App State renews rivalry vs. ETSU

App State’s Isaac Johnson works against Georgia Southern during a 2019 game. App State will play a home-and-home series against former SoCon rival East Tennessee State beginning this season and ending in the 2020-21 season.

BOONE — The Appalachian State men’s basketball team will participate in a home-and-home series with East Tennessee State this and next season, according to a tweet sent out by Appalachian State.

The Mountaineers will play in Johnson City, Tenn., this season, while East Tennessee State will return the favor in the 2020-21 season. Appalachian State has not played East Tennessee State since the 2011-12 season. ETSU took a pair of victories in the home-and-home series between the teams, winning 81-68 in Johnson City and 65-48 at the Holmes Center.

Appalachian State last beat East Tennessee State in 2005 when the Mountaineers won a Southern Conference game against the Bucs 95-73. App State also beat ETSU in Johnson City that season 81-79.

The two were Southern Conference rivals until East Tennessee State left the SoCon in 2005 because it dropped football at the end of the 2003 season because of financial reasons. East Tennessee State joined the Atlantic Sun Conference, but brought football back in 2015 and returned to the SoCon in 2016.

Johnson City is located 55 miles from Boone. New Appalachian State coach Dustin Kerns is from Kingston, Tenn. East Tennessee State has been coached by Steve Forbes since 2015 and led the Buccaneers to a regular season and tournament championships in 2017.

“Coach Forbes and ETSU have an excellent program with a rich tradition,” Kerns said in a statement. “It is exciting to renew this series for both our fans and alumni. We are striving to play more regional opponents and paying a great program like ETSU is a great start towards that for our program.”

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