JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 28, 2007) -- ETSU and Appalachian State basketball fans will get a late Christmas gift on Sunday, Dec. 30, as the Buccaneers and Mountaineers end a three-year break from play and renew their long rivalry inside Memorial Center.
Tip off is scheduled for 3 p.m. as these two former Southern Conference rivals meet for the 120th time, in a series the Bucs lead 73-46. While ETSU owns the series, ASU has enjoyed two straight wins during the 2004-05 season, which was the Bucs last in the SoCon before joining the Atlantic Sun Conference. The series dates back to 1928, and the two teams were SoCon rivals from 1979 to 2005.
The Bucs (5-7) and the Mountaineers (5-5) both clipped up Southeastern Conference foes last week, with ETSU dropping Georgia in the first round of the Rainbow Classic, while ASU defeated Arkansas on the road.
For more on the game, click on the game notes links located above or read the game text below. Fans unable to be in Johnson City Sunday afternoon can watch the game live through video streaming offered by ASun.TV. Access to the live stream is available above, along with a link to the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network's free audio stream.
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.), sophomore point guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville), 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.
Last time out
HOLOLULU, Hawaii (Dec. 22, 2007)-The ETSU men's basketball team came back from a 15-point second half deficit, but were outscored by 14-12 in overtime and lost a heartbreaker, 82-80, to Louisiana Lafayette in the third-place game of the 44th annual Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center ... Despite the loss junior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) tallied his first career double-double, scoring a career-high 27 points and grabbing career-best 10 rebounds. Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) also notched double figures in scoring. Pigram added 17 and Reed netted 14. Louisiana Lafayette finished with four in double figures, with Chris Gradnigo ending with a team-high 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc ... In a game which saw 14 lead changes and eight ties, the Ragin' Cajuns won the closely fought battle. The Bucs held a 72-69 lead with 3:19 left in the extra frame, but Lafayette fought back and Randell Daigle's three-pointer with 19 seconds broke ETSU's heart, giving Lafayette an 81-77 lead and eventually the victory ... The Ragin' Cajuns began the game hitting three treys and took an 11-8 lead into the first media timeout with 15:25 on the clock. It was the Pigram and Reed show early as they combined to score the Bucs' first eight points, posting four apiece. However, that is all Pigram would score for the half as he picked up two fouls in the first six minutes, and his third at the 5:51 mark. Lafayette upped its lead to five, 17-12, but Tiggs decided to take over as he scored nine of the next 13 points for the Bucs. Tiggs' three with a little less than nine minutes left gave the Buccaneers their second lead of the half at 23-22. Then, the hot three-point shooting lifted the Ragin' Cajuns to a 31-25 advantage with seven minutes left before the break. Lafayette hit seven of its first 10 three's as Gradnigo accounted for four of them ... The first 12 minutes of the contest were also tightly contested as there were three ties and four lead changes during the stretch. However, with the game tied at 25, Lafayette scored 15 unanswered points and led 40-25 at the 5:20 mark. ETSU would score nine of the final 13 points of the half to cut the Ragin' Cajuns' advantage to 10, 44-34 ... For the half ETSU shot 44.8 percent (13-29) from the floor, while Lafayette hit 50 percent (13-26) of its field goals. Once again it was the three-point shooting that would hurt the Bucs, as the Ragin' Cajuns nailed nine from beyond the arc, compared to only two by ETSU. The Bucs did dominate in the paint, outscoring Lafayette, 22-4, and won the rebounding side, 16-13. Tiggs led ETSU with 12 points, and Bureau and Gradnigo combined to score 29 of Louisiana Lafayette's 44 points ... The Ragin' Cajuns came out firing to begin the final 20 minutes as they scored five points in a minute and six seconds to push their lead to 15, 49-34. The strong start forced head coach Murry Bartow to call a timeout and regroup his troops. Whatever coach said worked, because the Bucs went on a 24-0 run which got the Buccaneer faithful roaring inside the arena. Defensive pressure and red-hot three-point shooting helped guide the run as ETSU forced five turnovers and nailed four treys during the blitzkrieg. From there, Lafayette ended a scoring drought that lasted over eight minutes and the Ragin' Cajuns went on a run of their own to regain the lead. Daigle's three-pointer put the ULL back up, 63-60, with 5:46 left in regulation. However, the Bucs regained the lead (64-63) on back-to-back lay-ups by Tiggs with just under five minutes remaining. The rest of the contest became a nail biter as neither team could open a large lead. Both teams had a chance to pull it off in regulation, but Reed's missed lay-up with less than 20 seconds left gave the Ragin' Cajuns the ball; though a desperation shot by Lafayette missed everything which eventually sent the game to overtime.
