JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 26, 2009) - In need of a confidence boost and looking to get his ETSU men's basketball team back on the winning track, senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) responded to the fans' pregame chants of "Let's go, CP!" by scoring a game-high 16 points and dishing out seven assists in the Buccaneers 81-46 win over Kennesaw State Thursday night inside Memorial Center.
The crowd of 3,149 was treated to one of the Bucs' best performances of the season, as they shot 49 percent from the floor and held the Owls to just 26 percent shooting. ETSU improved to 19-10 overall, 13-6 in A-Sun play, while Kennesaw State fell to 7-21, 3-16.
"First, I want to thank the fans for staying with me and standing behind us as a team," said Pigram, who has now scored 1,934 points in his career. "I got a lot of e-mails this week from the fans and having the signs all over the Dome really meant a lot to me. Hitting that first shot relieved a lot of stress. Now I'm just ready to play like I can and keep it rolling."
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow was glad to see his two-time All A-Sun first teamer get back to playing well.
"I thought the crowd really got behind him and he broke out - which was good to see," Bartow said. "I think we did a lot of good things tonight and we had a good practice yesterday, so I think there's a lot of spirit left in this team. We've had a lot of close losses the last couple of games on the road, but I think this showed there's still a lot of fight in this team."
After several tough games shooting the basketball, Pigram looked more relaxed on a night when the ETSU fans began chanting his name even before the tip. The senior led all scorers with 10 point in the first half, going 4-of-10 from the field in the first 20 minutes and helping stake the Bucs to a 34-25 halftime lead.
The Bucs defensive effort was also stellar in the first half as ETSU's fullcourt press attack was initiated from the outset and held the Owls to just 29 percent shooting the first half. Meanwhile, the Bucs hit on 47 percent from the field and outrebounded Kennesaw State 20-14.
In the second half, the Bucs only turned up the heat and outscored the Owls 47-21 to leave no doubt about the game's ultimate outcome. For the game, the Bucs outrebounded KSU 47-31 and forced 21 turnovers on 12 steals.
Along with Pigram's 16, ETSU got 13 points from freshman guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), while freshman Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) pitched in 11 apiece.
For Kennesaw State, only one player reached double figures with Kurtis Woods scored 12 to lead the Owls.
ETSU will return to action Saturday, as the team plays its final regular season home game of the year against Mercer. Tip is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the team will be celebrating Senior Day for Pigram, Tiggs and senior forward Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.).