TORONTO, Canada (Sept. 1, 2008) - With a similar theme of suffocating man-to-man defense and double-figure scoring from both returning players and newcomers, the ETSU men's basketball team completed a four-game sweep of its Labor Day weekend exhibition series in Canada, racing past the University of Toronto 90-63 Monday afternoon.
"We really spent a lot of those 10 extra days of practice working on defense and its obvious we've seen results from that this weekend - and that's really the most encouraging thing," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team was preparing to board a plane and return to Johnson City late Monday evening. "I think this trip has been a great experience for our team. Assuming we have a good year, we've told the team that we will look back on this as a positive.
"It's always good to travel with the guys, come to another country, and have a chance to see different parts of the world like Niagra Falls. It really helps with the team building, but obviously the 10 days of practice and playing games is something you can't replace. It definitely gives you a head start."
Toronto - which had lost by just four points to ETSU's A-Sun counterpart Mercer on Sunday - shot 41 percent on the day, but the Blues were one of three Buccaneer opponents held to 69 points or less on the trip. Offensively, senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) abused the Blues' defense and scored a game-high 20 points, while fellow senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) scored 18. Freshmen Isiah Brown (Miami) and Jarvis Jones (Memphis) scored in double figures for the second straight game, with Brown posting 10 point and Jones netting 11. Junior Micah Williams (Manchester) led the way on the boards with seven rebounds.
"We played pretty well today," Bartow said. "They've got a good team, as they showed in the Mercer game. CP and Tiggs both had very good games, and our defense was just so solid the whole trip."
For the second straight day, a box score from the game was not immediately available.
The Bucs will return home to normal NCAA practice rules until the official start of preseason preparations in mid-October. ETSU can work as a team for a total of eight hours a week, with two of those hours on the court. For more on ETSU men's basketball as the season approaches, visit ETSUBucs.com.