Bucs return to league action Monday at Campbell
Sunday, February 24, 2008

BUIES CREEK, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2008) -- After an one-game break from conference play Saturday against Tennessee Tech, the ETSU men's basketball team returns to league action Monday night at Campbell, looking to regain some momentum as the team prepares for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament next week in Nashville.

The Buccaneers (16-12, 9-5) will be looking to keep their perfect record against the Camels unblemished, as the Bucs are 7-0 all-time against Campbell. Meanwhile, the Camels will be celebrating a historic night, playing for the last time ever in historic Carter Gym.

Fans unable to attend the game can listen free to the audio streaming broadcast at ETSUBucs.com or on any of the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network's fine affiliates. Meanwhile, live video streaming will be available at ASun.TV.

For more on the game, click the game notebook link above, or read the game notes located below.

Buc Shots

A seven-time NCAA Tournament and two-time NIT participant, the ETSU Buccaneers enter the 2007-08 season coming off a regular season Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 24-10 overall record, and a 16-2 league mark a year ago ... The Bucs return the 2006-07 A-Sun Player of the Year in junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), as well as the A-Sun Coach of the Year Murry Bartow and All A-Sun Freshman team pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) ... Along with returning players like Pigram and Smith, the Bucs also return significant contributors to last season's success such as senior post Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.), senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna), and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) ... Newcomers for the Bucs that are expected to contribute early and often include junior college transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who was the JuCo Division II National Player of the Year last season, and lightning quick JuCo point guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) ... Several Bucs are currently leading A-Sun statistical categories, see page 6 of this notebook for more information on those players and their rank ... In addition, see where the Bucs ranks as a team and individually on the national charts on Page 4.

The series against Campbell

The Bucs and Camels have met seven times in their histories, with ETSU holding a perfect 7-0 mark ... ETSU won the last meeting back on Jan. 10, 2008, by a score of 74-69.

Last time against the Camels

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 10, 2008) - Senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) scored 13 of his 16 points in the final seven minutes, helping the ETSU men's basketball team rally from an 11-point deficit in the final 11 minutes to drop Atlantic Sun Conference foe Campbell 74-69 in front of 3,321 fans inside Memorial Center ... The game saw four ties and six lead changes before a Strong 3-pointer with just under a minute left gave the Bucs a 70-67 lead that they never relinquished. With the win, ETSU improves to 2-0 in A-Sun play, and moves to 8-7 overall on the year. Meanwhile, the Camels drop to 1-2 in league play and 5-9 overall ... ETSU, which did not lead in the game until the 6:24 mark of the second half when a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) made it 60-58, actually pulled its starting five players in the opening seconds after halftime and completely emptied its bench. With a lineup comprised of two freshmen, a sophomore and two junior college transfers, the Bucs kept in the game and gave their starters a chance to regroup and reenergize ... The strategy worked, as the Bucs used an 18-7 run to take a 51-40 deficit and tie the game at 58-58 with 7:34 remaining. From there, the back and forth battle ultimately ended with Strong scoring the final seven points of the game on a 3-pointer and four straight free throws to ice the game ... In the first half, Campbell used some hot shooting from the outside and a strong defensive effort to build a lead of as many as 11 points at 37-26 with just under two minutes left in the half. A free throw by senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and a 3-pointer by Courtney Pigram (Memphis) with four seconds left pulled the Bucs closer, but ETSU still trailed 37-30 at the break ... At the intermission, Campbell was shooting 48 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range (6-of-12) and 100 percent (7-of-7) from the foul line. Sophomore forward Jonathan Rodriguez led the way with 14 points, while senior guard Jake Wohlfeil was a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range to net nine points. The Bucs' 30 points was their lowest offensive output in a first half this season ... For the game, the Bucs got a team high 23 points from Pigram, while Strong added 16 and Smith pitched in 10. ETSU out-rebounded Campbell 41-31 and grabbed 19 offensive boards to just 10 for the Camels. The Bucs shot 84.2 percent from the foul line and grabbed 11 steals ... Campbell got a game-high 25 points from Rodriguez, Kyle Vejraska netted 16, Wohlfeil scored 15, and Bishop pitched in 11. The Camels shot 50 percent from 3-point range (9-of-18), and were 80 percent from the charity stripe (16-of-20).

