JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 17, 2009) -- Facing the most critical two-game stretch of the season thus far, the ETSU men's basketball team prepares to welcome in-state foe Lipscomb to Memorial Center for an Atlantic Sun Conference showdown Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Buccaneers (11-5, 5-1) are coming off their first conference loss of the season, a 64-61 defeat at the hands of Florida Gulf Coast on Monday evening. Meanwhile, the Bisons (6-9, 2-4) fell to crosstown rival Belmont in the Battle of the Boulevard, 79-74.
For more on Saturday's game, click on the game notebook link located above or read the game notes below.
The series against Lipscomb
The Bucs and Bisons have met 33 times in their histories, with ETSU holding a 25-8 advantage ... Currently, the Bucs have a six-game winning streak over the Bisons, including a 81-74 victory over Lipscomb back on March 6 in the quarterfinals of the A-Sun Tournament ... ETSU has swept three meetings ini each of the last two years, while Lipscomb swept the Bucs in 2005-06 — their first season in the A-Sun.
Last time against Lipscomb
NASHVILLE (March 6, 2008) - When the ETSU men's basketball team needed them most, seniors Travis Strong (Memphis), Kenyona Swader (Smyrna), and Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) made the plays needed to capture a quarterfinal win in the 2008 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament ... Strong broke a 71-71 tie thanks to a midrange jumper with 1:46 left in the game, Reed blocked two Lipscomb shot attempts in the last minute, and Swader hit three critical free throws to pick up an 81-74 win over host Lipscomb Thursday night inside Allen Arena. For the game, Strong finished with a team high 16 points, Swader finished with 14 rebounds and 11 points to post his third career double-double, and both junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) finished with 10 points apiece ... In the first half, ETSU opened with a 9-0 run and led 11-2, but the quick start was quickly answered by the Bisons, who went on an 11-2 run of their own to tie the score 13-13 with 12:47 left. From there, though, the Bucs - powered by a season high eight points from Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) and 13 from Strong - responded by going on to build their largest lead of the half at 46-31 with 1:21 left before the intermission ... A pair of three-pointers from Lipscomb's Michael Lusk stopped the bleeding for the Bisons, but the Bucs shot 55 percent from the floor for the half and ultimately led 46-37 at the break ... The back-and-forth battle continued in the second half, as Lusk once again carried the Bisons, scoring five points to help Lipscomb to a 9-2 run and making the score 48-46 with 16:29 left in the game. Just as that momentum seemed to be building, ETSU burst out with a 14-4 run highlighted by a behind-the-back pass from Pigram to Micah Williams (Manchester) for a monstrous slam dunk, leaving the Bucs up 62-50 with 10:48 left ... Not to be outdone, the Bisons quickly answered over the next four minutes with a 9-0 run to make it 62-59 before a pair of free throws from Swader made it 64-59 and stopped the scoreless streak. But Lipscomb methodically battled back, and finally tied the game 71-71 with a lay up and free throw by Jimmy Oden ... At that point, Strong made his baseline jumper, Reed blocked a Lipscomb shot, Swader made a foul shot, the Bucs got another stop and foul, and ultimately made enough free throws at the end to ice the game. The Bucs finished at 48 percent from the field for the game and out-rebounded Lipscomb 42-35. From the foul line, the Bucs hit 76 percent of their attempts (19-of-25).
