The ETSU men’s basketball team headed to Macon, Georgia, on Feb. 20 to take on the Mercer Bears for the second time this season in its last regular season away game.
When Mercer came to Johnson City earlier in the season, the game went back-and-forth the entire time. The Bucs did a good job attacking the zone defense and recognizing when Mercer changed it, and they were able to adjust.
Despite being down by eight almost the entire second half, the Bucs ended up pushing the Bears into overtime and locking in an intense 65-63 win with Ge’Lawn Guyn’s (Lexington, Ky.) winning shot.
Because of the recent passing of a Mercer team member, Guyn expected the game in Georgia to be very intense and assumed the team would play with a lot of passion.
“I feel like the vibe is going to be crazy,” Guyn said before the game.
With it being his last away game as a senior, other than the SoCon Tournament in Asheville, North Carolina, he looked to get his team another win.
Mercer is known for having a good home environment, with its last home game attendance hitting 3,721 and a record of 11-1 at home coming into the ETSU game.
Coach Steve Forbes knew it would be a hard game but thought it would be nothing the Bucs couldn’t handle with an aggressive offense.
This game was not the last of the season. The Bucs have two more home games against Furman and Wofford to finish off the regular season.
“The game would be huge to win because it would give us separation going into the last week,” Forbes said before the Mercer game.
With these expectations, the Bucs were able to top Mercer on Feb. 20 in a close finish of 77-74. The Bucs lead the first part of the game and fell behind by no more than nine points, but at the half it was a tie game.
The ending was almost as intense as the game in Johnson City. With two minutes left in the second half, the game was tied at 70 points.
Desonta Bradford (Humboldt, Tenn.) was key to giving the Bucs the lead over the tie, totaling 12 points in the game and blocking one of the last shots by the Bears to hold onto the win.
Guyn was also a playmaker in the game from the very beginning, coming out of the game with 32 points.
Guyn is currently in the top three leading scorers in the SoCon, along with Spencer Collins of Wofford and Stephen Croone of Furman.
The men returned to Johnson City ready to take on the end of the regular season after a successful week of away-game wins against The Citadel and Mercer.