Bucs need to correct course quick, take on USC Upstate Thursday
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Feb. 19, 2009) -- Struggling through its toughest stretch of the season and desperate to right the ship, the ETSU men's basketball team takes to the road Thursday evening to take on USC Upstate in Atlantic Sun Conference action at the G.B. Hodges Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

The Bucs (17-9, 11-5 A-Sun) are losers of three in a row, but are still just one game back in the race for the A-Sun championship, trailing both Belmont and Jacksonville. With four games remaining, ETSU still has the potential to capture a regular season title and No. 1 seed in the postseason tournament, but a win against the Spartans is necessary to keep those hopes alive.

For more on Thursday night's game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes below:


The series against USC Upstate

This will be just the fourth meeting between the Bucs and Spartans, as USC Upstate moved up to Division I last season ... ETSU leads the all-time series 3-0, having beaten the Spartans 82-72 back on Jan. 26.

Last time against USC Upstate

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 26, 2009) - Facing a four-point halftime deficit, the ETSU men's basketball team picked up the pace in the second half and forced the issue against Atlantic Sun Conference foe USC Upstate, ultimately outscoring the Spartans 50-36 in the final 20 minutes to take an 82-72 win at Memorial Center ... The Bucs' fullcourt defense forced 17 turnovers and ETSU hit on 31-of-35 free throws (89 percent) to pick up the victory and move to 15-5 overall, 9-1 in A-Sun action. With the win, the Bucs set up a crucial first-place showdown with Jacksonville Friday night in Florida, as the Dolphins also stand 9-1 in the league. The game will air on CSS at 7 p.m ... The "Big Three" of seniors Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and Courtney Pigram (Memphis), and junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) were certainly strong again for the Bucs. Smith and Pigram each finished with a game-high 22 points, while Tiggs pitched in 18. In addition, Hamlin ended the night with his second double-double in three games with 11 points and 12 rebounds, to go along with four assists, four blocks and two steals. Pigram was an impressive 13-of-14 at the charity stripe ... Along with shooting 89 percent and scoring 31 points at the foul line, ETSU held USC Upstate to just 42 percent shooting in the second half after giving up a 52 percent clip in the first half. The Bucs' defense also produced 10 steals ... In the first half, Upstate used the size of 7-foot-3 Nick Schneiders to perfection, pounding the ball inside while also using the big man to find open 3-point shooters on the perimeter. The result was a strong showing by the Spartans on the Bucs' home floor in the first 20 minutes and a 36-32 lead at the break ... However, ultimately the Bucs used their fullcourt press defense and transition game to open the second half on a 24-6 offensive run and make it 54-42 with 10:18 left. While the Spartans were able to cut the lead back to just nine at 75-66 with 1:22 left, there was just not enough time to continue a comeback ... For USC Upstate, Bobby Davis led the way with 18 points, Schneiders added 16 and Josh Chavis pitched in 15. The Spartans won the battle of the glass 33-32, and shot 35 percent from beyond the arc.

Last time out

NASHVILLE (Feb. 16, 2009) - In a game full of technical fouls, rough play and wild momentum swings, the Lipscomb Bisons built an 18-point first half lead and finally put an end to ETSU's seven-game win streak in the series with a 96-91 victory in Atlantic Sun Conference play Monday evening inside Allen Arena ... The Bisons (12-13 overall, 8-8 A-Sun) won for the fourth straight contest, while the Buccaneers (17-10, 11-5) dropped their third straight. Even with the loss, the Bucs still remain one game out of first place in the A-Sun, as Jacksonville was upset by Campbell earlier in the evening ... The first half was eerily similar to the first meeting earlier this season at Memorial Center, when Lipscomb hit on seven 3-pointers and held a 45-30 advantage at the break. In this game, the Bisons again hit on seven long-range shots in the first half, connected on 57 percent of their field goal attempts and out-rebounded the Bucs 21-14 on their way to a 47-32 edge at the break ... With the game tied at 17-17, Lipscomb then went on a 22-4 run to make it 39-21 and in the midst of that surge Tiggs picked up his third foul of the game with 8:02 left in the half. While the senior forward sat on the bench things only got worse, but his return to the lineup with under four minutes left in the half resulted in seven straight points and at least helped the Bucs to a manageable deficit at the break ... In the second half, the Bucs roared back with their patented full court defense and wild transition game. Those efforts led to ETSU making it 72-70 when senior Courtney Pigram (Memphis) nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 5:31 remaining. However, from there a technical foul on Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and another technical on Bartow moments later allowed Lipscomb to pull back out to a 79-70 advantage with 3:34 left ... The Bucs tried again to rally and even with the score 92-79 with 36 seconds left, the Bucs went on a 12-2 run to cut it to 94-91 with 2.2 seconds left. In the end, Lipscomb's Jimmy Oden hit two foul shots to ice the game ... For the Bucs, Tiggs scored a game-high 26 points and actually eclipsed 1,000 points for his career with a layup at the 2:08 mark of the first half. Along with Tiggs, junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) posted his sixth career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. In addition, freshman guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) had 10 points, and sophomore guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) returned from injury to post eight rebounds and go 8-of-8 from the line ... Lipscomb was led by Oden with 19 points, while five other Bisons reached double figures, with Michael Lusk posting 16, Brian Wright had 15, Adnan Hodzic netted 12, and both Thomas Pfaff and Josh Slater picked up 10 apiece ... The Bisons hit on 53 percent from the field, while also shooting 54 percent from 3-point range. The Bucs were just 42 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc ... The Bucs will return to action Thursday night at USC Upstate, with tip scheduled for 7 p.m.

