Bucs, Herd set to meet on "Blue Out" night Tuesday
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fans asked to wear ETSU blue shirts to game with Marshall



JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 3, 2007) - When the ETSU men's basketball team faces Marshall Tuesday night, the Buccaneers are hoping to drown the Thundering Herd in a sea of blue.


The first-ever "Blue Out" is scheduled for 7 p.m. as the Bucs face their former Southern Conference foes inside the Memorial Center. ETSU athletic officials are asking Bucs fans to wear their ETSU blue shirts to the game. Fans wearing a blue shirt to the game will be given a special 10 percent discount at the merchandise booths inside the Dome.


 "We just want to build on what is already a great home court advantage for us in Memorial Center," said ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins. "How great would it look to have the whole arena filled with blue shirts and really create an exciting environment for our team and our fans. Fostering tradition, pride and more fan support only makes the experience of ETSU game days better for everyone."


The Bucs (3-3) will be looking to avenge a one-point, overtime loss to Marshall (4-1) earlier this year. In that game, the Bucs led throughout and by as many as 12 points in the second half, only to see the Herd tie the game in the final seconds and hold on for the narrow victory.


ETSU fans unable to attend or Marshall fans wishing to watch the game can do so live by visiting ASun.TV and ordering the video stream of the game. For more information on the game, see the notes section below or click on the game notes link located above.


Buc Shots

A seven-time NCAA Tournament participant and two-time NIT participant, the ETSU Buccaneers ended the 2007-08 season coming off a regular season Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 24-10 overall record, 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.), 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 finished last season 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 ranked as a team and individually in the NCAA charts last season on page 4.

Last week and a look ahead to this week

The Buccaneers went 1-1 in action last week, moving their 2007-08 record to 3-3 ... ETSU dropped Tennessee Wesleyan 98-60 on Dec. 1, but fell to in-state rival Chattanooga on the road earlier in the week, 82-78 ... The Bucs continue to lead the A-Sun in several statistical categories, including scoring offense (83 ppg), scoring margin (+8.5), field goal percentage (50 percent), field goal percentage defense (41 percent), and 3-point field goal percentage (40 percent) ... Junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) is the Bucs' top scorer with 15.7 points per game, while three other teammates are averaging double figures junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) with 15.3 ppg, senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) with 11.8, and senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) with 11.2 ... ETSU will return to non-conference action this week with a home meeting with Conference USA opponent Marshall Tuesday night, followed by a trip to Stillwater, Okla., on Saturday to take on Oklahoma State ... Tip for the Marshall game is set for 7 p.m., with the Oklahoma State game scheduled for 8 p.m.

Non-conference home win streak at 14

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 14 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, 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 109-36 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 75 percent ... 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 series against Marshall

With a long history as Southern Conference rivals from the late 1970s until 1997, the Bucs -- now a member of the Atlantic Sun -- and the Herd -- now a member of Conference USA -- have met a total of 44 times in both league and non-conference action ... Currently, ETSU holds a 23-21 advantage in the series, but that edge was made smaller in the teams' most recent meeting earlier this season, an 84-83 overtime win by the Thundering Herd back on Nov. 20 ... This is the second game in an unusual home-and-home, same season series among non-conference opponents.

Last time out against Marshall

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Nov. 20, 2007) - In a game that Marshall never led in regulation, the Thundering Herd managed to overcome a 12-point second half deficit to force overtime and eventually escape with an 84-83 win over ETSU in non-conference men's basketball action at the Cam Henderson Center ... The Buccaneers (1-2) led 61-49 with just over 11 minutes left in the game, only to see the Thundering Herd (2-0) battle back to tie the game on guard Darryl Merthie's lay up with just over three seconds left in regulation. In overtime, the two teams traded the lead five times, and the contest was not decided until the final eight seconds when Bucs' guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyille) stole a Marshall in-bounds pass and dished the ball to junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), whose last second 3-pointer rimmed out ... n the first half, the Bucs didn't trail at all, jumping out to a 13-6 lead in the first five minutes. While Marshall did battle back to tie the game at 18-18 with 11:39 remaining before the break, the Bucs took a 27-24 game at the 7:34 mark and went on a 13-4 run to enjoy their largest lead of the half at 40-28. However, at that point the Herd used an 8-0 run to close out the half and trail just 40-36 at the break ... The second half began with the Herd staying close, but an ETSU run midway through the second 20 minutes matched the Bucs' largest lead of the game at 61-49. But again, Marshall - taking advantage of ETSU's foul trouble and scoring 11 more points from the line than the Bucs - tied the game in the final seconds. Twilley had a desperation 3-pointer bank off the rim no good and the two teams entered overtime tied at 77-77 ... In the overtime, neither team led by more than two points, and the lead changed five times. Twilley's lay up attempt with just over 10 seconds left rimmed out and Marshall got the call on the out-of-bounds, leaving the Bucs needing to grab a steal. Twilley got what the Bucs needed but Pigram's shot - which would have given him 1,001 points for his career - rimmed out ... Junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) led the way for ETSU offensively, scoring a career high and game high 26 points. Meanwhile, Pigram and sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) each pitched in 13 points, while senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) and senior post Andrew Reed netted 12 and 10, respectively. The Bucs shot 55 percent from the floor and out-rebounded Marshall 40-38 (even though the Herd held a 20-10 advantage on the offensive glass).

