JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 9, 2009) -- With a new claim on sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference, the ETSU men's basketball team will try to hold onto this precious territory Monday evening as the Buccaneers welcome conference foe Stetson into the Memorial Center. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
ETSU's 102-78 win over Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday, coupled with Jacksonville's last second loss to Mercer earlier in the day, has given the Bucs (17-6 overall, 11-2 A-Sun) a one-game lead over both JU and Belmont in the conference standings.
The meeting with the Hatters will be the last home game for the Bucs before they face a daunting four-game road swing that will take them to Belmont, Lipscomb, USC Upstate and Campbell. ETSU -- which has seven league games remaining -- will then return home to close out the regular season Feb. 26 against Kennesaw State and Feb. 28 against Mercer.
For more on Monday's game, click on the game notebook link above or read the game notes below:
The series against Stetson
The Bucs and Hatters have met 10 times, with ETSU holding a 7-3 advantage in the all-time series ... Since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06, the Bucs are 4-2 against Stetson ... ETSU won the last meeting between the two schools 73-67 back on Jan. 10, 2009 in Deland, Fla.
Last time against Stetson
DeLAND, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2009) - Senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) finished with a game-high 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds and junior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) added 17, as the Bucs rallied past Stetson 73-67 Saturday afternoon inside the Edmunds Center ... The win keeps ETSU's conference record unblemished, as the Bucs move to 11-4, 5-0 in the A-Sun. Stetson dropped to 6-8, 3-3 with the loss ... In addition to the stellar play of Tiggs and Smith, red-shirt freshman Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) and freshman Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) enjoyed their homecoming to the Sunshine State. Brown tallied his first career double-double, finishing with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds; while Sollazzo came off the bench and added four points, five rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes ... Trailing 40-36 at the break, ETSU came out on fire to start the second half, as the Bucs posted a 14-3 run to capture a 50-43 lead when senior Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) came through untouched to slam home a (Mike) Smith miss with 15:08 remaining in the game. From there, the Hatters scored 10 of the next 14 points to creep back into the contest, 54-53, after Tim Lang nailed a jumper with 10:01 on the clock ... After the Hatter run, the game became a slugfest as both teams couldn't pull away from one another ... Fortunately, for the Bucs, over the next six and half minutes they looked to build momentum by moving their margin up to six (65-59), following a Smith jumper at the 3:39 mark; however, A.J. Smith's third 3-pointer of the game pulled the Hatters to within three, 67-64, with 1:49 to play in the contest .... Then, with the Bucs leading 67-64 and coming out of a 30-second timeout, Sollazzo was double-teamed at midcourt, but found Hamlin open and he dished a pass across to Brown for an uncontested dunk with 49 seconds remaining. The slam solidified the game as Tiggs scored the last four Buccaneer points and ETSU walked away with its sixth road victory of the season ... Hamlin tied a career high with seven rebounds and was one point shy of tying a career high in points - finishing with eight points, three assists and two blocks. Senior Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ended with five points and three assists before going down with an undisclosed ankle injury late in the first half.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 7, 2009) - Well aware that they were facing one of only two teams to beat them in Atlantic Sun Conference play this season, the ETSU Buccaneers produced their best offensive game of the season and rolled to a 102-78 win over Florida Gulf Coast Saturday afternoon in front of 4,045 fans at Memorial Center ... The win avenged a 64-61 loss to the Eagles earlier this season, and moved the Bucs to 17-6 overall, 11-2 in A-Sun play. With Jacksonville's 72-71 loss to Mercer earlier in the day, ETSU now holds sole possession of first place in the conference standings ... ETSU's "Big Three" - seniors Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Kevin Tiggs (Memphis), and junior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) - were certainly on their game in this contest. Smith collected his third straight double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Tiggs posted a game high 29 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Pigram finished with 27 points, moving his career scoring clip to 1,874 and overtaking former ETSU great Calvin Talford for fourth place on the all-time scoring list ... The first half did not start out in a good way for the Buccanners, as the Eagles used some pinpoint 3-point shooting to shred the ETSU man-to-man defense and build a 23-15 lead with 13 minutes left in the half. However, from there the Bucs changed to a 2-3 zone and clamped down defensively, allowing just one field goal over the next six minutes and kicking up the offense on a 21-4 run that ended with the Bucs holding a 36-27 advantage ... ETSU didn't let up at that point, outscoring FGCU 16-8 the rest of the half to post its best offensive first half of the year and lead 52-35 at the break. In the first 20 minutes, the Bucs shot 57 percent from the field and were 58 percent from 3-point range, while holding the Eagles to just 27 percent shooting. The Bucs outrebounded FGCU 24-18 in the first half ... The second half was more of the same for the Bucs, as ETSU posted another 50 points in 20 minutes of play and shot 48 percent from the field. Ultimately, the Bucs out-rebounded FGCU 47-38 and forced 17 turnovers by the Eagles. ETSU shot 52 percent from the field and an impressive 50 percent from 3-point range in the victory ... For FGCU, Reed Baker and Reggie Chambers had 18 points apiece, while Derrik O'Neil added 10.
"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. 2 in the league in scoring, while Smith ranks No. 9 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 Saturday afternoon against Florida Gulf Coast, ETSU senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) moved to No. 4 on the all-time scoring list ... Pigram now stands at 1,874 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, 874 points *
5. Calvin Talford (1988-92) 1,872 points
* at present time
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 1,874 points for his career, while Tiggs has 943 points and Smith has posted 935 for his career ... With a guaranteed 8 games left, Tiggs would have to average 7.1 points a game and Smith would need 8.2 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.
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.
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 Jan. 25, Tiggs leads the Atlantic Sun Conference and ranks 23rd nationally with a 20.3 points per game average (as of Feb. 2), while Pigram ranks second in the A-Sun with 18.3 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 376 213 1874
Dominic James, Marquette 576 208 1631
Jerel McNeal, Marquette 375 245 1606
17-6 start ranks as one of best ever for Bucs
The Bucs 17-6 mark matches is the best start for ETSU since the 2003-04 season, when that team opened the year at 19-4 through 20 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 215-150 for his career, a 59 percent winning percentage ... Bartow, the son of legendary coach Gene Bartow, is also 113-67 (.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.