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 23, 2008) - In need of a confidence boost, the ETSU men's basketball team got one during ESPN's BracketBuster Saturday courtesy of the Ohio Valley Conference's Tennessee Tech ... The Buccaneers won for just the second time in their last five games, getting a career high six 3-pointers and 20 points from senior Travis Strong (Memphis), while senior Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) posted his second career double-double to lead ETSU to an 88-80 win over the Golden Eagles on Senior Day in front of 3,118 fans at Memorial Center ... A blowout seemed eminent in the first half, as the Bucs built a lead of as many as 19 points twice and held a 49-30 advantage with 2:37 remaining before the break. However, Tech bounced back with a 7-0 run to close out the half and trail 51-39 at the intermission ... In the second half, the Golden Eagles kept the pressure on in a big way, outscoring the Bucs 26-12 over the opening nine minutes, taking the air out of the Dome and giving Tech a 65-63 lead with 11:02 left in the game. Strong answered the challenge quickly with a 3-pointer that gave the Bucs the advantage back at 66-65, and ETSU would never relinquish the lead again, outscoring Tech 23-8 over the next seven minutes to lead 86-73 with 3:30 remaining in the half ... For the game, Strong was 6-of-12 from beyond the arc and finished with 20 points. He was joined with a team-high 20 by junior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), while junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) posted 15 points. Swader finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Tech got a game-high 22 from Daniel Northern, while Amadi McKenzie netted 17, Rashaud Nixon added 12 and Anthony Fisher pitched in 11 ... ETSU shot 49 percent from the floor for the game, and an impressive 46 percent from beyond the arc. Tech shot 43 percent from the field and a solid 86 percent from the charity stripe. Both teams committed 21 turnovers, with Tech holding a 42-37 advantage on the boards.

Non-conference home win streak at 17

Over the last three seasons, the Bucs have fared well against non-conference opponents within the confines of Memorial Center ... In fact, the Bucs have won 17 straight non-conference homes games since losing a 90-73 contest to Fresno State back on Nov. 27, 2004 ... ETSU has enjoyed wins over teams such as Marshall (2), Chattanooga, Central Michigan, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech (2), UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky, Radford and Appalachian State in that time frame.

Williams making his mark

As a redshirt freshman, guard Micah Williams (Manchester) spent last season and much of the early part of this year waiting for his chance to make a mark ... Most recently, Williams broke through against Lipscomb (2/16), setting or matching career highs for points (14), field goals (5), field goals attempted (8), 3-point field goals (2) and rebounds (6) ... In his last 10 games, Williams is averaging 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds a game in 12.8 minutes a contest.

Strong approaching 1,000 points for his career

With two regular season games left on the schedule and at least one game in the Atlantic Sun tournament, fifth-year senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) has a shot to reach the 1,000-point mark before his time at ETSU is over ... Strong currently stands at 976 points for his career and is averaging right at 10.3 ppg this season ... If he remains on that pace, he would have 30 more points this season and 1006 for his career after the next three games ... Strong, who is the final link to the 2004 NCAA Tournament team at ETSU, would be the sixth player from that team to reach 1,000 points ... The others to reach that mark from the 2004 squad includes Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood, Tim Smith, Ben Rhoda and Brad Nuckles.

Tiggs taking over

With his second A-Sun Player of the Week honor now in his possession, junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) is certainly making an impression on the ETSU basketball program and the Atlantic Sun Conference in his first season wearing the Blue and Gold ... After several strong performances, Tiggs is first in scoring (15.8 ppg), is second in rebounding (5.6 rpg), and is first in steals (1.7) on the team ... In the league, he ranks third in field goal percentage (56 percent) and is sixth in free throw percentage (79 percent) ... This season, he has already posted three double-doubles, and has reached double figures in scoring 18 times.

Bucs' RPI, Strength of Schedule rank among best in nation

Though the Bucs are now 16-12 on the year, the team's slow start at the beginning of the year was understandable when considering ETSU played an exceptionally tough early season slate ... As of Jan. 21 the Buccaneers' strength of schedule (SOS) ranked 74th in the country according to RealtimeRPI.com ... That SOS rank is obvious when looking at the RPI of ETSU's opponents in the early season schedule, which included -- at the time -- St. Mary's (4th), Dayton (7th) and Syracuse (11th) ... In fact, until just recently the Bucs SOS was as high at 18th in the country, before entering conference play ... As for RPI, the Bucs rank a respectable 153rd out of 342 Division I teams.

Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 118-38 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 final game of the year in the championship of the A-Sun Tournament ... This year, the Bucs are 11-2 at Memorial Center.

The Bucs at the Rainbow Classic

Spending a week in Hawaii during the winter months is always enjoyable, but ETSU's second trip ever to the Rainbow Classic was a bittersweet experience ... While the Bucs picked up their first win over a Southeastern Conference opponent since 1991-92 with a 76-58 victory over Georgia in the first round, the team finished the trip 1-2 after falling in back-to-back games to St. Mary's and Louisiana-Lafayette ... While the St. Mary's game was expected to be difficult -- considering the Gaels were ranked No. 2 in the RPI -- the 82-80 overtime loss to a 3-7 Lafayette team kept the Bucs from evening their season record to 6-6 coming home from the islands ... In two trips to the Rainbow, the Bucs are now 2-4 all time.