February troubles continue four-year trend for Bucs

Over the last four season since joining the Atlantic Sun Conference, the ETSU men's basketball team has either been tied or held sole possession of first place at some point in the month of February ... However, that's when the story turns bleak ... With the exception of the 2007-08 season, when the Bucs went 6-1 in February and ultimately won the league regular season title, the Bucs are are combined 11-10 in league play during the month of February and have relinquished first-place in three of those four seasons ... In fact, a year ago the Bucs dropped from first place on Feb. 8 to a fourth seed by the end of the season. Below is a complete breakdown:

Season February Record

2005-06 3-4

2006-07 6-1

2007-08 6-3

2008-09 2-3 (currently)

Tiggs eclipses 1,000 points; Bucs to have three

1,000-point scoreres on the same team?

With a put back at the 2:08 mark of the first half Monday at Lipscomb, ETSU senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career ... While it is not rare to have multiple players on the same team that "eventually" become 1,000-point scorers, having multiple players on the same team that have already eclipsed 1,000-points is rare ... And now, the Bucs have both Tiggs and senior guard Courntey Pigram (Memphis) that have reached that milestone ... The team is now only waiting for junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) to also reach that career milestone, and he is just 17 points shy of the mark ... The only two times in ETSU history that the Bucs have had three or more 1,000 point scorers on the floor at the same time was in 1990-91 and 2003-04 ... In 1990-91, four 1,000-point scorers were on the floor together at the same time, Keith "Mister" Jennings, Calvin Talford, Major Geer and Alvin West were on the floor together ... The other season this occurred was in 2003-04, when Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood and Tim Smith all reached 1,000 points.

ETSU the "only" A-Sun team picked among nation's best "Prestige" programs

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (July 22, 2008) - Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball - marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 - the ETSU men's basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to a new "Prestige" ranking released by ESPN.com ... The Buccaneers, who have enjoyed six NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, seven 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85, ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. The Bucs also were placed ahead of every current member of the Colonial Athletic Association with the exception of Old Dominion ... In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.

"Big Three" making their mark in A-Sun this year

Watching the ETSU men's basketball team this season has shown that there is power in the number three ... With seniors Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and Courtney Pigram (Memphis), along with junior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), the Bucs put three of the best players in league play on the floor at the same time. Currently, Tiggs and Pigram and No. 1 and No. 3 in the league in scoring, while Smith ranks No. 9 on that list ... Meanwhile, at least one of the three rank in the Top 10 of at least seven other major statistical categories, such as field goal percentage, rebounding, 3-point field goal percentage, steals, assists, assist/turnover ratio, defensive rebounds and minutes played.

Pigram moves to No. 4 on the all-time scoring list

With his 27-point effort against Florida Gulf Coast (Feb. 7), ETSU senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) moved to No. 4 on the all-time scoring list ... Pigram now stands at 1,914 points passed former ETSU great Calvin Talford (1988-1992), who collected 1,872 points in his career ... Here are the Top 5 scorers in ETSU history:

1. Tim Smith (2002-2006) 2,300 points

2. Greg Dennis (1987-1992) 2,204 points

3. Keith "Mister" Jennings (1987-1991) 1,988 points

4. Courtney Pigram (2005-2009) 1,914 points *

5. Calvin Talford (1988-92) 1,872 points

* at present time

Pigram, Tiggs impressive on offensive end in 2008-09

Seniors Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) have enjoyed impressive offensive performances this season, and the two rank among the nation's best when it comes to offensive production ... As of Feb. 16, Tiggs leads the Atlantic Sun Conference and ranks 17th nationally with a 21.2 points per game average (as of Feb. 15), while Pigram ranks third in the A-Sun with 18.0 points a game (as of Feb. 2) ... Pigram is one of just four active players nationally with more than 1,500 points, 350 assists and 200 steals in their careers.

Player, School......................................................Asts Stls Pts

Courtney Pigram, ETSU 386 220 1914