NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 19, 2008) - Just when a third straight Atlantic Sun Conference loss seemed imminent and its regular season championship hopes fading, the ETSU men's basketball team found a way to get it done.
Trailing 73-62 on the road with 6:54 left on the clock inside Lipscomb's Allen Arena, the Buccaneers rallied to outscore the Bisons 24-8 the rest of the way and take an 86-81 league win Saturday in front of 2,330 fans. The frantic comeback was led by a bevy of Bucs, with senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) scoring a game-high 18 points each, while junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) tossed in 13 points, senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) added 11 and freshman guard Micah Williams (Manchester) pitched in 10.
"We pressed and it was effective in getting the game going up and down," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team improved to 9-9 overall, 3-2 in A-Sun play. "We just made some shots late. With the 3-point shot, a game can turn in an instant. It can go quick and that's what happened for us today. I thought we had a lot of guys really step up and make it happen. This is the kind of game that can really help us build some momentum."
After trailing much of the game and having trouble with Lipscomb's half court offensive sets, the Bucs certainly used their fullcourt defensive pressure to change the pace of the game. With the score 77-69, ETSU's efforts produced a 12-0 run sparked by seven points from Pigram, a 3-pointer by Swader and two free throws from Tiggs, building a four-point lead at 81-77 with 3:02 remaining in the game.
As the clock wound down, Lipscomb got a free throw from forward Eddie Ard and a layup by post Brandon Brown to make it 81-80, but Tiggs answered. After missing a jumper from the top of the key, Swader tapped the ball out to Tiggs, who immediately went to the hoop and scored from the block to make it 83-80 with 32 seconds left in the game. From there, Lipscomb's Adnan Hodzic hit a foul shot with 16 seconds left, but Swader and sophomore Mike Smith (
In the first half, Lipscomb took an early nine-point lead at 17-8 when Josh Slater's 3-pointer from the wing found the bottom of the net. But thanks to a trio of treys from the Bucs - one by Williams and two from Strong - ETSU manufactured a 9-2 run to make it 19-17 with 9:55 left before the intermission. From there, the Bucs tied the game at 40 thanks to a lay up from Tiggs, but Lipscomb outscored ETSU 4-1 to finish the half up 44-41.
For the game, ETSU hit on 55 percent of its shots from beyond the arc (12-of-22), while shooting 49 percent from the field for the game. Lipscomb out-rebounded ETSU 37-34, but the Bucs forced 15 turnovers on eight steals, which became crucial statistic in the final minutes.
Lipscomb got a team high 17 points from guard Josh Slater, while Ard added 14, Hodzic netted 13 and Brown pitched in 11. The Bisons drop to 8-11 overall, 2-3 in league play.
The Bucs continue with the third of their three straight A-Sun road games next Friday at