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Bucs look to stay hot on Florida swing
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2008) -- Owners of a five-game winning streak and in the hunt for an Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship, the ETSU men's basketball team takes to the road for a crucial two-game league road swing this weekend.
The red hot Buccaneers will look to stay warm in sunny Florida, as the Bucs meet new A-Sun member Florida Gulf Coast for the first time ever at 7 p.m. Friday night. The game will air on ASun.TV
ETSU (13-9, 7-2) best not overlook an Eagles squad that had posted a 4-5 league mark and several Division I wins despite moving up from Division II last season. The Bucs will feature two-time A-Sun Player of the Week Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who moved to the top of the Bucs' scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebound (6.1 rpg) lists earlier this week thanks to several solid efforts in recent games.
For more on the game, click the game notes link located above, or read the game notes below. Fans wishing to follow the game live on the radio Friday night can click on the audio link for the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network located above.
A seven-time NCAA Tournament and two-time NIT participant, the ETSU Buccaneers enter the 2007-08 season coming off a regular season Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 24-10 overall record, and a 16-2 league mark a year ago ... The Bucs return the 2006-07 A-Sun Player of the Year in junior guardCourtney Pigram (Memphis), as well as the A-Sun Coach of the Year Murry Bartow and All A-Sun Freshman team pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) ... Along with returning players like Pigram and Smith, the Bucs also return significant contributors to last season's success such as senior post Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.), senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna), and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) ... Newcomers for the Bucs that are expected to contribute early and often include junior college transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who was the JuCo Division II National Player of the Year last season, and lightning quick JuCo point guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) ... Several Bucs are currently leading A-Sun statistical categories, see page 6 of this notebook for more information on those players and their rank ... In addition, see where the Bucs ranks as a team and individually on the national charts on Page 4.
The series against the Eagles
This will be the first meeting between the Bucs and Eagles.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 3, 2008)- With ETSU holding a comfortable 13-point advantage midway through the first half, this game between the Buccaneers and Atlantic Sun Conference rival Kennesaw State did not have the same intensity of the previous four matches between the two schools. But it did not stay that way ... After the Owls overcame the 13-point deficit to take a 31-29 lead at the halftime break, a fiery second half that featured a couple of minor scuffles, a technical foul, and a stingy ETSU fullcourt defense resulted in a 72-66 ETSU win in front of 3,287 fans at Memorial Center ... The ETSU offense was clicking early in the game, as the Bucs pulled out to a lead of as many as 13 points at 24-11 with just over eight minutes left in the first half. However, from there Kennesaw State went to its 3-point attack, hitting on 7-of-13 from beyond the arc to outscore the Bucs 20-5 the rest of the way and lead 31-29 at the break ... In the second half, the two teams traded baskets early, but the Bucs went to the full court pressure and the result was a 12-0 burst by the Bucs that made it 51-39 with 11:39 left in the game. ETSU held much of that lead for the next four minutes, but KSU rallied with a 6-0 spurt of its own to pull to within three at 59-56 with 5:23 remaining. But that would be as close as Kennesaw State could get as the Bucs hit their foul shots down the stretch to finish with a six-point cushion ... For the game, ETSU got a team high 18 points and eight rebounds from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), while senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) scored 13 and 10, respectively. Sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) also had a big night on the boards, matching Tiggs with eight rebounds and helping the Bucs to a 38-30 advantage over KSU in that statistical category ... In the second half, ETSU shot 50 percent from the field and held the Owls to just 38 percent after allowing Kennesaw State to shoot 44 percent in the first half. ETSU grabbed 11 steals and forced 16 turnovers ... Kennesaw State was led by a game-high 28 points from Wooten, while Shuan Stegall and Keonte Keith added 11 points apiece.
Tiggs wins second A-Sun POTW honor
MACON, Ga. (Feb. 4, 2008)- ETSU junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) became the first player this season to win multiple Atlantic Sun Player of the Week awards after averaging a double-double, 22.0 points per game and 10.0 rebounds, in leading the Buccaneers to a pair of home wins, the conference office announced on Monday ... Tiggs kept the Buccaneers in a tie with Belmont, one game behind Jacksonville in the A-Sun by shooting 60 percent from the floor, 66.7 percent from the 3-point arc and 85.7 percent at the line ... In Friday night's CSS Game of the Week, Tiggs, a business major, turned in one of the best performances of the season, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, in leading ETSU past Mercer for the sixth time in as many meetings. Seven of his 12 rebounds came at the offensive end. He connected on 11-of-16 shooting and on both of his 3-point attempts. Two days later, he scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half as ETSU won for the fifth straight game, defeating the upset-minded Kennesaw State Owls, 72-66. Tiggs did most of his damage from the charity stripe, making 10-of -12, 8-10 in the second half ... Tiggs, the 2007 NJCAA Coaches Association Division II National Player of the Year, has thrived in his first year in the A-Sun, averaging 15.7 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game. He ranks second in the A-Sun in field goal percentage at 56.0. He increased his stats across the board over his last six games, averaging 19.0 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting 60.0 percent from the floor.
