Bucs score four points in last six seconds to drop UNC Asheville in overtime; Tiggs scores game winner
Saturday, November 24, 2007



ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 24, 2007) - In one of the most fantastic finishes in ETSU basketball history, the Buccaneers scored four points in the final six seconds of overtime and got the game winning basket from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) with 1.7 seconds remaining to hand UNC Asheville its first loss of the season 89-87 Saturday afternoon inside the Justice Center.


"What can you say about that kind of win except, ‘Wow!'," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team improved to 2-2 on the season. "This says a lot about this team. To face another tough game on the road and find a way to get the win is special. What can you say about Kevin and his play at the end, and Travis Strong really stepped up for us tonight."


Indeed, while Tiggs scored 18 including the game winner, fifth-year senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) showed up in a big way, tying his career high for 3-pointers with five and scoring a season high 23 points. Meanwhile, senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) netted 18 points and junior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) returned from injury to pitch in 10. More remarkably for the Bucs, the team won despite not getting a point from junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), who remains at 998 points for his career.


For the Bucs, the game looked like a repeat story of close loses at Dayton and Marshall earlier this season, as ETSU gave up a large second half lead and ultimately ended up in overtime on the road against a team with all the momentum. But this time fate fell on the Bucs' side of the coin.


While the Bucs led most of the way, the Bulldogs (5-1) rallied back to tie the game at 54 and actually led by as many as five with 7:20 left in the regulation. While the two teams traded baskets the rest of the way, it was sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) who sank a 15-foot jump shot with just under 30 seconds left to tie the game at 73-73. Both teams had possessions in the final seconds to win, but neither was able to come through with a score and the game went to OT.


Overtime was a back-and-forth affair as well, but it was the final six seconds that will be long remembered. With ETSU trailing by two at 87-85, the Bucs had possession and put the ball in Davis' hands to attempt to tie the game with a drive to the basket. Instead, Davis committed an offensive foul and gave the ball back to UNCA. At this point, though, Bulldogs' forward Vincent James attempted to run the baseline on the inbounds, committing an unforced turnover and giving the ball back to ETSU under its own basket.


ETSU quickly ran an inbounds play to Reed who tied the game with five seconds left on a lay up. Unbelievably, James then committed his second turnover in just two seconds, throwing the ball off the hands of a teammate and into the waiting arms of Tiggs, who drove to the basket to score the winning bucket with 1.7 remaining.


The Bucs got out to a sluggish start in the first half, trailing 8-4 at the first media timeout with 15:45 remaining before intermission. UNC Asheville's giant 7-foot-7 Kenny George blocked three shots in the opening minutes and scored five points, disrupting the ETSU offense often but having to go to the bench later in the half with two fouls. George ultimately was one of the stories of the game, finishing with 13 points, nine rebounds and eight blocks, basically taking over game with his enormous presence and wing span.


In the end, the Bucs had a quality stat line with just 16 turnovers and 15 assists, picking up 10 steals and forcing 25 UNCA turnovers. ETSU shot 46 percent from the floor, 44 percent from the foul line and out-rebounded the Bulldogs 43-41.


For Asheville, six players scored in double figures, with K.J. Garland netting 21 and James pitching in 16.


ETSU will return to the road Wednesday night, renewing its former Southern Conference rivalry with Chattanooga in the Roundhouse. Tip is set for 7 p.m.