 lead early on and never really looked back as the Catamounts could only get as close as 9 points the rest of the game. As a team the Bucs shot well at 55% and Good accounted for 11 of the teams 12 3-pointers. ETSU also forced 21 turnovers which they turned into 38 points. Additionally, the Bucs outscored the Catamounts 44-26 in the paint, including seven dunks.

Highlights from the Bucs win over Western Carolina

Dominance over Western

The ETSU dominance over Western Carolina in basketball continued last night as the Bucs have won 24 of their last 25 over Western Carolina. The Bucs also have not lost in Cullowhee since 1998.

Samford Next

The Bucs will next face Samford in Birmingham. In a game that projects to be a tough matchup for the Bucs. Last time ETSU faced Samford was a few weeks ago in Freedom Hall when Samford came back from 17-points down in the 2nd half to force overtime but later fell to the Bucs in OT. Samford is also coming off a very impressive two game road swing where they led at Wofford for most of the game but later fell by a point in OT thanks to some late game heroics by Fletcher Magee. Then last night the Bulldogs became the first team all year to defeat Furman in Greenville, with a 75-73 victory over the Paladins.

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ETSU destroys Chattanooga 96-70

tray-boyd-vs-chattanooga

On Saturday night ETSU took down Chattanooga in well played 96-70 victory. Tray Boyd continued where he left off against Samford. Boyd finished with 19 points behind 7-9 shooting, including 4-5 from the 3-point line.

The Bucs shot an incredible 61% from the field and 50% from 3 with 9 makes. ETSU also got back on track with their free throw shooting by making 75% of their attempts.

ETSU continued their rebounding dominance by out-rebounding Chattanooga by 10 and that was with their top rebounder Jeromy Rodriguez sitting out most of the first half due to foul trouble. Rodriguez only finished with 4 rebounds for the game, while Lucas N’Guessan and Mladen Armus picked up the slack with 7 and 10 rebounds respectively.

The win put ETSU at 13-4 overall, 3-1 in the SoCon. The Bucs have won all nine of their home games, their best start since the 2003-04 season when they went 12-0. It was also the 6th time in a row ETSU has defeated rival Chattanooga. Their average margin of victory during that span has been 17 points.

Highlights from ETSU’s 96-70 victory vs Chattanooga

Greg Dennis

Prior to the start of the game, ETSU legend, Greg Dennis was honored with the retiring of his jersey. Greg Dennis played a huge role in the late 80’s early 90’s dynasty team that went on to win 4 straight Socon titles, a top 10 ranking and NCAA tournament win versus Arizona. Greg is 2nd all-time in scoring and field goals made at ETSU and was 4-time all Socon selection.

ETSU legend Greg Dennis getting his jersey retired

The Citadel

ETSU next plays at The Citadel on Thursday, January 10th in Charleston where they will look to avenge the loss from last season which prevented ETSU from winning a share of the Socon title. Citadel is 9-4 on the year and lost at Furman today 101 – 85.

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ETSU defeats Samford in OT

Mladen Armus with the Dunk

East Tennessee State defeated Samford on Thursday night 81-72 in overtime after nearly blowing a 17-point 2nd half lead.

It was a game of halves on Thursday which saw ETSU dominate the first half and leading by 15 at halftime thanks to tough defense and 5 made 3-point shots.

The 2nd half started similarly as ETSU got a quick score by Jeromy Rodriguez and pushed the lead to 17. However, it was downhill for the Bucs afterwards as ETSU missed their next 10 shots. At the 12:39 Samford had cut the ETSU lead to 4 at 53-49. Samford later tied the game at 70 with 1:18 left. ETSU had two opportunities to win the game in the final 38 seconds but neither Tray Boyd or Isiah Tisdale’s shots fell.

In overtime the Bucs outscored Samford 11-2 thanks to a big 3-point shot from Tray Boyd and some clutch free throw shooting.

Part of the reason for the big comeback from Samford was due to the free throw woes for the Bucs. ETSU missed nine of 15 free throws in regulation but then went 6 for 6 in OT. The Bucs also turned the ball over 18 times.

