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ETSU drops C-USA's Marshall, 79-73, on "Blue Out" night
Junior forward Kevin Tiggs scored a game-high 24 points against the Herd.
Junior forward Kevin Tiggs scored a game-high 24 points against the Herd.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

 

               
           
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 4, 2007) - After giving up a large second half lead and then losing by one point in overtime earlier this season at Marshall, the ETSU men's basketball team was faced with what could have been a similar situation Tuesday night in Memorial Center. This time the Bucs didn't fold.

 

            Watching a 13-point lead dwindle to five with just under a minute left, the Buccaneers made the defensive stops they needed in the final seconds and converted at the foul line to finish with a 79-73 win over Conference USA's Thundering Herd in front of 4,080 blue clad fans. With the win, ETSU improved to 4-3 on the young season, with Marshall dropping to 4-2.

 

            "Any time you can beat a Conference USA team it's a good win," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team will now head on a five-game road trip with games at Oklahoma State (Dec. 8) and Syracuse (Dec. 15). "When you play as tough a schedule as we have so far this year, you have to win your home games and defend you home court. We've done that so far. I think we're learning a lot about our team and we know the one thing we can do is score. We just have to learn to defend better."

 

            Indeed, the Bucs once again rolled on the offensive end of the floor, hitting 54 percent of their shots (27-of-50) and committing just 14 turnovers. While the Bucs still were out-rebounded 38-36 and gave up 16 offensive rebounds, ETSU did cut back on its foul issues, actually going to the line 38 times compared to just 18 trips for the Thundering Herd.

 

            The key to victory for the Bucs on this night came with just over nine minutes left, when junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) recovered from just scoring two points in the first half to score nine straight points and power a 13-2 offensive surge. The run took a 49-47 game and made it 62-49 with 7:15 remaining in the game.

 

            However, from there Marshall managed a run of its own in the final two minutes, outscoring the Bucs 9-2 to make it 73-68 with just over a minute left. However, sophomore guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville) did just enough at the foul line to keep the Herd at bay and give the Bucs a win over their former Southern Conference rival.

 

            In a tight first half that featured six ties and five lead changes, neither team led by more than four points. ETSU hit on 48 percent of its shots in the first frame, but was yet again out-rebounded 22-16 and shot just 50 percent (8-of-16) from the foul line. In the end, though, 11 points from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) - who finishined with a game-high 24 - and an evenly distributed offensive effort for the rest of the team left the Bucs holding a four-point lead at half, 35-31.

 

            The Bucs got 14 points on the night from Pigram and 15 from Twilley. Meanwhile, Matt Walls led Marshall with 21 points, while Tirrell Baines, Markel Humphrey and Mark Dorris scored 15, 14 and 11 points, respectively.

 

            With the win, ETSU improves its all-time record against Marshall to 24-21. The Bucs will now head on the road to take on Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. (EST) on Saturday evening. The game will be broadcast on local television courtesy of WAPK.

 

            For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's basketball link.