JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2008) -- In the midst of a three-game winning streak, the ETSU men's basketball team will look to maintain its momentum Friday night as the Buccaneers host Atlantic Sun Conference foe Mercer in front of a live regional television audience on CSS. Tip time is set for 7:30 p.m. inside Memorial Center.
To encourage fans to attend for this special television game, the ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced a trio of special ticket promotions. For the general public, it will be a special "Two for Blue" night, which means all fans wearing blue to the game will receive a buy one ticket, get one free discount on any reserve ticket.
In addition, it will be ETSU Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night, with free admission to all ETSU faculty and staff that can produce a valid school ID. Meanwhile, the Bucs will also be honoring employees from Mountain States Health Alliance with MSHA Appreciation Night, providing free admission to all staff from MSHA with a valid ID badge.
As for the game itself, the Bucs (11-9, 5-2) will be looking to stay in the hunt for the A-Sun regular season title, as they are currently tied for second in the standings. Meanwhile, Mercer is just one game back of ETSU at 4-3 in league play.
For more on the game, click the game notebook link located above or read the notes below. Fans not receiving the CSS broadcast can still watch the Bucs through ASun.TV on the Internet, or can listen to the free audio link located at ETSUBucs.com.
A seven-time NCAA Tournament and two-time NIT participant, the ETSU Buccaneers enter the 2007-08 season coming off a regular season Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 24-10 overall record, and a 16-2 league mark a year ago ... The Bucs return the 2006-07 A-Sun Player of the Year in junior guardCourtney Pigram (Memphis), as well as the A-Sun Coach of the Year Murry Bartow and All A-Sun Freshman team pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) ... Along with returning players like Pigram and Smith, the Bucs also return significant contributors to last season's success such as senior post Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.), senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna), and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) ... Newcomers for the Bucs that are expected to contribute early and often include junior college transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who was the JuCo Division II National Player of the Year last season, and lightning quick JuCo point guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) ... Several Bucs are currently leading A-Sun statistical categories, see page 6 of this notebook for more information on those players and their rank ... In addition, see where the Bucs ranks as a team and individually on the national charts on Page 4.
The series against Mercer
ETSU and Mercer have met five times, with four of those contests coming since the 2005-06 season, when the Buccaneers joined the Atlantic Sun Conference ... The series, which began with a meeting back in 1971, has been all ETSU, with the Bucs holding a perfect 5-0 record against the Bears.
Last time against the Bears
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 24, 2007)- Despite being forced to play without many of their usual offensive weapons, the ETSU Buccaneers found production in unusual places, posting 65 first half points and going on to defeat Atlantic Sun Conference foe Mercer 112-89 in front of 5,452 fans on Senior Day at Memorial Center ... Sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) posted one of the most impressive games in ETSU history, scoring 29 points and dishing out a remarkable 18 assists. His assist number was the second best single-game total ever, just missing the ETSU record of 19 set by Keith "Mister" Jennings in 1991. In addition, he just missed becoming the second ETSU player in recorded history to collect a triple-double, finishing with eight rebounds ... Pigram was not alone, however, as junior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) collected a career high 24 points on 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the 3-point line, matching the third best long-range shooting night in ETSU history. Meanwhile, senior walk-on Nick Tuggle (Memphis) made the most of his Senior Day start, posting 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while freshman guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) netted 24 points and senior forward Eryk Thomas (Fremont, Calif.) collected 12 to round out ETSU's five double-figure scorers ... Swader received more minutes in the game when senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) went down with a left shoulder injury early on. Meanwhile, Pigram was forced into action at the point guard position with sophomore guard Tayloe Taylor (Memphis) on the bench with three fouls in the first half and freshman Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville) serving a one-game suspension for violation of team rules. Twilley will return for the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Championship later next week, while Nuckles is also listed as probable and expected to return for the tournament ... The first half was filled with highlight reel plays, beginning with Tuggle electrifying the crowd with a 3-pointer and five early points. It continued with dunks from Swader, Thomas and junior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.), and it ended with Pigram posting a double-double before the intermission with 16 points and 10 rebounds ... For the game, ETSU finished with a 55 percent shooting clip (41-of-75), while hitting on 45 percent from beyond the arc (13-of-29). As a team, the Bucs dished out 29 assists, and hit on 17-of-20 shots from the foul line ... Mercer (13-16, 8-10) had four players in double figures, led by 27 points from James Florence, as well as 20 from Ross Alacqua, 14 from Shaddean Aaron and 12 from Brian Pfohl.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 27, 2008)- Senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) scored a game high 19 points, leading a group of Buccaneers that posted double figures as the ETSU men's basketball team grounded the North Florida Ospreys 92-68 Sunday afternoon in Atlantic Sun Conference action at Memorial Center ... A crowd of 3,562 witnessed the Bucs improve to 11-9 overall, 5-2 in A-Sun play, keeping pace just one game behind Jacksonville for first place in the regular season standings. Meanwhile, a nightmarish season continued for UNF, as the Ospreys dropped to 1-18, 0-7 ... While Swader led the way with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor - including a 3-of-5 showing from 3-point range - the Bucs also got 14 points and 11 rebounds from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who picked up his second double-double of the season. Along with Swader and Tiggs, senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) added 18 points, while senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) pitched in 12 points apiece ... In the first half, UNF had the game tied at 7-7, but from there the Bucs went on a 25-9 offensive run to build a 16-point lead at 32-16 with just over five minutes left before the intermission. The Ospreys got to within 13 with 2:47 left, but ultimately a 3-pointer from senior post Reed and four straight from Pigram made it 48-32 at the break ... The Bucs opened the second half where they had left off in the first half, going on a 15-7 run to increase their advantage to 24 points at 63-39. ETSU kept the pressure on with a bevy of 3-pointers to ultimately lead by as many as 30 with just over six minutes remaining in the contest ... In all, the Bucs out-rebounded the Ospreys 46-35, while forcing UNF into 18 turnovers on eight steals. In addition, ETSU hit on 80 percent of its foul shots (28-of-35) and shot 43 percent from the field ... North Florida got a team high 17 points from Stan Januska, while Tom Hammonds and Kyle Groothuis netted 14 and 13 points, respectively ... The Bucs will return to action at home Friday night against Mercer, with game time set for 7:30 p.m. The game will air on regional cable thanks to CSS, while fans unable to access the cable broadcast can - as always - watch the Bucs live via video streaming at ASun.TV.
