BOONE, N.C. (Dec. 13, 2008) - ETSU's three-headed monster of Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) left Appalachian State searching for a place to hide Saturday evening inside the Holmes Center.
Renewing a longtime rivalry that dates back to the 1920s, the Buccaneers continued their masterful play on the road, overcoming a two-point halftime deficit to simply dismantle the Mountaineers with a 54-point second half, winning 89-70 in non-conference action. The Bucs were led by Tiggs, who matched his career high with a game-high 31 points, while Pigram posted 29 and Smith pitched in 18. No player on the ASU side of the floor matched any of the Big Three in scoring on the night.
"The Big Three rose up and played great again," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team improved to 6-3 on the year and 4-1 on their current five-game road swing. "The second half we just decided to defend harder, and for our offense to score 54 points was something special. I'm really proud of CP for coming out here and playing the way he did, especially after his grandmother passed away just a couple of days ago."
A big key for the Bucs in the game came at the foul line, where they went 23-of-26 for an 89 percent clip. Meanwhile, defensively ETSU forced 21 Appalachian State turnovers on 13 steals, and the Bucs held their own on the glass against a powerful inside game for the Mountaineers, being out-rebounded just 41-35 on the glass.
For the third game in a row, the Buccaneers got off to a strong start offensively, with Tiggs picking up three early dunks and a pair of 3-pointers from Pigram powering the Bucs to a 19-12 lead with 11:46 left in the first half. However, the Mountaineers answered by outscoring the Bucs 23-10 over the next nine minutes to build a 35-29 lead at the 2:39 mark, but ETSU managed to cut into the advantage thanks to four straight free throws from Smith and Tiggs in the final seconds, making the score 37-35 in favor of ASU at the break.
Pigram and Tiggs led all scorers in the first half, netting 15 and 12, respectively. The Bucs stayed in the game primarily thanks to their work at the foul line, hitting 10-of-11 for a 90 percent clip.
The second half began with a flurry for the Bucs, who shot out with a quick 7-0 run to lead by five at 42-37. ASU responded to tie the game at 42, but another 8-0 ETSU run powered by a Tiggs' bucket and foul shot, along with a 3-pointer from Pigram made it 50-42 and forced an ASU timeout with 16:09 left in the game. With the game standing at 58-52 with 10:47 left, the Bucs blitzed out with a 12-0 run that was eventually highlighted by a technical foul on ASU head coach Houston Fancher, which left the Bucs up 70-52 with 8:18 remaining.
ETSU kept the pressure on over the next four minutes, building the lead to 21 at 80-59 on a layup by Pigram with 4:24 left, and ultimately cruising to the win.
For Appalachian, Ryann Abraham scored 15, while Isaac Butts and Eduardo Bermudez scored 13 and 10, respectively. With the loss, ASU dropped to 4-3 on the season.
The Bucs will return to action Wednesday evening, finally returning home to take on another former Southern Conference rival Chattanooga, with the game time set for 7 p.m. Visit ETSUBucs.com for more information on the Bucs and about promotions for the game.