Bucs, Bruins set to clash once again in A-Sun battle
Friday, February 13, 2009

NASHVILLE (Feb. 14, 2009) -- With the Atlantic Sun Conference race heating up, the ETSU men's basketball team will find itself standing in the line of fire Saturday evening as the Buccaneers invade Curb Event Center to take on rival Belmont in a decisive league matchup at 8 p.m. (EST).

The Bucs (17-7, 11-3) enter the game having suffered a stinging home loss to Stetson -- their only home conference loss of the year -- last Monday inside Memorial Center. Meanwhile, the Bruins (14-9, 10-4) are also looking to rebound after falling to arch rival Lipscomb in the Battle of the Boulevard on Thursday night.

With a win, ETSU will remain tied with Jacksonville at the top of the standings while building a two-game lead over the Bruins, however Belmont will be looking to avenge an 87-57 loss to ETSU from earlier this season -- a game which stands as Belmont's worst defeat since joining the A-Sun.

The game will be available to fans unable to make the trip to Nashville via the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network on the radio, while live video streaming at ASun.TV will also be accessible.

For more on the game, click the game notes link above or read the game notes below:


The series against Belmont

The Bucs and Bruins have met 14 times in their histories, with the series tied 7-7 ... The Bucs were a perfect 5-0 against Belmont prior to 2005, when ETSU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference ... Since that time, ETSU is 2-7 against Belmont ... In fact, three of those games have gone to overtime, with ETSU going 1-2 in those contests, ... The last meeting between the two was an 87-57 ETSU victory at Memorial Center back on Jan. 19.

Last time against Belmont

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 19, 2009) - Racing out to a 16-point halftime lead, the ETSU men's basketball team only poured it on the Belmont Bruins in the second half, building a lead of as many as 33 points and eventually dismissing its Atlantic Sun Conference rival in convincing fashion 87-57 inside Memorial Center ... A raucous season high crowd of 4,196 looked on as the Buccaneers handed the Bruins their program's worst loss since joining the Atlantic Sun Conference. ETSU improved to 13-5 overall, 7-1 in A-Sun play and remains tied with Jacksonville for first place in the league standings. Meanwhile, Belmont drops to 10-7, 6-2 ... The Bucs, who were looking to avenge a heartbreaking loss to Belmont in the semifinals of the A-Sun Tournament last March, simply dominated on both ends of the floor. ETSU hit on 57 percent of its shots from the floor, outrebounded the Bruins 45-35 and forced 17 turnovers on the evening. In addition, the Bucs defense stifled the A-Sun's best offensive squad, holding them to 28 percent shooting (18-of-64) from the floor and just 20 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (7-of-35) ... Senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) led the offensive charge for the Bucs with a game-high 24 points, while fellow senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) joined Pigram in the 20-point realm with 22. In addition, sophomore guard Micah Williams (Manchester) pitched in 11 points, and senior forward Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) provided a career high 10 points and 10 rebounds to post his first ever double-double ... The first half was all ETSU from the start. Powered by eight points from Tiggs, ETSU blitzed out to a 14-5 lead before the under 16:00 media timeout. After trading baskets over the next two minutes, another 16-2 run by the Bucs made it 30-13 with 8:06 left, and from there the two teams traded baskets to make it 44-28 at the break ... In the first 20 minutes, Tiggs led all scorers with 15 points, as the Bucs hit on 53 percent of their shots from the floor (18-of-34) and outscored the Bruins 24-8 in the paint. While the offense rolled, the defense was equally impressive by holding Belmont to just 30 percent shooting from the floor and 20 percent from beyond the arc ... The Bucs only kept the pressure on the second half, outscoring Belmont 22-14 in the first eight minutes to basically put the game away ... For Belmont, guard Alex Renfroe led the way with a team-high 16 points, while fellow guard Andy Wicke pitched in 12 and Keaton Belcher had 11.

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 9, 2009) - Senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) missed a running jumper with three seconds remaining in regulation, as Stetson held on for an upset win over first-place ETSU 64-63 Monday evening inside Memorial Center ... The Buccaneers (17-7, 11-3) did not lead at any point in the game, but managed to overcome an 11-point deficit over the final five minutes and pulled to within one following a made free throw by forward Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) with 1:34 left in the game. From there, the Bucs made a pair of defensive stops but Pigram missed on two different opportunities to give ETSU the lead in the final minute as Stetson (11-12, 8-7) garnered the win ... The rally during the final minutes washed away what was an otherwise forgettable evening for the Bucs. Stetson opened the game with a 3-point flurry in the first half, hitting on 10-of-20 long-range bombs to take a 41-33 advantage into the break ... In the second half, the Bucs' fullcourt press finally subdued the Stetson attack and held the Hatters to just 32 percent shooting from the floor and only 23 points in the final 20 minutes. However, as the Hatters struggled the Bucs did not exactly flourish offensively either, hitting on just 36 percent from the floor and going 12-of-18 at the foul line ... In fact, Stetson scored the first five points of the second half to take their largest lead of the game at 46-33, and the Hatters basically held a lead of seven to 10 points from the 14-minute mark until a foul shot by Garfield Blair made it 64-56 with 3:47 left in the game. From there, ETSU got stop after stop defensively and slowly got back into the game. However, ETSU's 7-0 run to close out the contest came up one point shy of forcing overtime or one basket short of the victory ... For the game, ETSU hit on just 41 percent of its shots, but held Stetson to 39 percent shooting. The Bucs forced 20 turnovers by the Hatters, but were outrebounded 40-36. And the stat of the game for ETSU was at the foul line, where the Bucs struggled to go 18-of-29 for a 62 percent clip ... For ETSU, senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) led the way with a game-high 24 points, while Pigram finished with 17. For Stetson, Mark Lohuis scored a team high 13, while both Blair and Kris Thomas pitched in 10 apiece.

