JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 23, 2009) -- Coming home to hopefully regain the momentum it once enjoyed earlier this season, the ETSU men's basketball game begins its final two regular season games of the year Thursday night against Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.
The Bucs are still battling for the possibility of either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in next week's A-Sun Tournament in Nashville, with each of those seeds offering major advantages in the event. ETSU is currently one game back of Belmont for second place and two games back of Jacksonville with two games to play.
Fans are asked to make it out and support the Bucs in their final homestand of the season, and help the team get back on track heading into next week's event at Lipscomb, set for March 4-7 at Allen Arena.
For more on Thursday's game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes below:
The series against Kennesaw State
The Owls and Bucs have met six times since joining the Atlantic Sun Conference together in 2005-06 ... ETSU holds a 5-1 advantage in the series, including a 76-62 win back on Dec. 23, 2008.
Last time against Kennesaw State
KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 23, 2008) - In a coming out party for the redshirt freshman forward, ETSU's Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) posted a career high 18 points and grabbed a team high six rebounds to lift the ETSU men's basketball team to a Christmas victory over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State 76-62 Tuesday inside the KSU Convocation Center ... Along with Brown's personal best offensively - which included six dunks on the night - the Buccaneers got double-digit scoring from three other players, including a game-high 19 points from both junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), and 15 from senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ... Early on in the game, ETSU shot well over 50 percent and spent much of the first half building a nine-point lead at 23-14 with just over four minutes left in the half. The Owls then pulled to within three thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by freshman guard Spencer Dixon, but a bucket by senior forward Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) later led to a technical foul on Kennesaw State head coach Tony Ingle and the Bucs blitzed back out to a 28-20 advantage ... KSU battled back to cut the lead to four points on a couple of occasions late in the half, but a three-point play and a 3-point basket by Smith with six seconds left in the half made it 34-26 at the break. The Bucs shot a strong 57 percent from the floor in the first half with Smith leading all scorers by posting 12 points ... In the second half, the Owls hit a pair of 3-pointers to start the final 20 minutes and ultimately hit three straight 3s in the opening minutes to make it 39-35 with 15:54 left in the game. KSU got to within two at 39-37, but from there the Bucs used an 18-8 run to pull ahead by 12 at 57-45 with 7:59 left in regulation ... From there, Brown dunked on three straight possessions and scored eight consecutive points, pushing the advantage to 63-45. The Owls managed an 8-0 run in the final minutes to make it 69-60 with 1:12 left, but the Bucs held on from the foul line and never looked back ... For the game, the Bucs shot 53 percent from the field and forced 19 KSU turnovers on 10 steals. However, the Owls did enjoy a definitive advantage on the glass, out-rebounding ETSU 37-25 and grabbing 20 offensive rebounds to just nine for the Bucs.
Last time out
BUIES CREEK, N.C. (Feb. 23, 2009) - With the door open and another shot to get back into the Atlantic Sun Conference race, the ETSU men's basketball team once again let the opportunity slip away ... Leading 56-46 with 8:15 left in the game, the Buccaneers imploded on both ends of the floor and looked on as Campbell outscored them 22-6 the rest of the way and picked up a 68-62 win over ETSU Tuesday night inside the new Gore Arena. The win snapped the Bucs 10-game winning streak all-time against the Camels, as the all-time series now stands to 10-1 in favor of ETSU ... The Bucs dropped to 18-10 on the year, 12-6 in A-Sun play, while Campbell improves to 13-15, 10-9 in league action. ETSU remains one game back of Belmont for second place in the league and are two games back of Jacksonville with two games left to play in the regular season ... For the second game in the row, the Bucs started the contest without senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) in the lineup, and freshman point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) took that opportunity to distribute the ball to several Buccaneers. Sollazzo had 10 first half assists and scored six points, while Smith collected 12 points and five rebounds to stake ETSU to a 38-30 halftime advantage ... The lead could have been greater as ETSU had built a 38-24 edge with just over one minute left in the first half, but the Camels responded with a 6-0 spurt to close the half. The Bucs shot 46 percent from the floor, 40 percent from beyond the arc and a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line in the first half ... In the second half, the Bucs again held sizeable leads but looked on as the Camels went on a 24-6 run to close out the game over the final seven minutes ... ETSU junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) finished with a career high 25 points and posted a double-double with 12 rebounds, while Sollazzo posted a career high 12 assists. Senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) was the only other ETSU player in double figures scoring with 12 points ... For Campbell, Jonathan Rodriguez finished with a double-double on 11 points and 14 rebounds, while Lorne Merthie had a team high 20 points.
