JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 27, 2008) -- With a successful conference road swing behind them, the ETSU Buccaneers will make a quick two-day turnaround to host Atlantic Sun Conference foe North Florida Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. inside Memorial Center.
The Bucs (10-9 overall, 4-2 A-Sun) are coming off back-to-back victories, having dropped league contenders Lipscomb and Jacksonville in just the last week. Presently, ETSU is one game back of JU for first place in the league, after handing the Dolphins their first conference loss of the season on Friday evening. Meanwhile, the Ospreys have had a completely different experience this season, currently standing at a dismal 1-17 on the year and having gone winless in league play so far this season.
The UNF game is the first of three straight at home for the Bucs, as they try to solidify their conference standing and make the most of playing inside Memorial Center, where they have won over 75 percent of their games over the last 10 years.
For more on Sunday's matchup, click on the game notes link located above or read the game preview information found below. Fans unable to attend the game can watch the live video stream provided at ASun.TV by clicking the link above, or they can listen to the complimentary live audio feed provided by the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network by clicking the above link.
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 UNF
ETSU and North Florida have met only four times ... Both schools joined the Atlantic Sun Conference for the 2005-06 season and the Bucs are 4-0 all-time against the Ospreys.
Last time against the Ospreys
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2007)- In a game that was anything but pretty, the ETSU men's basketball team overcame 33 percent shooting and a sluggish effort in the paint to drop North Florida 56-51 in Atlantic Sun Conference play inside UNF Arena ... With the win, the Buccaneers improve to 19-8 overall, 13-2 in A-Sun action, while the Ospreys drop to 2-23 overall, 0-14 in league play. More importantly, the Bucs now hold a two-and-a-half game lead on second place Belmont, which lost to Lipscomb for the second time this season on Friday ... In the first half, ETSU suffered through its worst offensive 20 minutes of the season, hitting on just 25 percent of its shots and missing 12 of its first 13 attempts. Luckily, however, the Bucs defensive effort held UNF to just 30 percent shooting and ETSU used a 6-of-7 clip from the foul line to lead 20-19 at the break ... While the Ospreys manged to tie the game at 22 early in the second half, the Bucs quickly regained the advantage and actually never trailed after the break, holding on to a lead that never grew beyond nine points. While freshman guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) was the only Buccaneer in double figures with 10 points, it was sophomore guard Dante Williams (Romulus, Mich.) who came off the bench to hit a lay up and drop a pair of 3-pointers to give the Bucs an offensive spark. While the Ospreys cut the lead to just three points late in the game, ETSU hit just enough free throws down the stretch to get the win ... ETSU shot just 33 percent from the field, but held UNF to a 34 percent clip as well. While the Ospreys won the battle of the boards 40-33, the Bucs did force 20 turnovers ... While Smith led the way, senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) finished with eight points and nine rebounds, and Williams ended the game with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting. Sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) suffered through his worst shooting night of the year, going 1-of-15 from the floor and 1-of-9 from 3-point range ... UNF was led offensively by 15 points from James Grimball and 14 from Chris Timberlake.
Last time out
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2008)- In a one-point game with 3:16 remaining, the ETSU men's basketball team got an much-needed 7-0 offensive spurt to build a cushion and ultimately hold on to drop Jacksonville 83-77 in a critical Atlantic Sun Conference battle Friday evening before 6,873 at Veterans Memorial Arena ... With the win, ETSU (10-9, 4-2) moves to within one game of the Dolphins in the race for the A-Sun regular season championship. Jacksonville (9-9, 5-1) had started the season undefeated. The 6,873 fans was the second largest crowd in JU history ... ETSU held a five point lead at 70-65 with 4:17 left, but the Dolphins used a 4-0 run to make it 70-69 with 3:16 remaining. But from there, the Bucs went on a 7-0 offensive run powered by a lay up from senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.), a 3-pointer from junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and a pair of free throws from junior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) to build a 77-69 with just 1:09 left in the game ... While Jacksonville managed a couple of 3-pointers of its own, the Dolphins never got closer than four points the rest of the way and ended the contest down six ... The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with the Bucs enjoying the largest lead for either team at 31-25 with 3:39 left before the halftime break. Jacksonville didn't let that last, making up the six-point deficit to take a 36-35 advantage with three seconds remaining on Marcus Allen's lay up. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the game clock - which should have kept running - stopped on Allen's lay up, giving ETSU's Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) a chance to throw a deep pass to Tiggs, who grabbed the ball and scored as time expired to make it 37-36 at the break ... Five Buc players reached double figures, led by a team high 22 from Pigram. Meanwhile, senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) pitched in 15, junior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) added 11, and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and Reed netted 10 apiece. For Jacksonville, forward Marcus Allen scored a game high 23 points and posted a double-double with 11 rebounds, while guard Ben Smith added 19 points and forward Lehmon Colbert netted 13 ... The Bucs committed just nine turnovers in the game and shot 83 percent from the foul line, including a critical 15-of-15 in the second half. While Jacksonville out-rebounded the Bucs 40-33, ETSU did force 16 turnovers ... ETSU will return to league action next Friday night against Mercer. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. to accommodate CSS, which will broadcast the game on cable network's throughout the Southeast.
Bucs' RPI, Strength of Schedule rank among best in nation
Though the Bucs are off to a 10-9 start, it's understandable when considering ETSU has only played seven home games so far this season ... More importantly, as of Jan. 21 the Buccaneers' strength of schedule (SOS) currently 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 includes 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 ranked a respectable 123rd out of 342 Division I teams.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 113-37 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 76 percent ... The Bucs ETSU 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 6-1 at Memorial Center so far. 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 6-1 at Memorial Center so far.
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.
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.
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
New starting five
During the Bucs recent trip to the Rainbow Classic, head coach Murry Bartow used a completely new starting five, with junior guardJocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.), junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) ... While that group went only 1-2 on the trip, they did pick up the win over SEC foe Georgia and lost a close overtime battle with Louisiana-Lafayette ... However, the Bucs reshuffled the lineup again versus Appalachian State, moving Pigram to the point position, and inserting seniors Travis Strong (Memphis) and Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) to go with Tiggs and Reed ... That starting five is now 3-1 on the year, but the starting lineup was shuffled once again Thursday night against Belmont, as junior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) was inserted into the lineup at point guard, moving Pigram to the two guard over Strong ... That lineup went 2-1 this past two weeks in Nashville and Jacksonville, losing by three to Belmont and beating Lipscomb by five, before dropping Jacksonville by six Friday night.
Davis, Pigram and assist/turnover ratio
One positive to come from the early season schedule as been the play of both junior guardsJocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) and Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ... From a distribution of the basketball and offensive production standpoint, both have shown an ability to pick up assists without turning the ball over ... Currently, Davis ranks third in the A-Sun with an assist/turnover ratio of 1.6 ... As for assists per game, Pigram ranks 6th with 3.5 a game, while Davis is 9th with 3.3 a contest
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 1,246 for his career and ranks for 14th 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.
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."
1,119 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 1,118-901-27.
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 ... For a complete schedule, visit ETSUBucs.com.
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, who have gone 28-10 in A-Sun play in their two years in the league, 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.