With the win head coach Steve Forbes moves to 6-0 in overtime games while coach at ETSU and half of those overtime victories have been against Samford.

Highlights from ETSU’s win vs Samford

Rebounding Domination

The Bucs continued to dominate the boards on Thursday night by out-rebounding Samford 48-31. Both Jeromy Rodriguez and Mladen Armus combined for a total of 36 rebounds. 19 for Rodriguez and 17 for Armus. Coach Forbes even commented in the post game that he had never seen such a dominating rebounding performance from two players in a single game. ETSU continues to lead the nation in rebounding margin at +13.9 a game.

Scott Padgett vs Karl Hess

Another interesting moment late in the game came when official Karl Hess charged towards Samford coach Scott Padgett during a verbal altercation between the two where Padgett had to be restrained. Padgett later commented in the post game where he said “Are you stepping at me right now?” at Hess.

Scott Padgett commenting in the postgame on the altercation with official Karl Hess

ETSU will next face rival Chattanooga in Freedom Hall at 4PM on Saturday where ETSU legend Greg Dennis will have is jersey retired.

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Desonta Bradford named Socon Player of the Month

Desonta Bradford - Player of the Month

Desonta Bradford had a big January, he was named Socon player of the week last week, became a 1,000 point scorer and led his team to a 9-0 record in the month of January. So it was no surprise to learn that Bradford was named the Socon player of the month.

In the month of January Bradford has averaged 15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He shot 52% from the field and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.1. Additionally, Desonta scored a career high of 23 points versus the Citadel on the 29th, although he quickly eclipsed that high the next game versus Samford when he scored 31 points.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the month for Bradford came when the Bucs traveled to Greenville, SC on January 28th to face a tough Furman team. Desonta scored 12 points in the contest, however he hit the biggest shot of his career when he drained a floated with 4.5 seconds to propel ETSU to a win over Furman.

Others nominated for the award included: Zane Najdawi (The Citadel), Stephon Jelks (Mercer), Francis Alonso (UNCG), Justin Coleman (Samford), Nat Dixon (Chattanooga), Mike Amius (Western Carolina) and Fletcher Magee (Wofford).

Bradford will look to continue his strong play in the Socon as ETSU travels to VMI on Saturday, followed by a huge game at UNCG on Monday.

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ETSU gets 20th win with victory over Samford

Bo Hodges Dunk vs Samford

With seven games left in the regular season ETSU picks up their 20th win of the season after a 96 to 76 win over Samford. The win extends the Bucs winning streak to 14 and conference record to 11-0.

ETSU jumped out to a 30-8 lead in the first half and led 48-35 at halftime and it looked like the Bucs were on their way to a big win. However, Samford started the 2nd half hot and cut the ETSU lead to three points with 15:53 left in the game. After that ETSU went on a 24-5 run and cruised to the 20 point victory.

Desonta Bradford was the star again tonight for the Bucs with a career high of 31 points on 12-16 shooting and 5-9 from the 3-point line. In addition to Bradford, Devontavius Payne added 15 points and Jalan McCloud 11 for ETSU. As a team the Bucs shot 58% and 45% from the 3-point line with 14 total three point shots made. The shooting percentages were a huge improvement over Monday’s night game versus The Citadel when ETSU just shot 36% from the field.

ETSU will look to continue their winning streak on Saturday at 4PM as they face off against rival Chattanooga. ETSU beat Chattanooga 85-66 earlier in the year on the road.

Player of the Week

Not only did Desonta Bradford come up big tonight versus Samford but his impressive play earned him player of the week in the Socon. Bradford averaged 18.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game to help the Bucs to a 3-0 record. Bradford is the 2nd ETSU player to earn Socon player of the week this year. Senior, Peter Jurkin also earned player of the week honors on January 9th.

Fastest to 20

For the third year in a row ETSU basketball has reached 20 wins, however what’s most impressive is it’s February 1st with seven games left. This is the fastest any ETSU team in history has won it’s 20th game. Not only that, but currently only 8 other division 1 college basketball teams have 20 wins. Some of those teams include Villanova, Auburn, Virginia and Purdue.

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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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