Swader, Strong power resurgent offense
During their present three game winning streak, the Buccaneers have found their rythm on offense thanks in great part to the shooting of senior forwardKenyona Swader (Smyrna) and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) ... In going 3-0, the Bucs are averaging 87 points a game ... Individually, Swader is averaging 15.7 points and 6.3 rebounds a game, while Strong is averaging 15.3 points a game ... As for percentage shooting, Strong is a perfect 14-of-14 from the foul line and is hitting 48 percent from beyond 3-point range ... Meanwhile, Swader is connecting on 67 percent from the floor and a more remarkable 62 percent from 3-point range.
Bucs' RPI, Strength of Schedule rank among best in nation
Though the Bucs are off to a 11-9 start, it's understandable when considering ETSU played an exceptionally tough early season schedule ... As of Jan. 21 the Buccaneers' strength of schedule (SOS) ranked 74th in the country according to RealtimeRPI.com ... That SOS rank is obvious when looking at the RPI of ETSU's opponents in the early season schedule, which included -- at the time -- St. Mary's (4th), Dayton (7th) and Syracuse (11th) ... In fact, until just recently the Bucs SOS was as high at 18th in the country, before entering conference play ... As for RPI, the Bucs ranked a respectable 132nd out of 342 Division I teams.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 114-37 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 76 percent ... The Bucs had won five straight at Memorial Center during the 2006-07 season before a loss to Belmont (1/2) ... The Bucs then rattled off 10 straight at home to stand at 15-1 on the Memorial Center floor that season, but fell to Belmont in the final game of the year in the championship of the A-Sun Tournament ... This year, the Bucs are 7-1 at Memorial Center.
The Bucs at the Rainbow Classic
Spending a week in Hawaii during the winter months is always enjoyable, but ETSU's second trip ever to the Rainbow Classic was a bittersweet experience ... While the Bucs picked up their first win over a Southeastern Conference opponent since 1991-92 with a 76-58 victory over Georgia in the first round, the team finished the trip 1-2 after falling in back-to-back games to St. Mary's and Louisiana-Lafayette ... While the St. Mary's game was expected to be difficult -- considering the Gaels were ranked No. 2 in the RPI -- the 82-80 overtime loss to a 3-7 Lafayette team kept the Bucs from evening their season record to 6-6 coming home from the islands ... In two trips to the Rainbow, the Bucs are now 2-4 all time.
Non-conference home win streak at 16
Over the last three seasons, the Bucs have fared well against non-conference opponents within the confines of Memorial Center ... In fact, the Bucs have won 16 straight non-conference homes games since losing a 90-73 contest to Fresno State back on Nov. 27, 2004 ... ETSU has enjoyed wins over teams such as Marshall (2), Chattanooga, Central Michigan, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech, UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky, Radford and Appalachian State in that time frame ... Against conference opponents, the Bucs have won 10 straight regular season conference games.
