Clutch offensive run lifts Bucs past Jacksonville, 83-77
Friday, January 25, 2008


JACKSONVILLE, Fla.  (Jan. 25, 2008) - In a one-point game with 3:16 remaining, the ETSU men's basketball team got an much-needed 7-0 offensive spurt to build a cushion and ultimately hold on to drop Jacksonville 83-77 in a critical Atlantic Sun Conference battle Friday evening before 6,873 at Veterans Memorial Arena.


With the win, ETSU (10-9, 4-2) moves to within one game of the Dolphins in the race for the A-Sun regular season championship. Jacksonville (9-9, 5-1) had started the season undefeated. The 6,873 fans was the second largest crowd in JU history.


"Obviously, that's a huge win for us," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team concludes a tough three game road swing at 2-1. "We had a lot of guys step up and make plays, especially in the last three or four minutes. Now we have to regroup and prepare for Sunday's game at home."


ETSU held a five point lead at 70-65 with 4:17 left, but the Dolphins used a 4-0 run to make it 70-69 with 3:16 remaining. But from there, the Bucs went on a 7-0 offensive run powered by a lay up from senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.), a 3-pointer from junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and a pair of free throws from junior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) to build a 77-69 with just 1:09 left in the game.


While Jacksonville managed a couple of 3-pointers of its own, the Dolphins never got closer than four points the rest of the way and ended the contest down six.            


The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with the Bucs enjoying the largest lead for either team at 31-25 with 3:39 left before the halftime break. Jacksonville didn't let that last, making up the six-point deficit to take a 36-35 advantage with three seconds remaining on Marcus Allen's lay up. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the game clock - which should have kept running - stopped on Allen's lay up, giving ETSU's Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) a chance to throw a deep pass to Tiggs, who grabbed the ball and scored as time expired to make it 37-36 at the break.


Five Buc players reached double figures, led by a team high 22 from Pigram. Meanwhile, senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) pitched in 15, junior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) added 11, and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and Reed netted 10 apiece. For Jacksonville, forward Marcus Allen scored a game high 23 points and posted a double-double with 11 rebounds, while guard Ben Smith added 19 points and forward Lehmon Colbert netted 13.


The Bucs committed just nine turnovers in the game and shot 83 percent from the foul line, including a critical 15-of-15 in the second half. While Jacksonville out-rebounded the Bucs 40-33, ETSU did force 16 turnovers.


ETSU will return to league action next Friday night against Mercer. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. to accommodate CSS, which will broadcast the game on cable network's throughout the Southeast. Fans unable to get the CSS broadcast are reminded that the game will also air on the Internet at ASun.TV.