"Big Three" making their mark in A-Sun this year

Watching the ETSU men's basketball team this season has shown that there is power in the number three ... With seniors Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and Courtney Pigram (Memphis), along with junior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), the Bucs put three of the best players in league play on the floor at the same time. Currently, Tiggs and Pigram and No. 1 and No. 3 in the league in scoring, while Smith ranks No. 10 on that list ... Meanwhile, at least one of the three rank in the Top 10 of at least seven other major statistical categories, such as field goal percentage, rebounding, 3-point field goal percentage, steals, assists, assist/turnover ratio, defensive rebounds and minutes played.

Pigram moves to No. 4 on the all-time scoring list

With his 27-point effort against Florida Gulf Coast (Feb. 7), ETSU senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) moved to No. 4 on the all-time scoring list ... Pigram now stands at 1,891 points passed former ETSU great Calvin Talford (1988-1992), who collected 1,872 points in his career ... Here are the Top 5 scorers in ETSU history:

1. Tim Smith (2002-2006) 2,300 points

2. Greg Dennis (1987-1992) 2,204 points

3. Keith "Mister" Jennings (1987-1991) 1,988 points

4. Courtney Pigram (2005-2009) 1, 891 points *

5. Calvin Talford (1988-92) 1,872 points

* at present time

ETSU the "only" A-Sun team picked among nation's best "Prestige" programs

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (July 22, 2008) - Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball - marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 - the ETSU men's basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to a new "Prestige" ranking released by ESPN.com ... The Buccaneers, who have enjoyed six NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, seven 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85, ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. The Bucs also were placed ahead of every current member of the Colonial Athletic Association with the exception of Old Dominion ... In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.

Three 1,000-point

scoreres on the

same team?

While it is not rare to have multiple players on the same team that "eventually" become 1,000-point scorers, having multiple players on the same team that have already eclipsed 1,000-points is rare ... This season, the Bucs have a possibility of having three players that have all reached 1,000 points in their careers ... Those players include Courtney Pigram (Memphis), Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) ... Currently, Pigram has already reached that mark and stands at 1,891 points for his career, while Tiggs has 967 points and Smith has posted 943 for his career ... With a guaranteed seven games left, Tiggs would have to average 4.7 points a game and Smith would need 8.1 a contest to reach 1,000 points ... The only two times in ETSU history that the Bucs have had three or more 1,000 point scorers on the floor at the same time was in 1990-91 and 2003-04 ... In 1990-91, four 1,000-point scorers were on the floor together at the same time, Keith "Mister" Jennings, Calvin Talford, Major Geer and Alvin West were on the floor together ... The other season this occurred was in 2003-04, when Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood and Tim Smith all reached 1,000 points.

Pigram, Tiggs impressive on offensive end in 2008-09

Seniors Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) have enjoyed impressive offensive performances this season, and the two rank among the nation's best when it comes to offensive production ... As of Feb. 13, Tiggs leads the Atlantic Sun Conference and ranks 18th nationally with a 20.8 points per game average (as of Feb. 12), while Pigram ranks third in the A-Sun with 18.6 points a game (as of Feb. 2) ... Pigram is one of just four active players nationally with more than 1,500 points, 350 assists and 200 steals in their careers ... That list includes:

Player, School......................................................Asts Stls Pts

David Holston, Chicago State 419 204 1959

Courtney Pigram, ETSU 380 217 1891

Dominic James, Marquette 576 208 1631

Jerel McNeal, Marquette 375 245 1606

17-7 start ranks as one of best ever for Bucs

The Bucs 17-7 mark matches is the best start for ETSU since the 2003-04 season, when that team opened the year at 20-4 through 24 games ... The Bucs' three non-conference road wins this season (Tn. Tech, Marshall and Appalachian), also fall just one win shy of the 2003-04 season in which the Bucs won four non-conference road games (Houston, UNC-A, Tn. Tech and Fresno State) ... That 2003-04 squad ultimately finished with 27 wins, a SoCon regular season and tournament title, and a trip to the NCAAs.

Bartow reaches 100th victory at ETSU;

recently eclipsed 200 career wins with Wingate victory

ETSU head coach Murry Bartow reached 100 wins at ETSU with the Buccaneers 81-61 win over Mercer (12/5), a milestone which comes after just having reached 200 career coaching wins as the Buccaneers defeated Wingate (11/20) ... Bartow is now 215-151 for his career, a 59 percent winning percentage ... Bartow, the son of legendary coach Gene Bartow, is also 113-68 (.628) at ETSU, which gives him the best winning percentage in school history ... In his previous five seasons at ETSU, Bartow has averaged 19 wins a year.

Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 128-39 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 77 percent ... The Bucs 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 that season, but fell to Belmont in the championship of the A-Sun Tourney... In 2007-08, the Bucs were 11-2 at Memorial Center ... This season the Bucs are 9-1 at home.