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Bucs embracing challenge of first road game

Joe Avento • Nov 9, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Winning on the road is always tough in college basketball, but East Tennessee State’s players are embracing the challenge as they prepare for their first game away from Freedom Hall.

“It’s a chip on our shoulder,” ETSU guard Tray Boyd III said. “Last year we started the season on the road with an L. For us to go on the road for the first time this year, we have a chip on our shoulders to go on the road and get a W.”

The Bucs (1-0) play at Tennessee-Martin on Saturday night in a non-conference game. Last year, they lost their season opener on the road at Georgia State.

“It’s totally different,” Bucs coach Steve Forbes said. “It’ll be a hard-fought game.”

While the Bucs players were looking forward to the game, they weren’t necessarily looking forward to the trip, which will require a 900-mile round-trip bus ride. Neither was Forbes.

“It’ll be a long haul over there,” Forbes said. “It’ll be good to go on the road and play. It’s definitely a step up, but we’re ready for that. We’ll be ready.”

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m (EST).

A LOOK AT UT-MARTIN

UT-Martin went 12-19 last season, but was 10-4 at home. ETSU won last year’s matchup in Johnson City, 80-62.

The Skyhawks, who were picked fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll, beat the St. Louis College Pharmacy 106-48 in their season opener.

Quintin Dove averaged 13 points a game last year and was a second-team All-OVC selection. Craig Randall is also back after averaging 16.3 points a game.

Parker Stewart, a 6-foot-5 guard who averaged 10.8 points a game during his freshman year at Pittsburgh, sat out last season and is expected to help the team. He was second in the ACC in 3-point shooting, making 42.5 percent.

LAST TIME OUT

The Bucs opened the season with an 79-50 victory over Newberry College. Boyd led the way with 20 points, while Bo Hodges had 14.

JEROMY ON LIST

ETSU forward Jeromy Rodriguez was placed on the watch list for the Lou Henson Award, which goes to the top player in a mid-major program.

Rodriguez is working himself back into shape after undergoing offseason foot surgery.

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