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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Patrick Good coming home to ETSU

patrick good

It was announced this morning that former David Crockett basketball star and Appalachian State player, Patrick Good, will be returning to his home in Johnson City to play for ETSU.

As a 6-foot, 162-pound freshman at Appalachian State Good averaged 22 minutes in 29 games. He finished with 7.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, while shooting 41.7 percent from the floor and 41 percent from three. Good scored 21 points and shot 5-7 from the 3-point line against Tennessee back in November. He also hit seven 3-pointers in a game against Texas-Arlington later in the season.

“I love the city that I grew up in and I am thrilled with the opportunity,” Good told The Johnson City News & Neighbor. “I know a lot of people support me and love ETSU. So if you put those two things together, we may be able to have something special.”

Good also said he attended the ETSU vs UT basketball game in December and loved seeing the enthusiasm from the ETSU crowd in Freedom Hall. He is looking forward to being part of that enthusiasm for the rest of his college career.

Good would have to sit out the 2017-18 season per NCAA transfer rules but will have 3 years of eligibility left.

Patrick Good will join fellow ETSU newcomers, Kendrick Gray, Andre Edwards, Mladen Armus, Bo Hodges, Jeromy Rodriguez, and James Harrison as part of the 2017-2018 recruiting class.

Welcome home Patrick!

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Jeromy Rodriguez commits to ETSU – 6’7 PF

Jeromy Rodriguez

ETSU has confirmed the commitment of their 2nd player for the 2017-2018 season and it’s 6’7 225lbs JUCO PF Jeromy Rodriguez out of Northwest Florida State. Rodriguez was a double double machine this year for NWF. Averaging 14.7 pts and 9.7 rebounds a game and shooting an efficient 64.3% from the field. Rodriguez recorded an impressive 15 double doubles this year. Rodriguez will look to fill the void in the middle for the Bucs after the graduation of Tevin Glass and Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

In addition to ETSU, Rodriguez had offers from Wichita State, Portland and St. Bonaventure. According to JucoRecruiting.com he also had interest from Iowa State, East Carolina, Houston and Pitt. Additionally JucoRecruiting rated Rodriguez as the 16th best JUCO basketball player for 2017.

Assistant Northwest Florida State basketball coach, Rory Kuhn, had this to say about Rodriguez: “Jeromy has a high motor and gives relentless effort, he is one of the hardest working and hardest playing bigs in the country.”

Rodriguez will join Bo Hodges (class AA Mr. Basketball in Tennessee) in the 2017-2018 signing class. Forbes and the ETSU basketball coaching staff still have a busy spring ahead of them as they look to fill the remaining four scholarships.

Tweet below confirming the commitment of Jeromy Rodriguez

Highlights from Rodriguez during his HS days at Pope John XXIII Regional High School

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Socon Champs ETSU to play Florida in the NCAA Tournament

ETSU Reaction

After winning the 2017 Southern Conference tournament last week the Bucs learned on Sunday that they will play the Florida Gators in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday at 3:10PM in Orlando Florida.

ETSU will be making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2010 when they faced Kentucky as a 16 seed. This time around the Bucs will be a 13 seed, which is their highest seed since 2004. That year ETSU was a #13 as well and nearly upset Cincinnati, losing 76-73.

ETSU finished the regular season at 27-7, just one win away from tying a school record for wins.

The 4th seeded Florida Gators finished 24-8 and second in the SEC, however the Gators also lost three out of their last four, including a first round loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament. Florida’s big man, John Egbunu, was also lost for the year due to an injury suffered on February 14th versus Auburn.

ETSU and Florida have three opponents in common from the regular season. Mercer, Tennessee and Mississippi State. Like ETSU, Florida beat both Mercer and Mississippi State. Only difference is Florida won at home versus Tennessee by 13 points, where ETSU lost at home to Tennessee by four points.

The Gators have opened as 10 point favorites but ETSU seems to be a favorite among several national sports broadcasters to pull off the upset, including Jon Rothstein of CBS and Jay Bilas of ESPN.

If ETSU wins it will be their first NCAA tournament win since 1992, which is when the Bucs famously beat the 3rd seeded Arizona Wildcats 87-80.

Below is the ETSU basketball’s team reaction to drawing Florida in the first round during the selection show.

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Bucs start conference play at 3-0

After a big come from behind victory on Saturday versus Mercer, the ETSU basketball team now sits atop the Socon standings as the only undefeated team at 3-0. The Bucs will look to continue their great play with a huge game against UNC-Greensboro on Thursday night. I’ll join the athletic departments request to #FillFreedom on Thursday night! The Spartans will come into Johnson City with a 12-5 overall record and 3-1 in the Socon with a big win over Chattanooga last week.

I expect this to be an exciting game that comes down to the wire. Both games against UNCG last year ended with ETSU hitting a last second shot to win in Johnson City and with ETSU closing the game on an 8-0 run against the Spartans in Greensboro for the win.

Come out and #FillFreedom on Thursday night!

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ETSU beats UNCG on last second three from T.J Cromer

T.J. Cromer

T.J Cromer scored 20 points and was 3-5 from the 3-point line including hitting the winning 3-point shot with 8 seconds left in the game. Cromer was not the only Buc that shot well from the 3-point line. As a whole ETSU tied a school record with 15 made 3-point shots. Ge’Lawn Guyn was 6-9 from the 3-point line with a career high 28 points and Lester Wilson shot 5-9 from beyond the arc with 17 points, which is a season high from Wilson.

The Bucs played in front of 3,078 energetic Buc fans, which is the second highest attended home game of the year. The game featured 11 ties and 11 lead changes. ETSU fell behind early, trailing by 13 points, but ETSU quickly cut into that lead and outscored UNCG 32-18 to finish the first half to lead by one point at halftime.

Neither team led by more than 5 points in the 2nd half and UNCG led by four with 2:18 left in the game, but ETSU was able to come away with the win thanks to Guyn’s and Cromer’s 3-point shooting late in the game.

ETSU will be back in action at Freedom Hall on Monday night, taking on SoCon foe VMI at 6 p.m.

Below are two different perspectives of the winning shot from last nights game.

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Deuce Bello makes SportsCenter Top 10 with dunk against EKU

Deuce Bello

Senior guard Deuce Bello made the SportsCenter Top 10 last night with a big dunk off a missed shot from GeLawn Guyn. The dunk came in at #5 on the countdown for the day. Additionally, the dunk came at a perfect time as ETSU was tied with Eastern Kentucky 71-71 before the dunk. It’s the second time this year that ETSU has made the SportsCenter top 10, the other time came against Wisconsin-Green when A.J. Merriweather made the top 10 highlights.

ETSU went on to win 87-81 to improve to 5-5 on the year. The Bucs next game will be Tuesday night in Knoxville win they take on Tennessee.

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