Hot Shooting Propels ETSU over Citadel 98-73

davien-williamson-etsu

After a somewhat slow start last night, ETSU kicked it up a notch in the 2nd half as they scored 24 of the first 27 points in the 2nd half and poured on a total of 60 points in the final 20 minutes to win in a route over 9-5 Citadel.

The win can be attributed to hot 3-point shooting with the Bucs hitting 14-31 3-points shots, good for 45%.

Freshmen Daivien Williamson had a great scoring night with 24 points in 31 minutes on 4-6 from 3 and 3 rebounds. Isaiah Tisdale scored about as many points per minute (14 points in 17 minutes on 2-2 from 3) but also 5 rebounds, 5 assists to only 2 turnovers,

Jeromy had his usual double/double with 10 points on 5-9, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, only 2 turnovers, a block and 2 steals. N’Guessan played only 13 minutes, but packed them with 8 points on 3-3 and 8 rebounds. Tray Boyd played only 14 minutes, but used them to get 16 points on 6-12 with 4-8 from 3, 2 assists and 2 rebounds.

ETSU improved to 14-4, 4-1, marking the first time in program history the Bucs won 14 of their first 18 games to start three straight seasons. ETSU won 13 of their first 17 games for three straight years from 1948-51.

Matt Frierson

ETSU held one of the best 3 point shooters in D1, Matt Frierson to 0 points on 0-5. Frierson’s had 52-game streak of making at least one three-pointer and was held scoreless for the first time since Feb. 11, 2017 (vs. VMI). 

Mercer

ETSU next plays Mercer in Macon on Saturday the 11th. Mercer at 6-10 is better than their record indicates. They have lost 5 games by less than 5 points. Including only losing by 4 at NC state and 4 at Wofford. Mercer is 6-1 in Macon this year.

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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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Bucs get back on track with win over Western Carolina

Bo Hodges vs WCU

After having their 16 game winning streak and undefeated Socon record broken by UNCG on Monday the Bucs were in need of a back bounce win. They got that win with a convincing eleven point victory over Western Carolina. The game was never really in question for ETSU who built an 18 point first half lead and later extended that lead to 23 points in the 2nd half.

ETSU got a big boost from Devontavius Payne who scored a game high of 22 points off of 6-7 shooting from the 3-point line. Payne who has been the 6th man for ETSU most of the year got the start over Jalan McCloud who had been feeling ill before the game. ETSU also got a big boost from the two freshmen, Bo Hodges and Mladen Armus. Hodges scored 17 points in 17 minutes, making 6 of 7 from the field, including a nice alley-opp dunk in the 2nd half. Meanwhile, Mladen Armus was dominating the boards by grabbing a game high 10 rebounds, including 6 offensive ones.

As a team ETSU held Western Carolina to just 38% shooting, while ETSU shot 47% from the field and 45% from the 3-point line. The Bucs dominated the boards by grabbing 44 compared to just 24 from WCU. The Bucs also got back to sharing the ball with 16 assists, something they failed to do against UNCG. The only real weak spot from the Bucs in this game was turnovers. The Bucs committed 22 turnovers for the game which is partly why the final margin wasn’t larger than 11 points.

ETSU is now finished with road games for the rest of the season, the final three regular season games will be in the friendly confines of Freedom Hall. The Bucs finish the conference road schedule by going 8-1 and have won 11 total road games for the year. That number is tied for the most in all of college basketball.

Dominance over Western Carolina

The Bucs have now won 23 of the last 24 games against Western Carolina. ETSU also hasn’t lost a regular season game against WCU since 1998. The last loss came in a Socon tournament quarterfinal game in 2015, which happened to be former coach Murry Bartow’s last game with ETSU.

Help from UNCG

With the win Saturday the Bucs continued to have a hold on first place in the Socon and thanks to a loss from UNCG at Mercer the Bucs now have a 2.5 game lead over UNCG. A win on Tuesday versus The Citadel and the Bucs can atleast clinch a share of the regular season title. However, if the Bucs want to clinch a #1 seed in the Socon Tournament they will need to win at least 2 of those 3 games since UNCG currently has the tiebreaker over ETSU.

Final 3 games

ETSU will close out the regular season this week with games against The Citadel on Tuesday, Wofford on Friday and Furman on Sunday. All three games will be at Freedom Hall. The Bucs will be looking to clinch the regular season title during this stretch, so come out and Fill Freedom for each game!

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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 defeats Chattanooga in front of a sellout crowd

Peter Jurkin

Today the red hot ETSU basketball team faced an improved Chattanooga team who knocked off 2nd place UNCG earlier in the week with hopes of doing the same to ETSU. The Bucs did not disappoint the sell out crowd at Freedom Hall as they rolled to an easy 81-61 victory over rival Chattanooga. The win is the 15th in a row for the Bucs which is tied for the 2nd longest in school history, set by the 1952-53 Bucs.

Early in the first half it looked as if this would be a close game tied at 18 with about 10 minutes left in the half. From there the Bucs went on a 14-2 run to lead by 12 with two minutes in the half. The Bucs continued to run away with it in the 2nd half as Chattanooga didn’t get any closer than 11 points the rest of the game. ETSU has now won 4 straight games against rival Chattanooga with three of those four wins being by double digits.

ETSU was led in scoring once again by Desonta Bradford who scored 22 points. Peter Jurkin also had big game for the Bucs, brining in a double double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. ETSU continued to dominate on the defensive end, the Bucs held the Mocs to 39 percent shooting and 26 percent (5-of-19) from 3-point range. ETSU had a 39-25 rebounding advantage and 44-32 on points in the paint. The Bucs also shot well for the 2nd straight game going 57% for the game and 56% from the 3-point line.

ETSU is now 12-0 in the Socon and 21-4 overall. The Bucs get a much needed break and will not play again until Saturday, Feb. 10th on the road at VMI.

Jam City

The Bucs were showing Chattanooga and the rest of the Socon why they are often called “Jam City” by the Buc faithful. ETSU put on a bit of a dunk show with three amazing dunks from David Burrell, Peter Jurkin and Desonta Bradford. Below are all three dunks.

Legendary Bucs

In attendance at todays game against Chattanooga were the legendary Bucs from the 1967-1968 season who made the Sweet 16 after defeating Florida State in the 1968 NCAA tournament. They were celebrating the 50th anniversary of their sweet 16 appearance and were honored in the first half. The ’68 Bucs also took time to speak to the 2018 Bucs this morning during their practice.

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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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