Bucs, Owls to face off on Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m.
Saturday, February 2, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 3, 2008) -- Before the country stops to enjoy the Super Bowl Sunday night, the ETSU men's basketball team will renew its heated rivalry with Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State at 2 p.m. inside Memorial Center.

The Buccaneers (12-9 overall, 6-2 A-Sun) are currently enjoying a four-game winning streak and hope to keep pace in the race for the A-Sun regular season title with a win. Meanwhile, Kennesaw State (6-16, 3-5) will be looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to USC Upstate Friday night.

Fans unable to attend the game Sunday can watch live via video streaming provided at ASun.TV on the web, or listen to the radio broadcast of the game by clicking on the link above.

For more on the game, click on the game notebook link located above or read the game notes below:

Buc Shots

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 guard Courtney 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 Kennesaw State

The Bucs and Owls have met just four times, with all those games coming since ETSU and Kennesaw State joined the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2005-06 ... Even though its a young series, some heated and closely contested games has made it a quick rivalry for both teams ... Currently, ETSU leads the series, 3-1, with two of those four games going to overtime.

Last time against the Owls

KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb. 17, 2007) - Sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) scored 19 second half points and the ETSU men's basketball team overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to drop Kennesaw State 75-71 and capture at least a share of the Atlantic Sun Conference championship inside the KSU Convocation Center ... Pigram finished with a game-high 23 points, while junior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) posted 19 points and senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) picked up his 16th career double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. With the win, ETSU improves to 20-8 overall, 14-2 in A-Sun action, and holds a two-game lead over second place Belmont with two games left in the regular season. Meanwhile, KSU drops to 11-18, 7-9 with the loss ... Trailing 39-29 at the half, ETSU cut the lead to three at 41-38 on a Nuckles lay up with 17:18 remaining in the game, but Kennesaw State answered to build the lead back to nine points at 50-41 with 13:59 remaining. From there, though, ETSU blitzed out with a 22-7 offensive run powered by four 3-pointers and 12 points from Pigram to take at 63-57 lead with 6:51 left. Kennesaw was not done challenging for the win, however, cutting the lead to 69-66 with 2:52 left on the clock thanks a jumper by Brent Ragsdale ... With the lead still 69-66 with 1:35 left, ETSU came out of a full timeout and Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) made a perfect inbounds pass from near half court that Reed dunked home to make it 71-66. Wooten responded with a 3-pointer to make it 71-69, but from there the Owls could not connect from long range and the Bucs made their free throws down the stretch to get the win ... In the first half, too many turnovers and the Owls' shooting effort from beyond the 3-point arc hurt the ETSU cause, leading to a 39-29 deficit for the Bucs at the intermission. In all, Kennesaw State hit on 39 percent of its shots from beyond the arc (5-of-13) and had just five turnovers compared to 12 for ETSU. It could have been worse, as the Owls held a lead of as many as 14 points at 32-18 with 5:53 left before the break ... The Bucs finished the game with a 48 percent shooting percentage (29-of-60) and held KSU to just 39 percent. In the paint, ETSU out-rebounded the Owls 45-34.

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2008) - After watching a nine-point lead dwindle to one with just over three minutes left, the ETSU men's basketball team made enough foul shots and senior Andrew Reed drained a clutch 3-pointer in the final minutes as the Buccaneers outlasted Mercer, 85-79, in Atlantic Sun Conference play at Memorial Center ... The crowd of 5,193 looked on as the Bucs won for the fourth time in a row and improved their season record to 12-9 overall, 6-2 in A-Sun action. Meanwhile, Mercer fell to 9-12, 4-4 ... ETSU was led by junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who picked up his third career double-double with a game-high 26 points and 12 rebounds, while senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) netted a season high 22 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) was the only other Buccaneer in double figures, picking up 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals ... In an offensive first half, the Bucs and Bears combined to score 84 points and both teams shot over 40 percent from 3-point range. Mercer took the early advantage and held a lead of as many as five points thanks to a 3-point play from Brian Pfohl that made it 26-21 with 9:15 remaining before the break. From there, though, ETSU went on a 23-7 run of its own thanks to a 3-point barrage from senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and Swader that made it 44-33. Mercer would not let the Bucs enjoy cushion, outscoring them 7-0 to close the half and make it 44-40 at the break ... ETSU did not relinquish its lead in the second half, but after building a lead of as many as nine points, the Bears offense hit its stride and managed an 8-0 run to make it 76-75 with 3:10 remaining on the clock. From there, Tiggs hit a pair of free throws and Reed sank his 3-pointer from the right wing to build enough of an advantage to hold on for the win ... The Bucs forced Mercer into 16 turnovers on nine steals, and shot 43 percent from the field. Meanwhile, the Bears hit on 41 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Bucs 49-44.

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 forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) ... In going 4-0, the Bucs are averaging 86.5 points a game ... Individually, Swader is averaging 16.8 points and 7.0 rebounds a game, while Strong is averaging 13.8 points a game ... As for percentage shooting, Strong is a perfect 17-of-18 from the foul line and is hitting 42 percent from beyond 3-point range ... Meanwhile, Swader is connecting on 65 percent from the floor and a more remarkable 67 percent from 3-point range.

Bucs' RPI, Strength of Schedule rank among best in nation

Though the Bucs are now 12-9 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 127th out of 342 Division I teams.

Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 115-37 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 8-1 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.

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.

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 guard Jocolby 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 4-1 in the Bucs' most recent five games.

Pigram eclipses 1,000 points

Beginning just his third season at ETSU, junior guard Courtney 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 1,270 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.

1,121 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 1,121-903.

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.

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 by Courtney 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 ... As a sophomore, Pigram averaged 18.1 points per game, second-best in the conference and also ranked in the top 10 in steals (2nd, 2.62 SPG), 3-point field goals per game (3rd, 2.62 3-pt FG per game) and assists (7th, 3.74 APG). He turned in one the league's virtuoso performances of the season when he dished out a conference-record 18 assists against Mercer on February 24 to go along with 29 points and eight rebounds. The 18 assists set an A-Sun record, were one off the school record, and were the second-highest single-game total in Division I in the last two seasons.

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."