Another championship banner

With a win against Stetson (2/22), the Bucs wrapped up an outright 2006-07 A-Sun regular season title and garnered the No. 1 seed in the week's league championship tournament ... For ETSU, it was the continuation of a recent string of success that dates back to the 2000-2001 season ... In all, the Bucs have captured championships in five of the last seven seasons, including back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips in 2002-03 and 2003-04, and a trip to the NIT in 2006-07 ... Here is the championship breakdown:

2000-2001 -- Southern Conference North Division Championship

2001-2002 -- SoCon North Division championship

2002-2003 -- SoCon North Division championship; SoCon Tournament Championship

2003-2004 -- SoCon North Division championship, SoCon Regular Season Championship, SoCon Tournament Championship

2006-2007 -- Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championship

Pigram eclipses 1,000 points

Beginning just his third season at ETSU, junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark with a jump shot from the right corner at the 17:52 mark against Chattanooga (11/28) ... That basket gave Pigram 1,000 for his career and following the contest with the Mocs ... The junior now stands at 1,377 for his career and ranks for 8th on the all-time program scoring list ... The 6-1 shooting guard scored 325 points as a freshman and then netted a remarkable 614 as a sophomore ... His 614 points a year ago ranks 6th on the single season list.

1,125 wins and counting

With a win Jan. 25, 2007 against Belmont, the Bucs collected the program's 1,100th win all-time ... In over 80 years of basketball, the Bucs are 1,125-906.

Bucs dominate Preseason All A-Sun Picks

Last season, ETSU won its first Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball title, but Belmont denied the Buccaneers the conference's automatic bid in the final of the General Shale Brick Men's Basketball Championship ... Entering the 2007-08 season, both the coaches and the media predict that the Buccaneers will again be battling the Bruins for conference supremacy ... Both chose ETSU as the favorite to win the conference and defend its regular-season title with Belmont second ... The Bucs were the clear choice by the media to win the tournament ... The Buccaneers have gone 28-10 in A-Sun play in their two years in the league and will continue to be led by Courtney Pigram (Memphis). The junior from Memphis, Tenn. was named the preseason Player of the Year following up his Player of the Year award for the 2006-07 season ... As a sophomore, Pigram averaged 18.1 points per game, second-best in the conference and also ranked in the top 10 in steals (2nd, 2.62 SPG), 3-point field goals per game (3rd, 2.62 3-pt FG per game) and assists (7th, 3.74 APG). He turned in one the league's virtuoso performances of the season when he dished out a conference-record 18 assists against Mercer on February 24 to go along with 29 points and eight rebounds. The 18 assists set an A-Sun record, were one off the school record, and were the second-highest single-game total in Division I in the last two seasons.

Bucs on the Tube

Along with the new ASun.TV package which will video stream all ETSU men's and women's home games on the Internet, the Bucs will again have a significant presence on the television screen as well this year ... In fact, ETSU's trips to Oklahoma State (Dec. 8) and Syracuse (Dec. 15) both aired live locally, with the Oklahoma State game showing on WKPT (ABC) and the Syracuse contest aired on WJHL (CBS) ... The Bucs have also appeared on regional cable through the Friday night CSS Atlantic Sun Game of the Week with the Jan. 25th trip to Jacksonville and the Feb. 1 home game against Mercer on CSS ... In addition, Charter Main Street will air its weekly ETSU replay on Charter 13 and Comcast 14 Tuesday nights at 8 p.m., with the weekly games beginning on Dec. 4th with the Tennessee-Wesleyan game.

Chilton's No. 42 comes out of retirement

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 31, 2007) - For many years, Tom Chilton's No. 42 has held a special place in ETSU basketball's history. Next season, fans will see that special number on the floor once again ... Chilton, who ranks first all-time with 26.1 points per game and fifth on the all-time scoring list with 1,801, has agreed to allow junior transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) to wear his No. 42 jersey for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 season. Chilton, who now makes his home in Madison, Ind., said he was honored a current player would want to wear his number ... "I wish him the best and I'm honored he wants to wear No. 42," said Chilton, whose 42 is the only retired number in ETSU's program history. "I hope he always considers that the number doesn't make the player, but the player makes the number. A lot of hard work and effort went into that number during my time there, but ETSU gave a lot back to me and I wouldn't be where I am today without that university, so I'm happy to allow the number to be worn again." ... ETSU head coach Murry Bartow said he was appreciative Chilton would allow the number to come out of retirement, and he reiterated that the number will go back into retirement two years from now ... "Tom Chilton was one of the finest players to ever wear an ETSU uniform, and his willingness to allow Kevin to wear the number shows he is still proud to be a part of our program's tradition," Bartow said. "It's our expectation that Kevin understand the importance of the number and the responsibility that goes with wearing it." ... Tiggs, the 2007 National Junior College Division II Player of the Year, said he certainly understood the history behind the number ... "Mr. Chilton was and is a legend here, so wearing his number comes with a great deal of responsibility," Tiggs said. "I just want to play in a way that would make him proud."