JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 23, 2008) -- Needing to get back in the win column and hoping to start building momentum for the postseason, the ETSU men's basketball team will play host to non-conference foe Tennessee Tech Saturday inside Memorial Center as part of the yearly ESPN BracketBuster event. Tip is schedule for 4 p.m.
The Buccaneers (15-12 overall, 9-5 A-Sun) are coming off their largest conference loss of the season, a 96-70 decision at Gardner-Webb just Thursday night. Meanwhile, Tennessee Tech is 12-17 overall and also looking to improve on what has been a difficult season so far.
ETSU and Tennessee Tech are renewing a rivalry that was once heated in the Ohio Valley Conference, with the two teams winning 33 games each in a 66-game series. The Bucs have won three straight against the Golden Eagles, and will be looking to extend a 16-game winning streak inside Memorial Center against non-conference foes.
Fans unable to attend the game can watch live via the ASun.TV video steam or listen to the radio broadcast stream available at ETSUBucs.com. For more on Saturday's game, click on the game notebook link above or read the game notes below.
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 guardCourtney 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 Tennessee Tech
The Bucs and Golden Eagles have met 66 times in their histories, with the teams enjoying several years as rivals in the Ohio Valley Conference ... The all-time slate is tied 33-33, but the Bucs have won three straight, with the last victory coming back on Dec. 10, 2004, an 65-54 Buc victory at Memorial Center.
Last time against the Golden Eagles
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 10, 2004)- Relying on their best defensive effort of the season, the East Tennessee State Buccaneers held visiting Tennessee Tech to just 32 percent shooting en route to a 65-54 win in non-conference basketball action at Memorial Center ... A crowd of 5,830 watched as the Bucs took a 28-24 halftime lead and then used a solid 2-3 zone defense to stymie the Golden Eagles' offensive efforts. Sophomore Travis Strong (Memphis, Tenn.) came off the bench to lead the ETSU offense, scoring a team-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor - including a 4-of-6 clip from 3-point range ... Tennessee Tech (3-4), which entered the game averaging 82.0 points per contest, stayed with the Bucs until the midway point of the first half, as the game was tied 18-18 with just over nine minutes left before the intermission. From there, the Bucs built a lead of as many as 10 points at 28-18 with 3:48 left before the break, but Tennessee Tech rallied to pull within four at 28-24 at halftime .... In the second half, the Golden Eagles stayed close and trailed just 39-37 with 11:28 to go in the game. However, from there the Bucs' defensive efforts paid off again with stop after stop, and ETSU managed to build an eight-point lead at 47-39 with just over eight minutes remaining. ETSU cushioned the lead to as many as 13 late in the game and held on for the win ... While Strong led the Bucs offensively with season highs for points (14), field goals (4), and 3-point field goals (4), he was joined in double figures by teammates Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio), Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.), and Chris Mitchell (Chicago). Rhoda finished with 11 points, while Mitchell added 11 points and five rebounds. Smith had one of his best all-around efforts of the year, scoring 13 points and dishing out a season-high seven assists ...For Tennessee Tech, Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Player of the Year Willie Jenkins scored 24 points to lead all scorers. He was not joined in double figures by any other Tennessee Tech player ... The Buccaneers out-rebounded the Golden Eagles 43-35 for the game and shot 71 percent from the charity stripe. Junior post Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) led the way on the boards with a career-high 13 rebounds. ETSU hit on 44 percent of their shots from the field for the game, including a 43 percent clip from 3-point range.
Last time out
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2008)- Gardner-Webb guard Grayson Flittner scored a career high 34 points and the Runnin' Bulldogs outscored the ETSU men's basketball team 43-22 in the final 12:19 to race away with a 96-70 Atlantic Sun Conference win Thursday night inside Paul Porter Arena ... With the loss, the Buccaneers dropped to 15-12 overall, 9-5 in A-Sun action and are now in serious danger of dropping significantly in the league standings. Meanwhile, the Runnin' Bulldogs improve to 14-13, 8-5, and they now hold a tie breaker over the Bucs by virtue of sweeping the season series over ETSU ... Flittner was unbelievable for Gardner-Webb, setting both the single season and single game record for 3-pointers, hitting on 9-of-12 from beyond the arc and 11-of-15 from the field to net his game-high 34 points. But Flittner was not alone, as the Runnin' Bulldogs shot 57 percent from the field and 58 percent from 3-point range as a team. Guard Thomas Sanders was equally impressive in a double-double effort, scoring 26 points and grabbing 16 rebounds ... The game got off to an ugly start for the Buccaneers, as the team shot just 30 percent from the field and 16 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half. Those numbers obviously led to a quick start for the Runnin' Bulldogs, who led 19-7 at the 10:35 mark. In all, ETSU would commit 16 turnovers in the first 20 minutes and never got closer than six late in the half, ultimately trailing 37-28 at the break. Luckily for the Bucs, Gardner-Webb was equally bad at the free throw line, shooting just 36 percent from the line (4-of-11) ... ETSU showed some life in the early going of the second half, pulling to within five points at 53-48 on a pair of free throws by freshman guard Micah Williams (Manchester). But from there Flittner hit another 3-pointer to stop the ETSU run and the rout was on for the Bulldogs ... For the Bucs, junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) scored a team-high 24 points, while junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) netted 14 points. In all, the Bucs shot just 35 percent from the floor and 16 percent from beyond the arc.
Non-conference home win streak at 16
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 16 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, UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky, Radford and Appalachian State in that time frame ... Against conference opponents, the Bucs have won 10 straight regular season conference games.
Williams making his mark
As a redshirt freshman, guardMicah 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 nine games, Williams is averaging 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds a game in 12.1 minutes a contest.
Strong approaching 1,000 points for his career
With four regular season games left on the schedule and at least one game in the Atlantic Sun tournament, fifth-year senior guardTravis Strong (Memphis) has a shot to reach the 1,000-point mark before his time at ETSU is over ... Strong currently stands at 956 points for his career and is averaging right at 10.0 ppg this season ... If he remains on that pace, he would have 40 more points this season and 996 for his career after the next four 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 forwardKevin 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 tied for first in scoring (15.7 ppg), is second in rebounding (5.7 rpg), and is first in steals (1.6) 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 17 times.
Bucs' RPI, Strength of Schedule rank among best in nation
Though the Bucs are now 15-12 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 117-38 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 10-2 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 guardCourtney 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 1,362 for his career and ranks for 9th 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.
1,124 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 1,124-906.
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 byCourtney 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."