Another championship banner
With a win against Stetson (2/22), the Bucs wrapped up an outright 2006-07 A-Sun regular season title and garnered the No. 1 seed in the week's league championship tournament ... For ETSU, it was the continuation of a recent string of success that dates back to the 2000-2001 season ... In all, the Bucs have captured championships in five of the last seven seasons, including back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips in 2002-03 and 2003-04, and a trip to the NIT in 2006-07 ... Here is the championship breakdown:
2000-2001-- Southern Conference North Division Championship
2001-2002 -- SoCon North Division championship
2002-2003 -- SoCon North Division championship; SoCon Tournament Championship
2003-2004 -- SoCon North Division championship, SoCon Regular Season Championship, SoCon Tournament Championship
2006-2007 -- Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championship
New starting five
During the Bucs recent trip to the Rainbow Classic, head coach Murry Bartow used a completely new starting five, with junior guardJocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.), junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) ... While that group went only 1-2 on the trip, they did pick up the win over SEC foe Georgia and lost a close overtime battle with Louisiana-Lafayette ... However, the Bucs reshuffled the lineup again versus Appalachian State, moving Pigram to the point position, and inserting seniors Travis Strong (Memphis) and Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) to go with Tiggs and Reed ... That starting five is now 3-1 on the year, but the starting lineup was shuffled once again Thursday night against Belmont, as junior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) was inserted into the lineup at point guard, moving Pigram to the two guard over Strong ... That lineup has gone 3-1 in the Bucs' most recent four games.
Davis, Pigram and assist/turnover ratio
One positive to come from the early season schedule as been the play of both junior guardsJocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) and Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ... From a distribution of the basketball and offensive production standpoint, both have shown an ability to pick up assists without turning the ball over ... Currently, Davis ranks fifth in the A-Sun with an assist/turnover ratio of 1.6, while Pigram is 10th at 1.1 ... As for assists per game, Pigram ranks 9th with 3.4 a game.
Pigram eclipses 1,000 points
Beginning just his third season at ETSU, junior guardCourtney Pigram (Memphis) has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark with a jump shot from the right corner at the 17:52 mark against Chattanooga (11/28) ... That basket gave Pigram 1,000 for his career and following the contest with the Mocs ... The junior now stands at 1,258 for his career and ranks for 13th on the all-time program scoring list ... The 6-1 shooting guard scored 325 points as a freshman and then netted a remarkable 614 as a sophomore ... His 614 points a year ago ranks 6th on the single season list.
1,120 wins and counting
With a win Jan. 25, 2007 against Belmont, the Bucs collected the program's 1,100th win all-time ... In over 80 years of basketball, the Bucs are 1,120-903.
Bucs on the Tube
Along with the new ASun.TV package which will video stream all ETSU men's and women's home games on the Internet, the Bucs will again have a significant presence on the television screen as well this year ... In fact, ETSU's trips to Oklahoma State (Dec. 8) and Syracuse (Dec. 15) both aired live locally, with the Oklahoma State game showing on WKPT (ABC) and the Syracuse contest aired on WJHL (CBS) ... The Bucs will also appear on regional cable through the Friday night CSS Atlantic Sun Game of the Week with the Jan. 25th trip to Jacksonville and the Feb. 1 home game against Mercer scheduled for air on CSS ... In addition, Charter Main Street will air its weekly ETSU replay on Charter 13 and Comcast 14 Tuesday nights at 8 p.m., with the weekly games beginning on Dec. 4th with the Tennessee-Wesleyan game ... For a complete schedule, visit ETSUBucs.com.
Chilton's No. 42 comes out of retirement
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 31, 2007)- For many years, Tom Chilton's No. 42 has held a special place in ETSU basketball's history. Next season, fans will see that special number on the floor once again ... Chilton, who ranks first all-time with 26.1 points per game and fifth on the all-time scoring list with 1,801, has agreed to allow junior transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) to wear his No. 42 jersey for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 season. Chilton, who now makes his home in Madison, Ind., said he was honored a current player would want to wear his number ... "I wish him the best and I'm honored he wants to wear No. 42," said Chilton, whose 42 is the only retired number in ETSU's program history. "I hope he always considers that the number doesn't make the player, but the player makes the number. A lot of hard work and effort went into that number during my time there, but ETSU gave a lot back to me and I wouldn't be where I am today without that university, so I'm happy to allow the number to be worn again." ... ETSU head coach Murry Bartow said he was appreciative Chilton would allow the number to come out of retirement, and he reiterated that the number will go back into retirement two years from now ... "Tom Chilton was one of the finest players to ever wear an ETSU uniform, and his willingness to allow Kevin to wear the number shows he is still proud to be a part of our program's tradition," Bartow said. "It's our expectation that Kevin understand the importance of the number and the responsibility that goes with wearing it." ... Tiggs, the 2007 National Junior College Division II Player of the Year, said he certainly understood the history behind the number ... "Mr. Chilton was and is a legend here, so wearing his number comes with a great deal of responsibility," Tiggs said. "I just want to play in a way that would make him proud."
Bucs dominate Preseason All A-Sun Picks
Last season, ETSU won its first Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball title, but Belmont denied the Buccaneers the conference's automatic bid in the final of the General Shale Brick Men's Basketball Championship ... Entering the 2007-08 season, both the coaches and the media predict that the Buccaneers will again be battling the Bruins for conference supremacy ... Both chose ETSU as the favorite to win the conference and defend its regular-season title with Belmont second ... The Bucs were the clear choice by the media to win the tournament ... The Buccaneers have gone 28-10 in A-Sun play in their two years in the league.