Bucs hope to stay hot against North Florida
Sunday, January 4, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 5, 2009) -- After one of the most impressive individual performances in ETSU men's basketball history, senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) hopes to build on his 39-point effort against Jacksonville on Saturday, as the Buccaneers take on North Florida in Atlantic Sun Conference play Monday inside Memorial Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

The Bucs -- who are now in sole possession of first place in the A-Sun -- hope to keep things goings, as they are off to a 9-4 overall start and have a perfect 3-0 mark in league action. Meanwhile, UNF has struggled to a 2-11, 0-3 record so far this season. ETSU's 9-4 record is the best start for a Buccaneer team since the 2003-04 season.

The game will air on live video streaming available at ASun.TV, while the live radio broadcast will be offered on the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network's flagship and affiliate stations, as well as on ETSUBucs.com.

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

The series against North Florida

ETSU and North Florida have met only five times ... Both schools joined the Atlantic Sun Conference for the 2005-06 season and the Bucs are 5-0 all-time against the Ospreys, including a 92-68 victory in their last meeting back on Jan. 27, 2008.

Last time against North Florida

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 27, 2008) - Senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) scored a game high 19 points, leading a group of Buccaneers that posted double figures as the ETSU men's basketball team grounded the North Florida Ospreys 92-68 in Atlantic Sun Conference action at Memorial Center ... A crowd of 3,562 witnessed the Bucs improve to 11-9 overall, 5-2 in A-Sun play, keeping pace just one game behind Jacksonville for first place in the regular season standings. Meanwhile, a nightmarish season continued for UNF, as the Ospreys dropped to 1-18, 0-7 ... While Swader led the way with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor - including a 3-of-5 showing from 3-point range - the Bucs also got 14 points and 11 rebounds from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who picked up his second double-double of the season. Along with Swader and Tiggs, senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) added 18 points, while senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) pitched in 12 points apiece ... In the first half, UNF had the game tied at 7-7, but from there the Bucs went on a 25-9 offensive run to build a 16-point lead at 32-16 with just over five minutes left before the intermission. The Ospreys got to within 13 with 2:47 left, but ultimately a 3-pointer from senior post Reed and four straight from Pigram made it 48-32 at the break ... The Bucs opened the second half where they had left off in the first half, going on a 15-7 run to increase their advantage to 24 points at 63-39. ETSU kept the pressure on with a bevy of 3-pointers to ultimately lead by as many as 30 with just over six minutes remaining in the contest ... In all, the Bucs out-rebounded the Ospreys 46-35, while forcing UNF into 18 turnovers on eight steals. In addition, ETSU hit on 80 percent of its foul shots (28-of-35) and shot 43 percent from the field ... North Florida got a team high 17 points from Stan Januska, while Tom Hammonds and Kyle Groothuis netted 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 3, 2009) - Senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) set a career high and nearly broke the Memorial Center single game scoring mark by scoring 39 points, while junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) sank a floating shot with 4.5 seconds left in regulation, lifting ETSU past Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville 84-82 Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Center ... After Smith missed two free throws with 44.9 seconds left, Jacksonville's Leman Colbert later tied the game at 82-82 with a pair shots from the charity stripe with 32 seconds left. Smith then found redemption, taking a pass from Pigram and driving to the left to make a 10-foot floater off the glass, giving the Bucs the lead 84-82 with 4.5 seconds left. Jacksonville's Travis Cohn later had a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that came up short and the Bucs escaped with the win ... With the victory, ETSU improves to 9-4 overall, 3-0 in A-Sun play, while Jacksonville fell to 3-8, 2-1 ... Pigram was joined in double figures by Smith with 11 and fellow senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) with 13. Meanwhile, on the boards freshman post Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) led the Bucs with a team high 11 rebounds. For Jacksonville, six Dolphins reached double figures with Lehmon Colbert scoring a team high 15 points, while teammate Marcus Allen posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds ... In the first half, the Bucs got off to slow start and allowed Jacksonville to pull ahead by nine points on a couple of occasions, including a 29-20 advantage with just over seven minutes left before the break. Five 3-pointers - with three coming from guard Evan Jefferson - were the key to the Dolphins early success. ETSU responded in the final minutes, outscoring JU 15-10 the rest of the way to make the score 39-35 at the break ... The Bucs rallied out of the gate in the second half, using their fullcourt press defense to get a pair of turnovers and ultimately take the lead at 49-48 on a 3-pointer by Pigram with just under 17 minutes left in the game. Jacksonville then responded with an 8-0 run of its own to make it 56-49 with 15:16 left in the game, but powered by nine straight points from Pigram the Bucs outscored the Dolphins 17-8 over the next three minutes to make it 66-64 with 10:39 left ... In a game of runs, a 7-0 burst by the Dolphins was followed by another 9-0 stretch by the Bucs that made it 75-71 in favor of ETSU with 5:49 remaining in the game. JU regained the lead at 76-75 thanks to a bucket by Colbert and a 3-pointer from guard Ben Smith, but three straight foul shots by the Bucs made it 78-76 with 3:27 left ... From there, ETSU built a five-point lead at 81-76, but shooting 1-of-5 from the line down the stretch, Jacksonville was able to tie the game on Colbert's free throws, setting up Smith's heroics.

Pigram remarkable in 39-point effort agains JU

He had "that" look, and ETSU fans were treated to one of the most impressive individual performances in Buccaneer basketball history ... Senior guard Courtney Pigram's 39-point effort in ETSU's 84-82 victory over Jacksonville in Jan. 3 tied for 9th on the program's all-time single game scoring list, while coming up just three points shy of the Memorial Center's all-time single game scoring mark of 42 points, which was set by Dimeco Childress against Western Carolina back on Feb. 14, 2002 ... Pigram's efforts moved him to an average of 20.5 points per game, which ranks second in the league behind teammate Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who is first in the league at 21.0 ppg.

9-4 start ranks as one of best ever for Bucs

Since the 1966-67 season, only 12 other ETSU teams have started the season at 9-4 or better ... And in fact, none of those teams played fewer home games in their first 12 contests than this year's squad, which has played at home just twice this season ... In more recent years, the Bucs 9-4 mark matches the same start for the 2003-04 season, when that team opened the year at 9-4 through 13 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.

Tiggs currently ranked among nation's best scorers

Having scored 168 points in just the last six games, ETSU senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) currently ranks 13th in the country in scoring with 21.0 points per game ... Tiggs leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in points, while senior teammate Courtney Pigram (Memphis) is just behind in second place at 18.6 a contest ... In fact, Tiggs and Pigram are the only two players in the country from the same team to be No. 1 and No. 2 on their conference scoring list.

Brown steps up to join the Big Three

While senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), and junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) have been the talk of ETSU fans and Atlantic Sun opponents, redshirt freshman forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) has gotten into the act lately, helping the Bucs to their second league win of the season, 76-62 over Kennesaw State ... Brown scored a career high 18 points, and set personal marks for field goals (nine), field goals attempted (10), and minutes (38) ... He then followed up that performance in the Bucs' next A-Sun game, posting a career high and team best 11 rebounds in the win over Jacksonville (1/3).

ETSU 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.

Tiggs also in "rare air" with nation's best scorers

For senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), the month of December has certainly been special when it comes to his scoring efforts ... In a recent listing of best scorers in December (12/23), Tiggs ranks 8th overall:

Stephen Curry, Davidson 37.3

Ben Woodside, N.Dak State 33.3

Stephen McDowell, Chattanooga 31.0

Jermaine Taylor, UCF 30.5

Three tied at 29.0

Michael Bramos, Miami of Ohio 27.8

Kevin Tiggs, ETSU 27.7

Tiggs is also 1 of 10 in the country averaging at least 20 ppg and shooting at least 50.0 percent from the floor. Those players include:

Blake Griffin of Oklahoma, James Harden of Arizona State, Drake Reed of Austin Peay, Travis Holmes of VMI, Jerome Randle of California, Chavis Holmes of VMI, David Huertas of Mississippi, Kevyn Green of Southesat Louisiana, Sam Young of Pittsburgh, Eric Maynor of VCU, and Manny Harris of Michigan.

Pigram makes history with triple-double

With his 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Wingate (11/20), senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) became just the second ETSU player to record a triple-double and the first to reach that special feat in NCAA Division I play this season ... He joins former Buc Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) on that exclusive list at ETSU ... In Atlantic Sun Conference play, Pigram is just the sixth player to accomplish that feat since 1996-97, and he is the first to post a triple-double against a non-conference opponent ... A full list of those players can be found below:

A-Sun Triple Doubles

Since 1996-97

Player School Date Opp Pt-Rb-Ast

Courtney Pigram ETSU 11/20/08 Wingate 21-10-10

Tim Smith ETSU 1/25/06 KSU 21-10-10

Damitrius Coleman Mercer 2/27/05 JU 13-14-14

Damitrius Coleman Mercer 1/03/05 FAU 14-12-11

Kingsley Edwards UCF 1/16/05 Troy 10-10-14

Dexter Lyons UCF 1/11/03 Troy 14-13-10