Bucs prep for rematch against Mercer on Saturday

ETSU Bucs

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — After suffering a deflating loss to Mercer at home last week, the ETSU men’s basketball team will have a chance to set things right in a rematch with the Bears on Saturday. 

A 4-4 Mercer squad handed 7-1 ETSU its only loss inside Freedom Hall so far this season and snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Bucs. 

The Bears were red hot and riding a four-game win streak when they came to Johnson City last week. The team that started off 0-4 in the Southern Conference had just clawed its way to a 4-4 record.

After beating ETSU, Mercer extended its streak with a win over The Citadel, but that came to an end last Wednesday when Furman handed them a 79-57 loss in Greenville.

ETSU bounced back from the loss with a convincing 82-65 win over a tough UNCG squad and posted a 80-64 victory on the road over rival Chattanooga, capping off season sweeps over both teams.

Tray Boyd III, who went 1-9 from the field against Mercer, shot 10-16 against UNCG and lead the team in scoring with a career-high 30 points. Boyd again led the Bucs passed Chattanooga by scoring 18 points. Four other players also scored in double-digits while two logged their first collegiate double-doubles.

Junior guard Bo Hodges reflected this week on the loss to Mercer.

“I just feel like we have to play much harder,” Hodges said. “I feel like in the game we lost, we didn’t play hard at all. We didn’t play defense. We just didn’t come ready to play. We didn’t make shots, so I just feel like we’ve got to do all those things to be able to win.”

SEE ALSO » BUCCANEER BIO: Bo Hodges

Head coach Steve Forbes believes his team is better prepared to handle the Bears this time around.

“We have a better feel for what they do as a team, as far as offense and defense,” Forbes said. “Coach Gary is a new coach there. Coach Hoffman was there forever. He did a great job, and Coach Gary is doing an unbelievable job. So, it was a new system to look at, and we got a little bit better feel now for how to guard their offense.”

The Bucs are 20-4 overall and 9-2 in the conference. The Bears are 12-12 and 6-5.

Tipoff: 4:30 p.m.

Location: Hawkins Arena, Macon, Georgia

How to Watch/Listen:
Saturday’s game will be streamed live on ESPN+. Click here to watch.

The game will also be covered by the Buccaneers Sports Network on WXSM-AM 640. Click here to listen.

Click here for live stats.

Who’s Next:
The Bucs will return to Freedom Hall next Wednesday to host The Citadel. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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