#8: First win against Tennessee
For the 8th best moment in ETSU basketball history I’ve decided to go with ETSU’s 83-70 win over the University of Tennessee in 1989 in front of a large ETSU crowd at Thompson-Boling arena. I went with this at #8 because as far back as I can remember whenever Tennessee appears on the ETSU schedule it’s always one of the games that I want the Bucs to win the most and to finally get that first win against the Vols in 1989 was huge for ETSU and it’s followers.
In the long history of games between ETSU and Tennessee the Bucs had always come up short in wins until the game in 1989. There were a few close calls including a one point loss in Brooks gym in the early 60’s and apparently Tennessee coach, Ray Mears, said he would never play in Johnson City again after that game.
Fast-forward about 25 years and the Bucs find themselves with one of the most talented teams in the history of the school visiting Tennessee with future NBA star Alan Houston. It was the perfect situation for the Bucs as a large number of ETSU faithful made the short drive to Knoxville with high expectations that ETSU would come back to Johnson City with a win.
The Bucs did not disappoint as they went into Thompson-Boling arena and pretty much controlled the game and almost led the whole way. Most impressive to me was how loud the Buc fans were that night. Above is a YouTube video of the game in it’s entirety and at times it almost sounds like a home game for ETSU.
A couple of years after this game ETSU went into Knoxville and got another win from the Vols behind a huge game from Jason Niblett (I’ve included highlights from this game below). ETSU has not beat UT since 1992, however, I can speak for most Buc fans when I say that when it does happen again, it will probably be another very memorable win for the program.
Keep checking back this week as I’ll continue to count down the top 10 moments in ETSU basketball history.
Highlights from the 1992 win against Tennessee