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 1, 2007) - Thanks to a 3-point shooting barrage in the first half and a double-double from junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), the ETSU men's basketball team evened its season record to 3-3 with a 98-60 victory over Tennessee-Wesleyan Saturday afternoon inside the Memorial Center ... While Pigram finished with 14 points and 11 assists on the night, the Buccaneers also got a game-high 21 points from senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis), who matched his career high with five 3-pointers on the night. Two other Bucs reached double figures, as senior guard Kenyona Swader (Smyrna, Tenn.) and freshman wing Micah Williams (Manchester) pitched in 17 and 12, respectively ... In all, the Bucs would shoot 58 percent from the field and a blistering 61 percent from 3-point range, forcing the Bulldogs into 31 turnovers and owning the battle of the boards 41-25. ETSU managed that performance despite juggling its starting lineup for the first time this season and playing Pigram at the point guard spot ... The Bulldogs took the early 2-0 lead on a pair of free throws by Willie Maclin and kept the game tight at 9-7 entering the first media timeout. However, from there it was all ETSU over the next six minutes as the Bucs went on a 19-4 run to take a 28-11 lead with just over seven minutes left in the first half. The ETSU run was powered by four 3-pointers apiece from Strong and Swader, as the Bucs hit on 8-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half and were shooting 77 percent from the floor after the first 20 minutes. At the half, the Bucs led by 26 at 53-27 ... In the second half, the Bulldogs kept the margin in the mid 20s only to have the Bucs pull away in the final minutes for the 38-point advantage ... ETSU held Wesleyan to just 40 percent shooting on the night and grabbed 17 steals from the Bulldogs' offense. The Bucs also had 12 offensive rebounds compared to eight for the Bulldogs ... Maclin led Wesleyan with 14 points, and was the only Bulldog to reach double figures. Off the bench, the Bucs got a game-high eight rebounds from sophomore post Blake Mishler (Metamora, Ill.), while junior transfer Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) picked up a game-high two blocks. Swader's 5-of-6 effort from 3-point range was good for an 83 percent clip which ranks second on the Bucs' all-time single-game list for 3-point percentage. Meanwhile, Williams' 12 points was a career high.

Strong enough?

With his play in recent games, it is obvious that senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) may be trying to work his way into the starting lineup ... A starter in the past, Strong missed last season with a serious knee injury and had filled the role as first off the bench to backup the perimeter this season ... But against Tennessee Wesleyan, Strong was given a starting spot for the first time this season and responded with a game high 21 points, matching his career high with five 3-pointers ... In the last three games, Strong has eclipsed 20 points twice and has scored 59 points (19.7 ppg) ... Currently, Strong stands at 759 points for his career or 8.4 ppg.

Foul issues

With 125 fouls in their first five games -- an average of 25 a contest -- the Buccaneers are certainly hearing the whistle too much ... By comparison, ETSU opponents have committed just 85 fouls against the Bucs ... In particular, during the Bucs three losses of the season -- all on the road -- they have been whistled 26 times (Dayton), 27 times (Marshall) and 30 times (Chattanooga) ... In all three games, the Bucs had multiple players leave the game with five fouls, including three players against UTC ... Against the Mocs, those 30 fouls led to a lop-sided foul shot differential, as the Mocs were 31-of-44 from the line compared to just 17-of-23 for ETSU.

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 1,017 for his career ... 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."

Swader, Tiggs breaking out

Entering this season, a great deal was expected of both junior transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) ... Following six games, the two are definitely meeting or surpassing those expections ... In the Bucs' last win UNCA, Tiggs scored the game winner with 1.7 seconds left and also picked up 20 points ... Against Marshall, 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 three of the Bucs' six games, and currently stands tall on the Atlantic Sun stat sheets, ranking seventh in scoring, second in field goal percentage, third in free throw percentage and third in steals ... Meanwhile, Swader has provided an immediate offensive threat in his first six games, currently standing fifth on the team with 9.3points per game ... Currently, Swader is first in the A-Sun with a 57 percent 3-point field goal percentage, and is 3rd in overall field goal percentage at .606.

Bucs leading the A-Sun in field goal percentage

Currently, the Bucs sport four of the best shooters in the Atlantic Sun Conference, as Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), Kenyona Swader (Smyrna), Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and Travis Strong (Memphis) rank 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively ... For a complete breakdown of the Bucs' standing in the Atlantic Sun Conference stat sheets, see the column to the left.

A great season in 2006-07

With 16 wins in its last 19 games a year ago, ETSU enjoyed a 2006-07 record of 24-10 overall, 16-2 in A-Sun play ... It was the best overall and conference record for the Bucs since the 2003-04 season ... That season, the Bucs were 27-6 and 15-1 in Southern Conference play, losing by three points to Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

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, plans are for ETSU's trips to Oklahoma State (Dec. 8) and Syracuse (Dec. 15) to air live locally, with the Oklahoma State game showing on WAPK and the Syracuse contest airing on WJHL ... The Bucs will also appear on regional cable through the Friday's 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 and click on the men's basketball schedule link.

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