BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. (Feb. 21, 2008) -- Attempting to stay in the race for one of the top two seeds in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament bracket, the ETSU men's basketball team hits the road Thursday night for a matchup with league foe Gardner-Webb. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Buccaneers (15-11 overall, 9-4 A-Sun) will be looking to avenge a 73-69 loss to the Runnin' Bulldogs earlier this season. Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb (13-13, 7-5) hopes to pull even with the Bucs in the loss column of the league standings.
Fans unable to attend the game can listen live via the radio broadcast stream available at ETSUBucs.com. Due to internet infrastructure issues at Gardner-Webb, the game will not be available on ASun.TV.
For more on Thursday'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 Gardner-Webb
The Bucs are 3-3 all-time against Gardner-Webb in a series that began in 2005-06 when ETSU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference ... Last year, the Bucs swept the season series, including a 63-61 nailbiter over GW inside Memorial Center a year ago ... However, this year the Runnin' Bulldogs won the first meeting between the teams 73-69 back on Jan. 10.
Last time against Gardner-Webb
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 10, 2008) - Poor shooting from the floor for the third straight game finally caught up with the ETSU men's basketball team, as the Buccaneers were unable to score a single point in the final 5:27 of Saturday's game against Gardner-Webb, falling to the Bulldogs 73-69 in Atlantic Sun Conference action inside Memorial Center ... For the Bucs (8-8, 2-1 A-Sun) it was their first home loss of the season, as they dropped to 6-1 in the Dome. Meanwhile, the Runnin' Bulldogs improved to 8-10, 2-2 ... In a game they never led and tied only twice in the first half, the Bucs shot just 32 percent from the floor and a dismal 22 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Even so, ETSU still managed to cut a 10-point halftime deficit to just one point three times in the final seven minutes ... A free throw by junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) made it 70-69 in favor of GW with 5:27 left, but from there the Bucs would not score again, despite making several defensive stops and holding the Runnin' Bulldogs to just three points the rest of the way ... During the offensive drought, the Bucs would take five 3-pointers and end up making none of those attempts ... In the first half, Gardner-Webb took an early 5-0 lead and managed to hold off two ETSU runs that tied that game at 18-18 and 22-22. From there, the Runnin' Bulldogs used a 9-2 run to close out the half and finish up 40-30 ... Gardner-Webb shot 41 percent from the field, but more importantly the Runnin' Bulldogs were a decisive 84 percent from the foul line (16-of-19). ETSU did hold statistical advantages in rebounds (46-42), while forcing 19 turnovers on 10 steals ... The Bucs were led offensively by 15 points from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), while sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) finished with 14 points, and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) scored 11.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2008)- It was not the usual cast of characters for the ETSU men's basketball team, but the efforts they provided were enough to get the Buccaneers a much needed victory Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Center ... Senior Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) posted his first career double-double, senior Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) scored a game high 23 points, and redshirt freshman guard Micah Williams (Manchester) came off the bench to score a career high 14 points as the Buccaneers snapped a two-game losing skid and rebounded from a disappointing loss to Belmont with an 81-78 win over Lipscomb in Atlantic Sun Conference action ... With the win, ETSU improved to 15-11 overall, 9-4 in A-Sun play, while Lipscomb falls to 13-14, 7-6. The Bucs remain one game back of Jacksonville for second place and two games back of Belmont for first place in the league standings ... While the Bucs came away with the win, it was not easy. In the first half, ETSU rolled out to a lead of as many as 15 points thanks to a 14-5 run midway through the half, leading 37-22 with just over three minutes left before the break. However, Lipscomb posted a 9-0 run of its own to close out the first 20 minutes and cut the ETSU advantage to 37-31 ... In the second half, Lipscomb kept the pressure on, outscoring the Bucs 14-4 to open the final 20 minutes and lead by four points at 45-41. From there the two teams had seven lead changes and a pair of ties before the Bucs progressively pulled away to an eight-point edge at 74-66 with 1:53 remaining ... Over the final minutes Lipscomb slowly whittled away at the lead, and even though the Bucs hit their final six free throws, a 3-pointer by Lipscomb's LaKory Daniels made it 79-78 with just over two seconds remaining. After a pair of free throws from senior Travis Strong (Memphis) made it 81-78, the last desperation play by the Bisons was unable to produce a shot and the Bucs escaped with the win ... Swader finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Reed just missed a double-double of his own with a game high 23 points and nine boards, while Williams finished with six boards and 14 points in just 17 minutes. For the game, ETSU was an impressive 48 percent from beyond the 3-point line, while Lipscomb out-rebounded the Bucs 48-42 ... Lipscomb had four players reach double figures, led by 18 from Josh Slater. Daniels finished with 17, while Jimmy Oden pitched in 14 and Adnan Hodzic scored 10.
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 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 949 points for his career and is averaging right at 10.0 ppg this season ... If he remains on that pace, he would have 50 more points this season and 1,001 for his career after the next five 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.
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.
Bucs to play Tennessee Tech in ESPN BracketBusters
The ETSU men's basketball team will play host to former Ohio Valley Conference rival and in-state foe Tennessee Tech as part of the annual ESPN BracketBuster Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. inside Memorial Center ... The Buccanneers and the Golden Eagles have met 66 times in a series that dates back to 1923. The two teams are tied in the series 33-33, but the Bucs have enjoyed three straight wins, with the last meeting coming in 2004 ... "This will be a good late season test for our team as we prepare for our conference tournament," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team is currently enjoying a five-game winning streak. "We have a long tradition against Tennessee Tech, and this will be a fun matchup for our fans that remember the days in the OVC. Having a return trip next year to Tennessee Tech will also give our fans a non-conference game they can travel to easily." For more on Tennessee Tech, visitwww.ttusports.com.
Swader, Strong pow0er resurgent offense
During their last nine games, the Buccaneers have found their rythm on offense thanks in great part to the shooting of senior forwardKenyona Swader (Smyrna) and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) ... In going 7-2, the Bucs are averaging 80.6 points a game ... Individually, Swader is averaging 11.6 points and 6.6 rebounds a game, while Strong is averaging 11.7 points a game ... As for percentage shooting, Strong is 33-of-37 from the foul line (89 percent) and is hitting 38 percent from beyond 3-point range ... Meanwhile, Swader is connecting on 51 percent from the floor and 45 percent from 3-point range.
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 second in scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 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 (78 percent) ... This season, he has already posted three double-doubles, and has reached double figures in scoring 16 times.
Bucs' RPI, Strength of Schedule rank among best in nation
Though the Bucs are now 15-11 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
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.
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 1,323 for his career and ranks for 10th 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 1,124-905.
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 will also appear 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 scheduled for air 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."
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.