Bucs needing to rebound with win against Lipscomb
Friday, January 18, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 19, 2008) -- In need of getting back to the win column in Atlantic Sun Conference action, the ETSU men's basketball team plays the second of three straight league road games Saturday at 5:15 (EST), when the Buccaneers face in-state rival Lipscomb at Allen Arena.

The Bucs (8-9, 2-2 A-Sun) have lost two straight games, including an 86-83 back-and-forth affair Thursday night to Belmont, a team picked in the preseason to battle with ETSU for the league championship.

ETSU holds an impressive 22-8 edge over Lipscomb in the all-time series, but the Bucs are just 3-2 against the Bisons since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06.

Fans unable to attend the game can watch the contest by clicking on the ASun.TV link located above, and the free audio broadcast of the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network can be accessed above as well.

For more on the game, click on the game notes link above or read 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 Lipscomb

The Bucs and Bisons have met 30 times in their histories, with ETSU holding a 22-8 advantage ... Currently, the Bucs have a three-game winning streak over the Bisons ... ETSU swept all three meetings a year ago, while Lipscomb swept the Bucs in 2005-06 -- their first season in the A-Sun.

Last time against the Bisons

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 2, 2007) - Sophomore Courtney Pigram (Memphis) added another notch to his conference player of the year resume and No.1 East Tennessee State qualified for its first championship game appearance in its new conference with a thrilling 77-72 win over No.4 Lipscomb in the 2006 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Men's Basketball Championship semifinals Friday night at Memorial Center ... Pigram hit a 15-foot jumper with 27 seconds to play to give the Bucs a three-point lead and added a free throw moments later to seal the win. Pigram was stellar again, finishing with 21 points ... Pigram was just one of four Bucs in double-figure scoring. Freshman Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) added 17 points and six rebounds, Eryk Thomas (Fremont, Calif.) notched 11 points and six boards and Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) played all 40 minutes to record a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds ... The game was typical of ETSU and Lipscomb with both teams taking the others best shots before bouncing back with a classic finish ... The first half played true to form for all the prior match-ups between these schools. Lipscomb (18-13) held the advantage most of the way, but ETSU (24-8) continually had the answer ... For the second straight game, the Bisons jumped out early behind the play of guard Brian Fisk. He scored six of his team's first eight. Also like the night before, someone else followed up on Fisk's success. Eddie Ard scored seven of the next nine ... Still, the Bucs were running stride for stride with an inside attack. Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) scored six quick points in the paint before giving Thomas his turn. Thomas scored nine of ETSU's 10 in one stretch to give them an 18-17 lead ... An unusual four-point play from Michael Teller sparked an 8-0 Bison's run and gave them their largest lead of the game at 25-18. Fisk and Ard helped keep the lead for a while with 3-pointers, but the Bucs made their move before the break ... Smith started the rally with a rebound dunk, Nuckles and Smith canned 3s and Pigram, silent for most of the half, came to life with seven quick points - including a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to tie the game at 35 ... That momentum carried over into the second half. The Bucs came out roaring with Pigram converting a three-point play on a drive to the basket. Nuckles hit a jumper and he and Reed turned in back-to-back three-point plays. The big run continued through the first 10 minutes, ending when Dequan Twilley nailed a jumper to give ETSU a 63-51 lead ... True to form, the Bisons rallied. After a dreadful 0-for-9 shooting effort in the first half, Trey Williams caught fire. At one point, he scored 13 of his team's 16. Included were three long-range 3-pointers ... Lipscomb kept crawling closer. Jason Hopkins, Ard and Fisk all scored down the stretch. The Bisons had a chance to pull even with exactly 1:00 left when Fisk rebounded a Williams miss and stuck it back in while getting fouled. Fisk missed the free throw, however, setting up Pigram's heroics.

Last time out

NASHVILLE (Jan. 17, 2008) - Junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) set a Curb Event Center record with 30 points and the ETSU men's basketball team shot an impressive 61 percent from the floor, but once again it was the Belmont Bruins that still found a way to beat the Buccaneers 86-83 in Atlantic Sun Conference play Thursday night ... The Buccaneers (8-9 overall, 2-2 A-Sun) were done in by 12 3-pointers by the Bruins - eight of which came in the second half. In addition, Belmont (11-7, 3-1) grabbed 18 offensive rebounds and turned those into a 25-12 advantage in second half points ... The Bucs fell behind 2-0 but from there never trailed again until 12 minutes left in the game when Belmont went up 58-56 on a lay up by Belmont's Will Peeples. While ETSU was able to take the lead back a couple of times from there, the Bruins ultimately held an advantage of as many as seven points at 75-68 with 4:58 left ... However, ETSU rallied again, and when Buc sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) was fouled on a defensive rebound with 13 seconds left, he converted the two free throws to make it 84-83. Belmont's Andy Wicke was fouled on the inbounds pass and hit his two shots from the charity stripe, and the Bucs' Courtney Pigram (Memphis) missed his 3-point attempt from the top of the key as time expired ... In the first half, the Buccaneers shot a blistering 63 percent from the floor and got 12 points each from posts Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and Tiggs, building a lead of as many as 11 points at 38-27 with just over three minutes left in the half. However, despite hitting on just 38 percent of its shots before the intermission, the Bruins went 7-of-10 from the foul line compared to just 1-of-2 for the Bucs. It was that disparity that allowed Belmont to recover from the 11-point deficit and outscore the Bucs 10-2 to close out the half and make it 40-37 at the break ... For the game, Tiggs led all scorers, while Reed and Pigram netted 17 and 15 points, respectively. For Belmont, Wicke scored a game high 16 points, while Keaton Belcher added 14, Shane Dansby pitched in 13 and Justin Hare posted 12 ... The Bruins finished 12-of-30 from 3-point range for a 40 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc, while the Bucs were 18-of-21 from the foul line for an 86 percent clip. The Bucs committed just 15 turnovers, while the Bruins also valued the ball with just 13 turnovers themselves.

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

Though the Bucs are off to a 8-9 start, it's understandable when considering ETSU has only played seven home games so far this season ... More importantly, as of Jan. 16 the Buccaneers' strength of schedule (SOS) currently ranked 58th 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) ... As for RPI, the Bucs ranked a respectable 125th 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.


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 guard Jocolby 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.

Davis, Pigram and assist/turnover ratio

One positive to come from the early season schedule as been the play of both junior guards Jocolby 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 3.7 a game, while Davis is 9th with 3.4 a contest

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 1,196 for his career and ranks 17th 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."

1,117 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 1,117-901-27.

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 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.