CHARLESTON, S.C. (Nov. 16, 2008) -- With its win on Saturday, the ETSU men's basketball team will play the winner of Hofstra vs. Western Michigan Sunday at 1 p.m. in the fifth place game of the Charleston Classic. The game will be available live on the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network.
For more on the game and up to date statistics, see the game notes below or click on the game notes link.
A seven-time NCAA Tournament and two-time NIT participant, the ETSU Buccaneers enter the 2008-09 season having come up just one win shy of the 20-win mark in 2007-08 and looking to avenge a hard fought loss to Belmont in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament ... With a 19-13 overall mark and a third place finish in regular season league action (11-5) a year ago, the Bucs return their top two and three of their top six scorers from a year ago, led by first-team All Atlantic Sun selection Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ... The 6-1 guard will begin his senior campaign with 1,445 career points after having averaged a team-leading 15.8 points, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals a game last year .... Pigram will be joined by senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who helped power the offense with 14.6 points and a team-high 2.9 offensive rebounds a game last season en route to earning second team All A-Sun honors.
The series against Western Michigan/Hofstra
This will be the first meeting between the Bucs and either Western Michigan or Hofstra.
Last time out
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Nov. 15, 2008) - Several defensive stops in the final minutes, a critical steal and two important defensive rebounds by junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), and a double-double from senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) led the ETSU men's basketball team to a 65-62 win over SIU Edwardsville in the second round of the Charleston Classic Saturday afternoon inside the Carolina First Arena ... Leading 58-50 with 6:50 remaining, the Buccaneers watched the Cougars chip away at their lead and come to within one point at 58-57 with 2:28 left. However, from there Smith hit a clutch 3-pointer, later stole a pass that led to another score, and he grabbed two defensive rebounds - including the final one of the game which came when SIUE's Aaron Garriott's game-tying 3-point attempt clanked off the rim with two seconds left in the game ... Smith finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, and was one of three Buccaneers in double figures scoring. Pigram finished with a double-double, posting 12 points and 12 rebounds, while senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) scored a game-high 19 points ... Defensively, the Bucs were in their fullcourt press early and often, ultimately forcing 16 turnovers on nine steals. ETSU's tough man-to-man held SIU Edwardsville to just 36 percent shooting from the floor and 23 percent (6-of-26) from 3-point range. On the boards, ETSU held the advantage 49-36 ... In the first half, the game started in a similar fashion to the Bucs first game of the tournament against Temple, with the ETSU offense struggling to find a rhythm and score points. Those struggles led to SIU Edwardsville leading for much of the first 10 minutes, but the Bucs recovered and a 9-0 run was capped by a Pigram layup to make it 31-23 with 5:37 left. From there the Cougars slowly came back and a jumper by guard Mark Yelovich with two seconds left in the half made it 40-35 at the break ... ETSU shot 50 percent from both the field and beyond the arc in the first half and out-rebounded the Cougars 24-14 before the break ... For SIUE, Yelovich led the way with 15 points, while guard Aamir McCleary pitched in 12 points and forward Berry Wellington added 10. The Cougars did force 20 ETSU turnovers.
Bartow eyeing 200 career wins, 100 ETSU victories
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow is just one win shy of 200 for his career and needs just four more wins to reach 100 in his time at ETSU ... Bartow, the son of legendary coach Gene Bartow, is 199-145 (.578) in his career and 96-62 (.608) at ETSU ... In his previous five seasons at ETSU, Bartow has averaged 19 wins a year.
Ward to be redshirted
Head coach Murry Bartow announced this weekend during the Charleston Classic that he plans to redshirt true freshman forward J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) ... The 6-6 post had seen playing time in both of ETSU's two exhibition games, but did not play in the opener against Temple and was in street clothes for the SIU Edwardsville game.
Injury bug early on
As the preseason unfolded over the last three weeks, the Bucs have dodged their share of injuries, but will still be without a key starter heading into the season ... Senior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) will miss at least two months with an injured wrist suffered during an attempted car jacking in Atlanta ... Davis' injury means that freshman point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) will be forced into the starting role at the point against Temple ... Meanwhile, freshman post Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) was slowed with an injured foot for much of the preseason and just returned two weeks ago, while sophomore post Tommy Hubbard (Boston) is still nursing a sore elbow and actually missed the SIU Edwardsville game with an injured toe.
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.
Getting defensive and stopping 3-pointers
During the offseason, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow renewed his team's commitment to the defensive end of the floor, promoting assistant coach Scott Wagers to defensive coordinator and empowering the ninth-year assistant to lock down ETSU's opponents ... The main concerns in recent years have been perimeter defense, as a year ago the Bucs averaged a hefty 78.6 points per game, but allowed 77.2 a contest ... Most notably, the Bucs were dismal defending the arc, giving up a school single season record for 3-pointers with opponents breaking the mark for makes (295) and attempts (841).
Pigram named preseason POTY; Bucs picked second
MACON, Ga. (Oct. 8, 2008) - For the second straight year, ETSU guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) is the preseason pick by both coaches and the media to be the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Pigram and the Buccaneers were picked to finish second by the coaches and third by the media in preseason A-Sun voting released Wednesday by the conference office ... Pigram, a senior shooting guard, was the 2007 A-Sun player of the Year and is a two-time All A-Sun First Team Selection. He has scored 1,445 points in his career and led the Bucs in scoring last season with 15.8 a contest ... While Pigram topped the preseason's individual list, an unprecedented three straight conference championships and nine returning letter winners earned the Belmont Bruins the nod from both the coaches and the media as the preseason pick to win their second consecutive Atlantic Sun regular-season title as well as a fourth straight conference championship ... Meanwhile, ETSU's roster features a talented group of players including Pigram, who needs 555 points to join Centenary's Willie Jackson as just the second player in conference history to accumulate 2,000 points. Pigram and Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) represent one of the top returning duos in the conference. The two seniors combined to average over 30 points per game.
Non-conference home win streak at 15
Over the last four seasons, the Bucs have fared well against non-conference opponents within the confines of Memorial Center ... In fact, the Bucs have won 17 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, Central Michigan, Morehead State, UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky, Radford and Appalachian State during that time frame.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 118-38 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 76 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.