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Heavy home slate, two major road tests await Bucs

From staff reports • Oct 1, 2019 at 8:24 PM

JOHNSON CITY — Eighteen home games and trips to Kansas and LSU help form the 2019-20 schedule for East Tennessee State men’s basketball.

The home slate includes nonconference visits from Sun Belt foe Appalachian State, Big South contender Winthrop and Horizon League member Cleveland State. Moreover, the Buccaneers welcome Milligan to Freedom Hall for a local matchup on Sunday, Dec. 15.

Overall, six ETSU opponents made postseason play a year ago — with four appearing in the NCAA tournament.

“I’m excited that our fans will get to watch 18 home games inside Freedom Hall this year,” said coach Steve Forbes, who has led the Bucs to 100 wins during his first four years at the helm. “Our administration, led by Dr. Noland and Scott Carter, have made a commitment to helping our program put together a competitive schedule — home and away.

“We’ve needed only one more home game to finish our schedule since the first of June. We worked daily to get a D-I opponent but ultimately had to finish our schedule with another non-D-I to give our fans 18 home games.”

ETSU will open the season with a home exhibition game against Limestone on Nov. 1. The Bucs begin regular-season play five days later, hosting Newberry.

For the first time since 1996 and the fourth time in program history, ETSU will travel to Lawrence and take on Kansas inside Allen Fieldhouse. The game, which is a part of the Maui Invitational, is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. Over the last 12 years, the Jayhawks have won 201 of their 211 home games.

A month later, on Dec. 18, the Bucs head to Baton Rouge for their first-ever meeting with LSU inside the Maravich Center. The Tigers won 28 games a year ago, while winning the Southeastern Conference championship and advancing to the Sweet 16.

“Kansas is one of the premier programs in the history of college basketball and will be ranked amongst the top five in the country going into the season,” Forbes said. “LSU won the SEC championship a year ago and will be ranked in the Top 25 as well.”

In what used to be a Southern Conference matchup, ETSU and Appalachian State renew their rivalry at Freedom Hall on Nov. 26. The schools, which are separated by only 55 miles, play in Johnson City for the first time since the Bucs’ 81-68 victory on Nov. 15, 2011.

Overall, the teams have played 125 times with ETSU leading the all-time series, 79-46.

Prior to the Mountaineers coming to town, ETSU will cap off a home-and-home series with Winthrop on Nov. 14. The Bucs defeated the Eagles last November 76-74 in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

“Appalachian State and Winthrop are two very good regional home games,” said Forbes. “It will be the first time Appalachian State has been to Johnson City since 2011. I appreciate head coach Dustin Kerns for renewing this series.”

BUCS TO HOST MAUI MAINLAND GAMES

Following their game at Kansas, the Bucs open a three-game homestand by hosting the Maui Mainland games on Nov. 23-24.

ETSU takes on Delaware State on Nov. 23, while the other game features Southern Utah and Charleston Southern. The championship and consolation games will be played on Nov. 24.

SOCON PLAY BEGINS IN DECEMBER

For the third straight year, ETSU will begin Southern Conference play on the road when the Bucs make the trip to Charleston, South Carolina, to face The Citadel on Dec. 4.

ETSU’s conference home opener is scheduled for New Year’s Day against reigning league and tournament champion Wofford.

ROUNDING OUT NONCONFERENCE PLAY

ETSU hits the road for the first time on Nov. 9 at UT-Martin, while other nonconference road games send the Bucs to Arkansas-Little Rock (Nov. 30) and North Dakota State (Dec. 7). The Bucs defeated both North Dakota State and UT-Martin last season.

ETSU’s remaining nonconference home games feature Milligan (Dec. 15), Horizon League foe Cleveland State (Dec. 21) and Mars Hill (Dec. 29).

“North Dakota State is coming off NCAA tournament appearance and will be picked to win their respective league again this year,” Forbes said.

SEASON TICKETS

Season tickets for the season are available starting at $125. Call the ETSU ticket office at (423) 439-3878 or purchase them online at ETSUBucs.com.


2019-20 schedule

Home games in CAPS

November

1—LIMESTONE*

6—NEWBERRY

9—Tennessee-Martin

14—WINTHROP

19—Kansas, 8 p.m.

23—DELAWARE STATE

24—SOUTHERN UTAH or CHARLESTON SOUTHERN

26—APPALACHIAN STATE

30—Arkansas (Little Rock), 3 p.m.

December

4—The Citadel, 7 p.m.#

7—North Dakota State, 7 p.m.

15—MILLIGAN

18—at LSU, 7 p.m.

21—CLEVELAND STATE

29—MARS HILL

January

1—WOFFORD#

4—Furman, 4 p.m.#

8—UNC Greensboro, 7 p.m.#

11—VMI#

15—SAMFORD#

18—Western Carolina#

25—CHATTANOOGA#

29—MERCER#

February

1—UNC GREENSBORO#

5—Chattanooga, 7 p.m.#

8—Mercer#

12—THE CITADEL#

15—at VMI, 1 p.m.#

19—FURMAN#

22—Samford, 3 p.m.#

26—Wofford, 7 p.m.#

29—WESTERN CAROLINA#

March

6-9—SoCon tournament

*denotes exhibition; #denotes Southern Conference game

Note: Start times for most games have yet to be announced.

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