Pigram powers Bucs to share of A-Sun title
Saturday, February 17, 2007

KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb. 17, 2007) - Sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) scored 19 second half points and the ETSU men's basketball team overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to drop Kennesaw State 75-71 and capture at least a share of the Atlantic Sun Conference championship Saturday night inside the KSU Convocation Center.


Pigram finished with a game-high 23 points, while junior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) posted 19 points and senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) picked up his 16th career double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. With the win, ETSU improves to 20-8 overall, 14-2 in A-Sun action, and holds a two-game lead over second place Belmont with two games left in the regular season. Meanwhile, KSU drops to 11-18, 7-9 with the loss.


"It's great to get a share of the title, but there's still a lot of work left to do this season," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, who has led the Bucs to two regular season league titles during his four years in Johnson City. "You can't say enough about Courtney Pigram's effort tonight, but we also got great play from Andrew Reed and Brad Nuckles. To come in here and win is tough. Kennesaw State is always a challenge."


Trailing 39-29 at the half, ETSU cut the lead to three at 41-38 on a Nuckles lay up with 17:18 remaining in the game, but Kennesaw State answered to build the lead back to nine points at 50-41 with 13:59 remaining. From there, though, ETSU blitzed out with a 22-7 offensive run powered by four 3-pointers and 12 points from Pigram to take at 63-57 lead with 6:51 left. Kennesaw was not done challenging for the win, however, cutting the lead to 69-66 with 2:52 left on the clock thanks a jumper by Brent Ragsdale.


With the lead still 69-66 with 1:35 left, ETSU came out of a full timeout and Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) made a perfect inbounds pass from near half court that Reed dunked home to make it 71-66. Wooten responded with a 3-pointer to make it 71-69, but from there the Owls could not connect from long range and the Bucs made their free throws down the stretch to get the win.


In the first half, too many turnovers and the Owls' shooting effort from beyond the 3-point arc hurt the ETSU cause, leading to a 39-29 deficit for the Bucs at the intermission. In all, Kennesaw State hit on 39 percent of its shots from beyond the arc (5-of-13) and had just five turnovers compared to 12 for ETSU.  It could have been worse, as the Owls held a lead of as many as 14 points at 32-18 with 5:53 left before the break.


The Bucs finished the game with a 48 percent shooting percentage (29-of-60) and held KSU to just 39 percent. In the paint, ETSU out-rebounded the Owls 45-34.


ETSU will return home with two games to wrap up the outright A-Sun championship. The first opportunity will come on Thursday night at 7 p.m. against Stetson, a game that will air regionally on CSS. Fans unable to attend or watch the game can access the live video stream at ETSUBucs.com.