Tiggs taking over
With his second A-Sun Player of the Week honor now in his possession, junior forwardKevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) is certainly making an impression on the ETSU basketball program and the Atlantic Sun Conference in his first season wearing the Blue and Gold ... After several strong performances, Tiggs now leads the Bucs in both scoring (15.7 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg) and steals (1.6) ... In the league, he ranks second in field goal percentage (56 percent) and is sixth in free throw percentage (80 percent) ... This season, he has already posted three double-doubles, and has reached double figures in scoring 13 times this season.
Bucs to play Tennessee Tech in ESPN BracketBusters
The ETSU men's basketball team will play host to former Ohio Valley Conference rival and in-state foe Tennessee Tech as part of the annual ESPN BracketBuster Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. inside Memorial Center ... The Buccanneers (13-9, 7-2 Atlantic Sun) and the Golden Eagles (10-15, 7-8) have met 66 times in a series that dates back to 1923. The two teams are tied in the series 33-33, but the Bucs have enjoyed three straight wins, with the last meeting coming in 2004 ... "This will be a good late season test for our team as we prepare for our conference tournament," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team is currently enjoying a five-game winning streak. "We have a long tradition against Tennessee Tech, and this will be a fun matchup for our fans that remember the days in the OVC. Having a return trip next year to Tennessee Tech will also give our fans a non-conference game they can travel to easily." For more on Tennessee Tech, visitwww.ttusports.com.
Swader, Strong power resurgent offense
During their present four game winning streak, the Buccaneers have found their rythm on offense thanks in great part to the shooting of senior forwardKenyona Swader (Smyrna) and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) ... In going 5-0, the Bucs are averaging 83.6 points a game ... Individually, Swader is averaging 14.8 points and 7.0 rebounds a game, while Strong is averaging 13.6 points a game ... As for percentage shooting, Strong is 19-of-21 from the foul line (91 percent) and is hitting 41 percent from beyond 3-point range ... Meanwhile, Swader is connecting on 64 percent from the floor and 56 percent from 3-point range.
Bucs' RPI, Strength of Schedule rank among best in nation
Though the Bucs are now 13-9 on the year, the team's slow start is understandable when considering ETSU played an exceptionally tough early season schedule ... As of Jan. 21 the Buccaneers' strength of schedule (SOS) ranked 74th in the country according to RealtimeRPI.com ... That SOS rank is obvious when looking at the RPI of ETSU's opponents in the early season schedule, which included -- at the time -- St. Mary's (4th), Dayton (7th) and Syracuse (11th) ... In fact, until just recently the Bucs SOS was as high at 18th in the country, before entering conference play ... As for RPI, the Bucs rank a respectable 137th out of 342 Division I teams.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 116-37 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 ... This year, the Bucs are 9-1 at Memorial Center.
The Bucs at the Rainbow Classic
Spending a week in Hawaii during the winter months is always enjoyable, but ETSU's second trip ever to the Rainbow Classic was a bittersweet experience ... While the Bucs picked up their first win over a Southeastern Conference opponent since 1991-92 with a 76-58 victory over Georgia in the first round, the team finished the trip 1-2 after falling in back-to-back games to St. Mary's and Louisiana-Lafayette ... While the St. Mary's game was expected to be difficult -- considering the Gaels were ranked No. 2 in the RPI -- the 82-80 overtime loss to a 3-7 Lafayette team kept the Bucs from evening their season record to 6-6 coming home from the islands ... In two trips to the Rainbow, the Bucs are now 2-4 all time.
Another championship banner
With a win against Stetson (2/22), the Bucs wrapped up an outright 2006-07 A-Sun regular season title and garnered the No. 1 seed in the week's league championship tournament ... For ETSU, it was the continuation of a recent string of success that dates back to the 2000-2001 season ... In all, the Bucs have captured championships in five of the last seven seasons, including back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips in 2002-03 and 2003-04, and a trip to the NIT in 2006-07 ... Here is the championship breakdown:
2000-2001-- Southern Conference North Division Championship
2001-2002 -- SoCon North Division championship
2002-2003 -- SoCon North Division championship; SoCon Tournament Championship
2003-2004 -- SoCon North Division championship, SoCon Regular Season Championship, SoCon Tournament Championship
2006-2007 -- Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championship
New starting five
During the Bucs recent trip to the Rainbow Classic, head coach Murry Bartow used a completely new starting five, with junior guardJocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.), junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) ... While that group went only 1-2 on the trip, they did pick up the win over SEC foe Georgia and lost a close overtime battle with Louisiana-Lafayette ... However, the Bucs reshuffled the lineup again versus Appalachian State, moving Pigram to the point position, and inserting seniors Travis Strong (Memphis) and Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) to go with Tiggs and Reed ... That starting five is now 3-1 on the year, but the starting lineup was shuffled once again Thursday night against Belmont, as junior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) was inserted into the lineup at point guard, moving Pigram to the two guard over Strong ... That lineup has gone 5-1 in the Bucs' most recent six games.