Last time out
FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2009) -- Suffering through several scoring droughts and ultimately posting a poor offensive effort, the ETSU men's basketball team was stunned Monday evening inside Alico Arena, falling to Florida Gulf Coast 64-61 in Atlantic Sun Conference play ... With the loss, the Buccaneers drop to 11-5 overall, 5-1 in A-Sun play, while the Eagles improve to 8-10, 4-3 ... Early on the Bucs opened up a 16-8 margin, after Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) drilled a three with 11:59 left in the first half. FGCU's Delvin Franklin knocked down a free throw with 7:08 left to cut the margin to four points at 23-19, but FGCU was unable to get any closer in the first half. ETSU ended the first half on a 6-0 run to carry a 30-22 lead into the break ... FGCU came out in the second half and jumped on the Bucs right away, pulling even at 36-36 just 3:28 into the half. But ETSU would respond with a 9-1 run to regain their eight-point edge with 13:37 left. The Bucs would hold on to a healthy lead for awhile, and after an Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) dunk, ETSU held a 51-42 lead with 10:57 to play. The Eagles quickly cut into the nine-point lead, as Reggie Chambers knocked down a jumper and a three-pointer and Ed Rolax hit a pair of free throws to pull within 2 at 51-49 ... Once again the Bucs responded, running off six straight points to reassert an eight-point lead with 6:55 remaining in the game. A few minutes later, Franklin connected on a three-point shot to bring the Eagles back to within 3 points at 59-56. Kevin Tigg,s (Flint, Mich.) of ETSU knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:28 left, giving the Bucs a 61-57 lead. After Kyle Marks' shot was blocked by Isiah Brown, Derrick O'Neil drew a foul and hit both free throws, advancing the score to 61-59 with 1:11 to go. On the Bucs next possession Chambers picked Courtney Pigram's (Memphis) pocket and ran the floor to perfection, hitting a layup and drawing a foul from Smith. With the scored tied at 61 and just 37 seconds remaining, Chambers connected on the free throw to give FGCU a one-point lead ... After ETSU called a timeout, the Bucs held the ball until about seven seconds left. Pigram handed off to Brown for the last shot, but Brown's 18-foot jumper was too strong, and the Eagles' Franklin pulled down the rebound off the back iron. Franklin hit both free throws at the other end, and Pigram's last second prayer was not answered, and FGCU held on for a 64-61 victory ... For the Buccaneers (11-5, 5-1), Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and Tiggs each had a team-high 13 points, and Tiggs also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds with a game-high five steals. Pigram scored 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting and also dished out a game-high eight assists. Smith added 10 points and 7 boards as well ... For the Eagles (8-10, 4-3), Franklin led all scorers with 18 points in addition to grabbing seven rebounds. Reed Baker scored 12 points in addition to swiping seve steals, the most this year by an Eagle and tied for the second most in school history.
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 ... Currently, Tiggs leads the Atlantic Sun Conference and ranks 20th nationally with a 20.3 points per game average, while Pigram ranks second in the A-Sun and 29th nationally with 19.1 points a game ... In addition, Pigram has moved to 6th on the ETSU all-time scoring list with 1,751 points in his career, and he ranks 10th on the A-Sun all-time scoring list ... Additionally, Pigram is one of just four active players nationally with more than 1,500 points, 350 assists and 200 steals in their careers ... That list includes:
Player, School......................................................Asts Stls Pts
David Holston, Chicago State 419 204 1959
Courtney Pigram, ETSU 353 204 1751
Dominic James, Marquette 576 208 1631
Jerel McNeal, Marquette 375 245 1606
Hamlin matches record
With his six blocks against North Florida, senior Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) put his name along some of ETSU's greatest players ... Hamlin matched the school record for blocks in a game, joining former Bucs Brad Nuckles, Greg Dennis, Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood and Eryk Thomas on top of that list.
Pigram remarkable in 39-point effort against JU
He had "that" look, and ETSU fans were treated to one of the most impressive individual performances in Buccaneer basketball history ... Senior guard Courtney Pigram's 39-point effort in ETSU's 84-82 victory over Jacksonville in Jan. 3 tied for 9th on the program's all-time single game scoring list, while coming up just three points shy of the Memorial Center's all-time single game scoring mark of 42 points, which was set by Dimeco Childress against Western Carolina back in 2002.
11-5 start ranks as one of best ever for Bucs
The Bucs 11-5 mark matches is the best start for ETSU since the 2003-04 season, when that team opened the year at 12-4 through 16 games ... The Bucs' three non-conference road wins this season (Tn. Tech, Marshall and Appalachian), also fall just one win shy of the 2003-04 season in which the Bucs won four non-conference road games (Houston, UNC-A, Tn. Tech and Fresno State) ... That 2003-04 squad ultimately finished with 27 wins, a SoCon regular season and tournament title, and a trip to the NCAAs.
ETSU picked among nation's best
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.
Pigram makes history with triple-double
With his 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Wingate (11/20), senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) became just the second ETSU player to record a triple-double and the first to reach that special feat in NCAA Division I play this season ... He joins former Buc Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) on that exclusive list at ETSU ... In Atlantic Sun Conference play, Pigram is just the sixth player to accomplish that feat since 1996-97, and he is the first to post a triple-double against a non-conference opponent ... A full list of those players can be found below:
A-Sun Triple Doubles
Player School Date Opp Pt-Rb-Ast
Courtney Pigram ETSU 11/20/08 Wingate 21-10-10
Tim Smith ETSU 1/25/06 KSU 21-10-10
Damitrius Coleman Mercer 2/27/05 JU 13-14-14
Damitrius Coleman Mercer 1/03/05 FAU 14-12-11
Kingsley Edwards UCF 1/16/05 Troy 10-10-14
Dexter Lyons UCF 1/11/03 Troy 14-13-10
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 122-39 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 championship of the A-Sun Tourney... In 2007-08, the Bucs were 11-2 at Memorial Center ... This season the Bucs are 5-1 at home.