JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 14, 2009) -- The ETSU men's basketball team will open the 2009-10 regular season with a bang Saturday afternoon, as the Buccaneers welcome arch rival Appalachian State to Memorial Center as part of ETSU's Homecoming weekend.
The Bucs and Mountaineers will tipoff at 4 p.m., and the game will be the culmination of a day full of activities and festivities. Memorial Center will be turned into Homecoming central on Saturday morning and events for both adults and children are scheduled throughout the day -- even during the game.
In addition to Homecoming, over 50 family and friends from Washington, Ind., will be in attendance to honor the memory of former ETSU player Seth Coy. After spending his freshman year at ETSU last season, Coy was tragically killed in a car accident during the summer. The Bucs will honor his memory and family with a special ceremony prior to tipoff.
Other events such as a men's basketball reunion will see over 50 former Buc players in attendance, while the King and Queen of Homecoming will be announced at halftime.
As for the game, the rivalry between the Bucs and Mountaineers is enough, but former ETSU assistant and Tennessee head coach Buzz Peterson will be leading the Mountaineers into Johnson City. Peterson is on his second tour with the Mountaineers, having coached them from 1996 to 2000.
For more on the game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes below:
The series against Appalachian State
When the Bucs and Mountaineers renew their long rivalry again Saturday, they will continue a series that dates back to 1928 ... In all, the Bucs enjoy a 75-46 advantage in the series, including a win in the last meeting 89-70 back on Dec. 13, 2008, inside the Holmes Center on the ASU campus ... The two teams were SoCon rivals for over 25 years from 1979 to 2005, until the Bucs moved to the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2005.
Last time out against the Mountaineers
BOONE, N.C. (Dec. 13, 2008) - ETSU's three-headed monster of Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) left Appalachian State searching for a place to hide inside the Holmes Center ... Renewing a longtime rivalry that dates back to the 1920s, the Buccaneers continued their masterful play on the road, overcoming a two-point halftime deficit to simply dismantle the Mountaineers with a 54-point second half, winning 89-70 in non-conference action. The Bucs were led by Tiggs, who matched his career high with a game-high 31 points, while Pigram posted 29 and Smith pitched in 18. No player on the ASU side of the floor matched any of the Big Three in scoring on the night ... A big key for the Bucs in the game came at the foul line, where they went 23-of-26 for an 89 percent clip. Meanwhile, defensively ETSU forced 21 Appalachian State turnovers on 13 steals, and the Bucs held their own on the glass against a powerful inside game for the Mountaineers, being out-rebounded just 41-35 on the glass ... For the third game in a row, the Buccaneers got off to a strong start offensively, with Tiggs picking up three early dunks and a pair of 3-pointers from Pigram powering the Bucs to a 19-12 lead with 11:46 left in the first half. However, the Mountaineers answered by outscoring the Bucs 23-10 over the next nine minutes to build a 35-29 lead at the 2:39 mark, but ETSU managed to cut into the advantage thanks to four straight free throws from Smith and Tiggs in the final seconds, making the score 37-35 in favor of ASU at the break ... The second half began with a flurry for the Bucs, who shot out with a quick 7-0 run to lead by five at 42-37. ASU responded to tie the game at 42, but another 8-0 ETSU run powered by a Tiggs' bucket and foul shot, along with a 3-pointer from Pigram made it 50-42 and forced an ASU timeout with 16:09 left in the game. With the game standing at 58-52 with 10:47 left, the Bucs blitzed out with a 12-0 run that was eventually highlighted by a technical foul on ASU head coach Houston Fancher, which left the Bucs up 70-52 with 8:18 remaining ... ETSU kept the pressure on over the next four minutes, building the lead to 21 at 80-59 on a layup by Pigram with 4:24 left, and ultimately cruising to the win.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 9, 2009) - Overcoming a sluggish first half, the ETSU men's basketball team outscored Carson-Newman 48-32 after the intermission and held the Eagles to just 29 percent shooting on the night, picking up an 81-56 victory in its second and final exhibition game of the preseason Monday night inside Memorial Center ... The Buccaneers enjoyed a strong debut from junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.), who played his first game in the blue and gold and responded with a 17-point, eight-rebound effort. In addition, freshman guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) posted 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, while junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high four steals ... In the first half, the Eagles were able to hang in with the Bucs and trailed just 33-24 at the break. However, ETSU opened the second half with a 14-3 run to make it 47-27, and ultimately built its lead to as many as 30 points at 69-39 with just under nine minutes left in the game ... The Bucs were a disappointing 8-of-20 from the charity stripe (40 percent) for the game and were ultimately out-rebounded 45-44 by the Eagles. As for the good numbers, ETSU shot 50 percent from the floor, 39 percent from beyond the arc, and forced 24 turnovers on 13 steals.