Non-conference home win streak at 16
Over the last three seasons, the Bucs have fared well against non-conference opponents within the confines of Memorial Center ... In fact, the Bucs have won 16 straight non-conference homes games since losing a 90-73 contest to Fresno State back on Nov. 27, 2004 ... ETSU has enjoyed wins over teams such as Marshall (2), Chattanooga, Central Michigan, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech, UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky, Radford and Appalachian State in that time frame ... Against conference opponents, the Bucs have won 10 straight regular season conference games.
Pigram eclipses 1,000 points
Beginning just his third season at ETSU, junior guardCourtney Pigram (Memphis) has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark with a jump shot from the right corner at the 17:52 mark against Chattanooga (11/28) ... That basket gave Pigram 1,000 for his career and following the contest with the Mocs ... The junior now stands at 1,280 for his career and ranks for 12th on the all-time program scoring list ... The 6-1 shooting guard scored 325 points as a freshman and then netted a remarkable 614 as a sophomore ... His 614 points a year ago ranks 6th on the single season list.
1,122 wins and counting
With a win Jan. 25, 2007 against Belmont, the Bucs collected the program's 1,100th win all-time ... In over 80 years of basketball, the Bucs are 1,122-903.
Bucs on the Tube
Along with the new ASun.TV package which will video stream all ETSU men's and women's home games on the Internet, the Bucs will again have a significant presence on the television screen as well this year ... In fact, ETSU's trips to Oklahoma State (Dec. 8) and Syracuse (Dec. 15) both aired live locally, with the Oklahoma State game showing on WKPT (ABC) and the Syracuse contest aired on WJHL (CBS) ... The Bucs will also appear on regional cable through the Friday night CSS Atlantic Sun Game of the Week with the Jan. 25th trip to Jacksonville and the Feb. 1 home game against Mercer scheduled for air on CSS ... In addition, Charter Main Street will air its weekly ETSU replay on Charter 13 and Comcast 14 Tuesday nights at 8 p.m., with the weekly games beginning on Dec. 4th with the Tennessee-Wesleyan game ... For a complete schedule, visit ETSUBucs.com.
Chilton's No. 42 comes out of retirement
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 31, 2007)- For many years, Tom Chilton's No. 42 has held a special place in ETSU basketball's history. Next season, fans will see that special number on the floor once again ... Chilton, who ranks first all-time with 26.1 points per game and fifth on the all-time scoring list with 1,801, has agreed to allow junior transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) to wear his No. 42 jersey for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 season. Chilton, who now makes his home in Madison, Ind., said he was honored a current player would want to wear his number ... "I wish him the best and I'm honored he wants to wear No. 42," said Chilton, whose 42 is the only retired number in ETSU's program history. "I hope he always considers that the number doesn't make the player, but the player makes the number. A lot of hard work and effort went into that number during my time there, but ETSU gave a lot back to me and I wouldn't be where I am today without that university, so I'm happy to allow the number to be worn again." ... ETSU head coach Murry Bartow said he was appreciative Chilton would allow the number to come out of retirement, and he reiterated that the number will go back into retirement two years from now ... "Tom Chilton was one of the finest players to ever wear an ETSU uniform, and his willingness to allow Kevin to wear the number shows he is still proud to be a part of our program's tradition," Bartow said. "It's our expectation that Kevin understand the importance of the number and the responsibility that goes with wearing it." ... Tiggs, the 2007 National Junior College Division II Player of the Year, said he certainly understood the history behind the number ... "Mr. Chilton was and is a legend here, so wearing his number comes with a great deal of responsibility," Tiggs said. "I just want to play in a way that would make him proud."
Bucs dominate Preseason All A-Sun Picks
Last season, ETSU won its first Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball title, but Belmont denied the Buccaneers the conference's automatic bid in the final of the General Shale Brick Men's Basketball Championship ... Entering the 2007-08 season, both the coaches and the media predict that the Buccaneers will again be battling the Bruins for conference supremacy ... Both chose ETSU as the favorite to win the conference and defend its regular-season title with Belmont second ... The Bucs were the clear choice by the media to win the tournament ... The Buccaneers have gone 28-10 in A-Sun play in their two years in the league and will continue to be led byCourtney Pigram (Memphis). The junior from Memphis, Tenn. was named the preseason Player of the Year following up his Player of the Year award for the 2006-07 season.