JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 7, 2008) -- The ETSU men's basketball team will play its final tune up game of the preseason Saturday, hosting the Mars Hill Lions in exhibition action at Memorial Center. Tip time is 4 p.m.
The Buccaneers are coming off an 84-61 exhibition win over nearby Milligan College a week ago, and are continuing to prepare for their season opener next Friday against Temple in the first round of the Charleston Classic hosted by former Southern Conference rival College of Charleston. The Bucs game with the Owls will tip at 3 p.m. on Nov. 14th and the game will be carried live on CSS in the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia area.
ETSU hopes to continue to improve on its defensive efforts after focusing on that area throughout the preseason, while freshman guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) -- who was pressed into the starting role with the injury to senior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) -- hopes to see his team's offensive efforts take a step forward against the Lions.
The game will air live on the radio courtesy of the Mountain States Health Alliance Buccaneer Sports Network, and live video streaming from the game will be available at ASun.TV.
For more on the game, see the game notes below or click on the link above.
ETSU vs. Mars Hill Game Notes
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 Mars Hill
While the Buccaneers and Lions will be meeting in a exhibition contest today, the two teams have met in regular season play eight times overall ... The first meeting occured in 1925 and the last came in 2004 ... ETSU won the last regular season game and dropped the Lions 100-57 ... The all-time series is tied 4-4.
Last time against Mars Hill
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 3, 2007) - With six players scoring in double figures, the ETSU men's basketball team opened its 2007-08 season with an exhibition win over Mars Hill, 96-72 ... The Buccaneers, who enter the new season as the defending Atlantic Sun Conference champions, got a team high 12 points apiece from sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and junior college transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.). In addition, junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) netted 11 apiece, while senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) and junior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) pitched in 10 each ... The good news for the Bucs came in the areas of field goal percentage, steals and rebounds, with ETSU hitting on 53 percent of its shots, forcing 21 Mars Hill turnovers with 14 steals, and out-rebouning the Lions 44-37. However, the bad news for ETSU came in the form of 23 turnovers of its own, and the Bucs gave up 18 offensive rebounds ... ETSU got a game-high six assists and five steals from sophomore Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville) in just 21 minutes of action, while Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) picked up a team-high five rebounds. The game was marred by several official calls, with Mars Hill committing 31 fouls and the Bucs committing 26 of their own.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 1, 2008) - Sophomore guard Micah Williams (Manchester) scored a game-high 19 points and freshman guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) dished out a game-high seven assists as the ETSU men's basketball team opened the 2008-09 season with an 84-61 exhibition win over nearby Milligan College Saturday inside Memorial Center ... In front of a crowd of 2,149, the Buccaneers' new-look defense forced 23 Milligan turnovers and held the Buffaloes to just 43 percent shooting from the field. Meanwhile, the Bucs hit on 53 percent of their shots from the field and out-rebounded Milligan 40-23 ... Playing without sophomore forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), senior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) and freshman post Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) - all of whom are nursing injuries - the Bucs used a 20-2 run midway through the first half to make a 12-10 Milligan advantage a 32-16 ETSU lead with 6:26 left before the break. From there the two teams traded baskets and ETSU led 42-25 at the intermission ... In the second half, the Buffs hung in and actually cut the lead to 13 at 54-41, but the Bucs outscored Milligan 24-10 over the next seven minutes to make it 82-54 in the final minutes ... Along with Williams' 19 points, senior Courtney Pigram (Memphis) added 14, freshman Jarvis Jones (Memphis) scored 13 and senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) netted 12. While Sollazzo dished out seven assists to just three turnovers, senior forward Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) led all players with 10 rebounds on the night ... For Milligan, Jeff Barnes led the way with 16, while Derrick Nave and Darrell Miller scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
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.
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 enjoyed 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.
Bucs set to face Charleston Classic field
Earlier this year, ESPN Regional Television announced the schedule of matchups for the inaugural Charleston Classic, set for Nov. 14-16 at the new Carolina First Center in Charleston, S.C. The ETSU Buccaneers will take on Temple in the first round at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Nov. 14 ... The event will include 12 games in three days, with six games being broadcast on CSS. The Southern Conference, based in Spartanburg, S.C., will serve as the event's sponsoring conference ... The 2008 Charleston Classic field includes eight teams: College of Charleston, Clemson, East Tennessee State, Hofstra, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Temple, TCU and Western Michigan. Two of the teams, Clemson and Temple, played in the 2007-08 NCAA Tournament ... On those teams, the Bucs have only met Clemson (0-7), College of Charleston (3-7) and SIU-Edwardsville (1-0) before this season ... In the first round of action, beginning Friday, Nov. 14, TCU will take on Western Michigan in the first game to be played at Carolina First Center. Also in the first round, ETSU will face Temple, SIU-Edwardsville will meet College of Charleston, and Hofstra and Clemson will square off ... Tickets for the tournament are on sale at www.CharlestonClassic.com, or by telephone at the Carolina First Center box office at (843) 953-2632.
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 final game of the year in the championship of the A-Sun Tournament ... In 2007-08, the Bucs were 11-2 at Memorial Center.