Buzz is Back inside Memorial Center
Appalachian State head coach Buzz Peterson is no stranger to basketball fans in Johnson City ... Having served as an assistant coach at ETSU during the 1989-90 season, Peterson made the move to N.C. State along with former ETSU head coach Les Robinson in 1990 ... Peterson later became head coach at Tennessee from 2001 to 2005 ... His career record stands at 201-134, and he holds a 79-39 mark as head coach at Appalachian State, where he held that roll from 1996-2000.
Big questions surround Bucs entering 2009-10
With the loss of seniors Courtney Pigram and Kevin Tiggs -- one of the most dynamic offensive duos in the country -- the Bucs have a lot of questions to answer on the offenisve end of the floor this season ... Having averaged 78.1 points a game a year ago, which ranked 21st nationally in all of Division I play -- ETSU has lost 44.0 of those points to graduation when one includes now departed senior Greg Hamlin in that trio ... In addition to the losses on offensive, the Bucs' 13-man roster includes just eight players who have experienced actual floor time in college ... The other five players are either true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or walk-ons.
Turnovers key for Bucs during recent success
Since winning five of their last six games a year ago and their two exhibition games this season, the Buccaneers are showing why their focus on defense is so important ... Most coaches believe that team's should score at least one point to every single turnover they force ... For the Bucs, this number has been much higher ... In their last six games a year ago, the Bucs forced 103 turnovers and scored 132 points off those opponent mistakes ... This is an average of 22 points off 17 turnovers a game -- well over the ratio most coaches desire ... If one adds in this year's two exhibition games, those numbers go to 25 points off 19 turnovers.
Preseason polls pick Bucs middle of the pack
The ETSU men's basketball team was picked fourth by the Atlantic Sun Conference coaches and fifth by the league's media in preseason polls release Wednesday by the conference office ... The conference's two most recent tournament champions, ETSU (2009) and Belmont (2006-08) place fourth and fifth, depending on the poll. The Buccaneers edged out the Bruins for the spot from the coaches while the media gave the nod the Bruins. Both teams suffered tremendous losses due to graduation. ETSU must replace Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), one of the highest scoring duos in the nation a season ago. Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), a Preseason All-Atlantic Sun selection looks to build a bounce-back season in 2008-09 when he averaged more than 15 points and seven rebounds per game.
Sollazzo to honor Coy with number change
When ETSU's rising sophomore forward Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) was tragically killed in a car accident this summer, it left the entire Buccaneer community with a deep sense of loss ... As is often the case, those that are left to mourn have looked for ways to remember the Bucs' 6-foot-11 "Gentle Giant." ... For sophomore guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), who was Coy's roommate, the answer was simple ... Changing his jersey number from No. 20 to Coy's No. 43, Sollazzo will play the 2009-10 season to honor his friend and have that memory with him each night.
Bucs offering families "value" for attending games
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 28, 2009) - With the considerable expense of entertainment options today and the difficult economic times faced by many local families, the ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in cooperation with Fun Expedition™ Family Center of Johnson City are teaming up to make it more affordable than ever for families to attend Buccaneer basketball games during this 2009-10 season ... The Fun Expedition™ Family Pack and the Fun Expedition™ Family Zone will provide ETSU fans with a pair of options to make attending ETSU basketball games easier on the pocketbook. In fact, the program will offer tickets for free to children 10 and under (with the purchase of an adult ticket), while also offering discounts of more than 50 percent on packaged ticket deals ... Below are specific details of how each of these two programs will work:
-- Fun Expedition™ Family Packs: These special family packs will contain 4 bronze level tickets (located in sections C and E), a concessions coupon for FREE popcorn, and a coupon from FUN EXPEDITION™. The total cost of one pack is $20, which is a savings of well over 50 percent on the regular cost of admission (reserved single seats are $10 each).
-- Fun Expedition™ Family Zone: In addition to the family pack option, the Fun Expedition Family Zone will provide kids 10 and under a FREE Blue Level ticket (located in sections B and F) with the purchase of an adult Blue Level ticket. The free kids' tickets will be available to the first 900 fans, and these special family tickets can be purchased at the booth located between Memorial Center and Brooks Gym. Parents with more than two children will be able to get as many as four FREE tickets with the purchase of two regular-priced tickets.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 130-40 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 77 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 ... In 2008-09, the Bucs were again 11-2 at home.