Bucs roll past Mars Hill in exhibition action, 96-72
Saturday, November 3, 2007


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 3, 2007) - With six players scoring in double figures, the ETSU men's basketball team opened its 2007-08 season with an exhibition win over Mars Hill, 96-72, Saturday afternoon in front of 3,453 fans at Memorial Center.


The Buccaneers, who enter the new season as the defending Atlantic Sun Conference champions, got a team high 12 points apiece from sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and junior college transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.). In addition, junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) netted 11 apiece, while senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) and junior guard Jacolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) pitched in 10 each.


"I thought we did a lot of good things tonight, and obviously we've got a lot of guys that can score the ball," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "In a game like this you want to play a lot of guys and we did that, but it can be sloppy at times. It's a good start for us, but there are areas for improvement."


The good news for the Bucs came in the areas of field goal percentage, steals and rebounds, with ETSU hitting on 53 percent of its shots, forcing 21 Mars Hill turnovers with 14 steals, and out-rebouning the Lions 44-37. However, the bad news for ETSU came in the form of 23 turnovers of its own, and the Bucs gave up 18 offensive rebounds.


In the first half, the Bucs led by a score of just 14-12 with 13:32 left before the break, but progressively increased that cushion to as much as 53-31 with 1:26 remaining. In the second half, ETSU didn't stop the point barrage, outscoring the Lions 43-39 and finishing the game with a 24-point advantage.


For Mars Hill, P.J. Gore led the way with a game-high 19 points, while Jamarl Glen pitched in 17. The Lions shot just 35.3 percent from the floor and hit on just 28.6 percent of their 3-point shots. In the paint, Josh Goble picked up a game


ETSU got a game-high six assists and five steals from sophomore Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville) in just 21 minutes of action, while Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) picked up a team-high five rebounds. The game was marred by several official calls, with Mars Hill committing 31 fouls and the Bucs committing 26 of their own.


The Bucs will return to action in their season opener next Saturday afternoon on the road against Atlantic 10 foe Dayton. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m. and it can be heard on the Mountain States Health Alliance Buccaneer Sport Network's radio affiliates or on the live audio stream at ETSUBucs.com.