STILLWATER, Okla. (Dec. 7, 2007) - The East Tennessee State men's basketball team faces its biggest road test of the season as they venture out on a five-game swing, beginning Saturday night against Big 12 foe Oklahoma State from Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tip is slated for 8 p.m. ET.
The ETSU faithful not making the trip to
ETSU looks to extend its winning streak to three games, which would mark the Buccaneers' longest streak this season. The Bucs are coming off a 79-73 victory over Conference
Below are more notes regarding Saturday's match-up.
A seven-time NCAA Tournament participant and two-time NIT participant, the ETSU Buccaneers ended the 2007-08 season coming off a regular season Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 24-10 overall record, a 16-2 league mark a year ago ... The Bucs return the 2006-07 A-Sun Player of the Year in junior guard Courtney 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.), sophomore point guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville), 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 finished last season 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 ranked as a team and individually in the NCAA charts last season on page 4.
The series against OSU
This will be the first meeting between the Bucs and
ETSU vs. the Big 12 Conference
The Buccaneers are 0-8 all-time against the Big 12 Conference, but ETSU did manage some history against one Big 12 opponent in 1989 ... As the No. 16 seed in the 1989 NCAA Tournament, the Bucs took on No. 1 seed Oklahoma in Nashville ... The Bucs led most of the game and ultimately produced the closest game any No. 16 has ever had in the tournament, falling to the Sooners 72-71 ... Current ETSU graduate manager Keith Mister Jennings was the starting point guard in that game ... Below is a rundown of ETSU's record against other Big 12 teams: Kansas (0-3), Texas Tech (0-3), Iowa State (0-1) and Oklahoma (0-1).
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 4, 2007) - After giving up a large second half lead and then losing by one point in overtime earlier this season at Marshall, the ETSU men's basketball team was faced with what could have been a similar situation in Memorial Center. This time the Bucs didn't fold ... Watching a 13-point lead dwindle to five with just under a minute left, the Buccaneers made the defensive stops they needed in the final seconds and converted at the foul line to finish with a 79-73 win over Conference USA's Thundering Herd in front of 4,080 blue clad fans. With the win, ETSU improved to 4-3 on the young season, with
With his play in recent games, it is obvious that senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) may be trying to work his way into the starting lineup ... A starter in the past, Strong missed last season with a serious knee injury and had filled the role as first off the bench to backup the perimeter this season ... But against Tennessee Wesleyan, Strong was given a starting spot for the first time this season and responded with a game high 21 points, matching his career high with five 3-pointers ... In the three games prior to Marshall (12/4), Strong has eclipsed 20 points twice and has scored 59 points (19.7 ppg) ... Currently, Strong stands at 759 points for his career or 8.4 ppg.
Pigram eclipses 1,000 points
Beginning just his third season at ETSU, junior guard Courtney 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 1,045 for his career ... 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.
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
Swader, Tiggs breaking out
Entering this season, a great deal was expected of both junior transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) ... Following seven games, the two are definitely meeting or surpassing those expections ... In the Bucs win at UNCA, Tiggs scored the game winner with 1.7 seconds left and also picked up 20 points ... In the first Marshall game, Tiggs broke out with a game-high 26 points, and setting career marks in most every statistical category ... In all, Tiggs has scored at least 20 points in four of the Bucs seven games, and currently stands tall on the Atlantic Sun stat sheets, ranking third in scoring, third in field goal percentage, and third in free throw percentage ... Meanwhile, Swader has provided an immediate offensive threat in his first six games, currently standing fifth on the team with 8.4 points per game ... Currently, Swader is first in the A-Sun with a 54 percent 3-point field goal percentage, and is second in overall field goal percentage at 60 percent.
With 125 fouls in their first five games -- an average of 25 a contest -- the Buccaneers are certainly hearing the whistle too much ... By comparison, ETSU opponents have committed just 85 fouls against the Bucs ... In particular, during the Bucs three losses of the season -- all on the road -- they have been whistled 26 times (Dayton), 27 times (Marshall) and 30 times (Chattanooga) ... In all three games, the Bucs had multiple players leave the game with five fouls, including three players against UTC ... Against the Mocs, those 30 fouls led to a lop-sided foul shot differential, as the Mocs were 31-of-44 from the line compared to just 17-of-23 for ETSU.
Chilton's No. 42 comes out of retirement
Non-conference home win streak at 15
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 15 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 and Radford in that time frame.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 110-36 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 75 percent ... The Bucs ETSU 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 this season, but fell to Belmont in the final game of the year in the championship of the A-Sun Tournament.
Bucs leading the A-Sun in field goal percentage Currently, the Bucs sport four of the best shooters in the Atlantic Sun Conference, as Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), Kenyona Swader (Smyrna), Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and Travis Strong (Memphis) rank 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively ... For a complete breakdown of the Bucs standing in the Atlantic Sun Conference stat sheets, see the column to the left.
A great season in 2006-07
With 16 wins in its last 19 games a year ago, ETSU enjoyed a 2006-07 record of 24-10 overall, 16-2 in A-Sun play ... It was the best overall and conference record for the Bucs since the 2003-04 season ... That season, the Bucs were 27-6 and 15-1 in Southern Conference play, losing by three points to Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
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, plans are for ETSU's trips to Oklahoma State (Dec. 8) and Syracuse (Dec. 15) to air live locally, with the Oklahoma State game showing on WKPT and the Syracuse contest airing on WJHL ... The Bucs will also appear on regional cable through the Friday's 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.
For more information on the game, see the notes section below or click on the game notes link located above. Please visit www.ETSUBucs.com for all other information on men's basketball and ETSU athletic news.