Cold shooting night costs Bucs in 73-69 loss to Gardner-Webb
Saturday, January 12, 2008


            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.


            "It's obviously a tough loss, and you have to give Gardner-Webb credit for doing a lot of good things," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team now faces a three-game road trip against A-Sun contenders Lipscomb, Belmont and Jacksonville over the next two weeks. "We haven't really played well the last three games, even though we managed to squeak out the last two.


            "It comes down to making shots. I thought we got some pretty clean looks and we had the ball around the rim a lot, but we missed too many of them."


            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. "We tried hitting the home run when we just needed some touches inside," Bartow said.


            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. Gardner-Webb had five players in double figures, led by a game-high 17 from guard Grayson Flintner.


            ETSU now heads on the road to face Belmont Thursday night (Jan. 17) at 8 p.m. EST, followed by a meeting with Lipscomb on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 19) at 5:15 p.m. For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit