JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 29, 2008) -- Back home after time off to visit family over Christmas, the ETSU men's basketball team hopes to continue one of the best starts in program history as the Buccaneers return to Memorial Center to take on former Ohio Valley Conference foe Morehead State. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
The Bucs, who are currently 8-3 overall, 2-0 in Atlantic Sun Conference play, have matched the 8-3 start of the 2003-04 Buccaneers -- a team that ultimately won 27 games, captured regular season and conference titles, and played in the NCAA Tournament.
Fans wishing to watch the game will have access to the video stream at ASun.TV, while a free audio link is available once again, by clicking the link above.
For more on the Bucs as they prepare for their return to action, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link above:
The series against Morehead State
This will be the 50th meeting between former Ohio Valley Conference rivals ETSU and Morehead State ... The series currently stands at 25-24 in favor of the Eagles, with Morehead having won the last meeting between the schools, 77-56, back on Nov. 21, 2006 in Morehead.
Last time against Morehead State
MOREHEAD, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2006) - Hitting on 54 percent of their shots in the second half and posting a 50 percent clip from 3-point range for the game, Morehead State raced past ETSU 77-56 in non-conference men's basketball action inside Johnson Arena ... Guards Quentin Pryor and Cordaryl Ballard led the outside attack for the Eagles, hitting on a combined 7-of-9 from beyond the arc. Pryor scored a game-high 24 points, while Ballard pitched in 10. Along with that outside tandem, forward Shaun Williams netted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds to aid the Eagles' cause ... The Bucs once again played well out of the gate, leading 12-10 with 13:28 left in the half. However, after a 3-pointer by Pryor made it 13-12, the Eagles never looked back, slowly building a lead of as many as 11 points and ending the half with a nine-point advantage at 38-29 ... Senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) scored the first basket after the intermission to make it a seven-point game at 38-31, but that would be as close as it would get the rest of the way as the Morehead State shooters took over. In all, the Eagles would hit on 55 percent of their 3-point attempts in the second half and finish the game with a 21-point advantage ... For ETSU, Nuckles led the way with 14 points and eight rebounds, while freshman guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) scored 10 points. The Bucs shot just 39 percent from the floor and were out-rebounded by the Eagles 37-29.
Last time out
KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 23, 2008) - In a coming out party for the redshirt freshman forward, ETSU's Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) posted a career high 18 points and grabbed a team high six rebounds to lift the ETSU men's basketball team to a Christmas victory over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State 76-62 Tuesday inside the KSU Convocation Center ... Along with Brown's personal best offensively - which included six dunks on the night - the Buccaneers got double-digit scoring from three other players, including a game-high 19 points from both junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), and 15 from senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ... Early on in the game, ETSU shot well over 50 percent and spent much of the first half building a nine-point lead at 23-14 with just over four minutes left in the half. The Owls then pulled to within three thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by freshman guard Spencer Dixon, but a bucket by senior forward Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) later led to a technical foul on Kennesaw State head coach Tony Ingle and the Bucs blitzed back out to a 28-20 advantage ... KSU battled back to cut the lead to four points on a couple of occasions late in the half, but a three-point play and a 3-point basket by Smith with six seconds left in the half made it 34-26 at the break. The Bucs shot a strong 57 percent from the floor in the first half with Smith leading all scorers by posting 12 points ... In the second half, the Owls hit a pair of 3-pointers to start the final 20 minutes and ultimately hit three straight 3s in the opening minutes to make it 39-35 with 15:54 left in the game. KSU got to within two at 39-37, but from there the Bucs used an 18-8 run to pull ahead by 12 at 57-45 with 7:59 left in regulation ... From there, Brown dunked on three straight possessions and scored eight consecutive points, pushing the advantage to 63-45. The Owls managed an 8-0 run in the final minutes to make it 69-60 with 1:12 left, but the Bucs held on from the foul line and never looked back ... For the game, the Bucs shot 53 percent from the field and forced 19 KSU turnovers on 10 steals. However, the Owls did enjoy a definitive advantage on the glass, out-rebounding ETSU 37-25 and grabbing 20 offensive rebounds to just nine for the Bucs ... For the Owls, Kevin McConnell scored a team-high 18, while Jon-Michael Nickerson and J.D. Pollock pitched in 13 and 12, respectively. KSU also got a game-high 11 rebounds from Zadrian Gibson.
8-3 start ranks as one of best ever for Bucs
Since the 1966-67 season, only 12 other ETSU teams have started the season at 8-3 or better ... And in fact, none of those teams played fewer home games in their first 11 contests than this year's squad, which has played at home just twice this season ... In more recent years, the Bucs 8-3 mark is the best since the 2003-04 season, when that team opened the year at 8-3 through 11 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 134 points in just the last five games, ETSU senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) currently ranks 13th in the country in scoring with 21.7 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.) got into the act last week, 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).
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, 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.
ETSU picked among nation's best
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.
Bucs hope to extend non-conference home win streak, which currently stands at 19
Over the last five seasons, the Bucs have fared well against non-conference opponents within the confines of Memorial Center ... In fact, the Bucs have won 19 straight non-conference home games since losing a 90-73 contest to Fresno State back on Nov. 27, 2004 ... ETSU has wins over teams such as Marshall (twice), Tennessee Tech (twice), Chattanooga (twice), Central Michigan, Morehead State, UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky, Radford and Appalachian State during that time frame.
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
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
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 206-147 for his career, a 58 percent winning percentage ... Bartow, the son of legendary coach Gene Bartow, is also 103-64 (.617) 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.