JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The ETSU men’s basketball team closed out 2022 with a few extra ticks in the win column after earning two road victories to open up conference play last week.

First, it was another one-possession game against Wofford on December 29. The ball finally bounced the Blue and Gold’s way, as they locked down defensively on the final possession to earn a 73-71 win.

Two nights later, the squad traveled to Lexington, Virginia to take on the Keydets. ETSU earned a comfortable 64-50 victory.

At practice on Monday, head coach Desmond Oliver admitted he’s unsure of whether his team has arrived in terms of contending for a SoCon crown. But, after two conference games, they do share first place with Samford and UNC Greensboro.

There was also no hiding that the wins felt good after taking, what Oliver called, multiple gut punches in the non-conference slate.

“Every time you win a game, you build confidence, but when you win a conference road game – for a team that hadn’t won on the road all season – it’s gotta make you a little tougher and more confident,” he said Monday. “Now step one is done, let’s get to step two and step three and so forth.”

“Just good to get a road win in, and especially to start off conference [play] after a rocky non-conference season,” sophomore forward Jaden Seymour said.

“I feel like it was a statement for the league, like we didn’t have the best non-conference games, we didn’t have many wins,” junior guard Jordan King explained. “But, I think it’s all about these next 20 games for seeding play in March.”

The Bucs (6-9, 2-0 SoCon) will look to push their conference win streak to three games on Wednesday evening. Tip-off against Western Carolina is set for 7 p.m. at Freedom Hall.