Pigram benched for first time this season
After 27 straight starts this season, senior guard Courtney Pigram was was taken out of the starting lineup in the Bucs' last game against Campbell ... Pigram, who has scored 1,918 points in his career and helped win countless games for the Bucs, has struggled mightily in his last several games ... In the Bucs' last eight games, Pigram is averaging just 11.1 points and 2.8 assists per game, while shooting just 31 percent from the floor and 27 percent from 3 point-range ... By contrast, in the Bucs first 20 games, Pigram averaged 19.2 points and 4.4 assists, while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 32 percent from 3-point range ... It's no wonder that during the Bucs' first 20, ETSU was 15-5, while going 3-5 over the last eight contests.
February troubles continue four-year trend for Bucs
Over the last four season since joining the Atlantic Sun Conference, the ETSU men's basketball team has either been tied or held sole possession of first place at some point in the month of February ... However, that's when the story turns bleak ... With the exception of the 2007-08 season, when the Bucs went 6-1 in February and ultimately won the league regular season title, the Bucs are are combined 12-11 in league play during the month of February and have relinquished first-place in three of those four seasons ... In fact, a year ago the Bucs dropped from first place on Feb. 8 to a fourth seed by the end of the season. Below is a complete breakdown:
Season February Record
2008-09 3-4 (currently)
Pigram, Tiggs impressive on offensive end in 2008-09
Seniors Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) have enjoyed impressive offensive performances this season, and the two rank among the nation's best when it comes to offensive production ... As of Feb. 16, Tiggs leads the Atlantic Sun Conference and ranks 17th nationally with a 21.2 points per game average (as of Feb. 15), while Pigram ranks third in the A-Sun with 18.0 points a game (as of Feb. 2) ... Pigram is one of just four active players nationally with more than 1,500 points, 350 assists and 200 steals in their careers.
Player, School......................................................Asts Stls Pts
Courtney Pigram, ETSU 388 223 1916
Both Smith, Tiggs eclipse 1,000 points; Bucs have
three 1,000-point scoreres on the same team?
With a put back at the 2:08 mark of the first half at Lipscomb on Feb. 16, ETSU senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career ... Meanwhile, Tiggs' teammate -- junior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) -- reached that same pinnacle with a free throw at the 2:06 mark of the second half against USC Upstate on Feb. 19 ... Tiggs now stands at 1,062 points for his career, and Smith is at 1,028 ... While it is not rare to have multiple players on the same team that "eventually" become 1,000-point scorers, having multiple players on the same team that have already eclipsed 1,000-points is rare ... And now, the Bucs have Smith, Tiggs and senior guard Courntey Pigram (Memphis) that have reached that milestone ... The only two times in ETSU history that the Bucs have had three or more 1,000 point scorers on the floor at the same time was in 1990-91 and 2003-04 ... In 1990-91, four 1,000-point scorers were on the floor together at the same time, Keith "Mister" Jennings, Calvin Talford, Major Geer and Alvin West were on the floor together ... The other season this occurred was in 2003-04, when Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood and Tim Smith all reached 1,000 points.
ETSU the "only" A-Sun team picked among nation's best "Prestige" programs
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (July 22, 2008) - Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball - marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 - the ETSU men's basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to a new "Prestige" ranking released by ESPN.com ... The Buccaneers, who have enjoyed six NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, seven 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85, ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. The Bucs also were placed ahead of every current member of the Colonial Athletic Association with the exception of Old Dominion ... In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.
"Big Three" making their mark in A-Sun this year
Watching the ETSU men's basketball team this season has shown that there is power in the number three ... With seniors Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and Courtney Pigram (Memphis), along with junior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), the Bucs put three of the best players in league play on the floor at the same time. Currently, Tiggs and Pigram and No. 1 and No. 5 in the league in scoring, while Smith ranks No. 9 on that list ... Meanwhile, at least one of the three rank in the Top 10 of at least seven other major statistical categories, such as field goal percentage, rebounding, 3-point field goal percentage, steals, assists, assist/turnover ratio, defensive rebounds and minutes played.
Pigram moves to No. 4 on the all-time scoring list
With his 27-point effort against Florida Gulf Coast (Feb. 7), ETSU senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) moved to No. 4 on the all-time scoring list ... Pigram now stands at 1,914 points passed former ETSU great Calvin Talford (1988-1992), who collected 1,872 points in his career ... Here are the Top 5 scorers in ETSU history:
1. Tim Smith (2002-2006) 2,300 points
2. Greg Dennis (1987-1992) 2,204 points
3. Keith "Mister" Jennings (1987-1991) 1,988 points
4. Courtney Pigram (2005-2009) 1,918 points *
5. Calvin Talford (1988-92) 1,872 points
* at present time