Foul trouble, rebounding cost Bucs in 82-78 loss to UTC
Wednesday, November 28, 2007


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Nov. 28, 2007) - Committing 30 fouls, giving up 31 points at the free throw line and getting out-rebounded 56-33, the ETSU men's basketball team relinquished a 13-point halftime lead to former Southern Conference rival Chattanooga in an 80-76 non-conference loss Wednesday night at the McKenzie Arena.


The Buccaneers, who led 40-27 at the half, could not keep the momentum in the second 20 minutes, as Chattanooga scored 55 points after the break. Overlooked in the loss was a major accomplishment by junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), who reached the 1,000-point plateau with a basket at the 17:52 mark of the first half.


"It was a very frustrating loss," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team dropped to 2-3 on the season. "We played well in first half, but it's the same theme. All three road losses we've scored enough to win, but we're fouling too much, block outs are a major problem, and giving up 55 in the second half is just inexcusable. I like our team and think we'll be OK, but we're just making too many mistakes right now to expect to win."


Indeed, the Bucs have been frustrated on the road, losing by four at Dayton in the season opener, by one in overtime at Marshall, and now by four at rival Chattanooga. In all three games, the Bucs have held double digit leads only to see their opponents rally back from the foul line and with offensive rebounds. This game was no different.


Leading by as many as 16 points with just over three minutes left in the first half, ETSU eventually led 40-27 at the break. However, Chattanooga came out in the second half and took advantage of ETSU's fouling issues, as the Mocs were in the bonus by the first media time out with 15:50 left in the game. Ultimately, UTC's defensive stops, foul shots and rebounding would get them to a tie game at 56-56 with just over nine minutes left in the game.


A Pigram 3-pointer made it 59-56 ETSU, but from there the Mocs regained the lead thanks to five straight points from guard Stephon McDowell and never gave up the advantage for the final eight minutes.


Chattanooga out-rebounded the Bucs 56-33 and the Mocs were 31-of-44 from the foul line compared to ETSU's 17-of-23 clip from the line. More disturbing for ETSU was the fact that the Mocs shot just 37 percent from the floor for the game.


The Bucs were led by 20 points from junior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), while Pigram had 19. Senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) had 12 points, while senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.). For Chattanooga, Nicchaeus Doaks had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while McDowell pitched in 19 points, and Kevin Goffney had 15. For the Mocs, Khalil Hartwell had a game-high 14 rebounds.


ETSU will return to action Saturday afternoon at home when the Bucs take on Tennessee-Wesleyan inside the Memorial Center. Tip is set for 12 Noon