The series against Appalachian State
When the Bucs and Mountaineers meet once again Sunday, they will be renewing a rivalry that has been enjoyed by coaches, players and fans since 1928 ... In all, the Bucs enjoy a 73-46 advantage in the series, but have lost the last two meetings back during the 2004-05 season when both teams were still members of the Southern Conference ... Since moving to the Atlantic Sun for the 2005-06 campaign, the Bucs and Mountaineers have not met at all ... The two teams were SoCon rivals for over 25 years from 1979 to 2005.
Last time against Appalachian State
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 9, 2005)- The East Tennessee State University men's basketball team began a five-game stretch inside Memorial, facing off against nearby Southern Conference rival Appalachian State. However, things did not go as the Buccaneers had planned ... Appalachian State shot 53 percent from the floor and 57 percent from 3-point range, scoring 52 second-half points and dropping their SoCon North Division rival, 95-73. It was the second straight win in the series for the Mountaineers, who dropped the Bucs 81-79 in Boone, N.C., back on Jan. 5 ... The Mountaineers (12-9, 6-5) were led in scoring by guard Nathan Cranford, who netted a game-high 23 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Cranford was joined in double figures by four teammates, with guard D.J. Thompson and Noah Brown netting 15 points apiece, while guard Demetrius Scott and forward Herbert Jones pitched in 12 apiece ... ASU wasted little time making a statement in the first half, roaring out to a 10-0 lead at the 16:46 mark. ETSU battled back to cut the lead to five at 26-21 with 8:45 remaining, but the Mountaineers pushed their advantage back out to as many 12 points and eventually led by eight, 43-35, at the intermission ... In the second half, it was all Mountaineers. ASU methodically built their advantage from the start and enjoyed its largest lead of the game at the 6:35 mark, 84-58 ... For the game, the Mountaineers out-rebounded the Bucs 40-32, forced 17 ETSU turnovers, and dished out 21 assists. The Bucs hit on just 41 percent of their shots from the floor, while hitting a respectable 43 percent from 3-point range ... The Bucs were led by sophomore guard Travis Strong (Memphis), who scored 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the floor, while senior James Anthony (Tampa) collected a season-high 20 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.
Non-conference home win streak at 15
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 15 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 and Radford in that time frame.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 110-36 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 75 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 this season, but fell to Belmont in the final game of the year in the championship of the A-Sun Tournament.
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.
RPI and Strength of Schedule
Though the Bucs are not happy with a 5-7 start, it's understandable when considering ETSU has only played three home games so far this season ... More importantly, the team's strength of schedule (SOS) currently ranks 28th in the country ... As for RPI, the Bucs rank a respectable 108th out of 336 Division I teams.
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.
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 second in the A-Sun with an assist/turnover ratio of 1.95, while Pigram ranks eighth with a 1.3 ... As for assists per game, Pigram ranks 5th with 3.8 a game, while Davis ranks 7th at 3.6.
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 1,142 for his career and ranks 20th 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.
Swader, Tiggs breaking out
Entering this season, a great deal was expected of both junior transferKevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) ... Following 12 games, the two are definitely meeting or surpassing those expections ... In the Bucs' win at UNCA, Tiggs scored the game winner with 1.7 seconds left and also picked up 20 points ... In the first Marshall game, Tiggs broke out with a game-high 26 points, and setting career marks in most every statistical category ... In all, Tiggs has scored at least 20 points in five of the Bucs' 12 games, and currently stands tall on the Atlantic Sun stat sheets, ranking seventh in scoring, second in field goal percentage, and eighth in free throw percentage ... Meanwhile, Swader has provided an immediate offensive threat in his first 12 games, currently standing fifth on the team with 7.1 points per game ... Currently, Swader is fifth in the A-Sun with a 44 percent 3-point field goal percentage.
1,114 wins and counting
With a win Jan. 25 against Belmont, the Bucs collected the program's 1,100th win all-time ... In over 80 years of basketball, the Bucs are 1,114-901-27.
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 airing 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.
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.