Bucs set to meet Jacksonville with first place on the line
Thursday, January 29, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2009) -- In one of the most important regular season games in recent ETSU men's basketball history, the Buccaneers take to the road Friday evening to face Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville in a battle for sole possession of first place. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena and the game will air live throughout the southeast region on CSS.

Both the Bucs and Dolphins enter the contest at 9-1 in league play, with ETSU holding a 15-5 overall record on the season. The two teams met earlier this season with ETSU needing a last second basket by junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) to take the 84-82 victory.

Fans unable to watch the game on CSS will still be able to access the live video streaming available on the web at ASun.TV, or fans can listen to the live radio broadcast at ETSUBucs.com.

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


The series against Jacksonville

ETSU and Jacksonville have met eight times with the Buccaneers holding a 5-3 edge in the all-time series ... Since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06, the Bucs are 5-1 against the Dolphins, including an 84-82 win earlier this season on Jan. 3 inside Memorial Center ... The Bucs only loss to JU since joining the conference came in 2007, and that loss came inside the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Last time against Jacksonville

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 3, 2009) - Senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) set a career high and nearly broke the Memorial Center single game scoring mark by scoring 39 points, while junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) sank a floating shot with 4.5 seconds left in regulation, lifting ETSU past Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville 84-82 Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Center ... After Smith missed two free throws with 44.9 seconds left, Jacksonville's Leman Colbert later tied the game at 82-82 with a pair shots from the charity stripe with 32 seconds left. Smith then found redemption, taking a pass from Pigram and driving to the left to make a 10-foot floater off the glass, giving the Bucs the lead 84-82 with 4.5 seconds left. Jacksonville's Travis Cohn later had a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that came up short and the Bucs escaped with the win ... Pigram was joined in double figures by Smith with 11 and fellow senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) with 13. Meanwhile, on the boards freshman post Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) led the Bucs with a team high 11 rebounds. For Jacksonville, six Dolphins reached double figures with Lehmon Colbert scoring a team high 15 points, while teammate Marcus Allen posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds ... In the first half, the Bucs got off to slow start and allowed Jacksonville to pull ahead by nine points on a couple of occasions, including a 29-20 advantage with just over seven minutes left before the break. Five 3-pointers - with three coming from guard Evan Jefferson - were the key to the Dolphins early success. ETSU responded in the final minutes, outscoring JU 15-10 the rest of the way to make the score 39-35 at the break ... The Bucs rallied out of the gate in the second half, using their fullcourt press defense to get a pair of turnovers and ultimately take the lead at 49-48 on a 3-pointer by Pigram with just under 17 minutes left in the game. Jacksonville then responded with an 8-0 run of its own to make it 56-49 with 15:16 left in the game, but powered by nine straight points from Pigram the Bucs outscored the Dolphins 17-8 over the next three minutes to make it 66-64 with 10:39 left ... In a game of runs, a 7-0 burst by the Dolphins was followed by another 9-0 stretch by the Bucs that made it 75-71 in favor of ETSU with 5:49 remaining in the game. JU regained the lead at 76-75 thanks to a bucket by Colbert and a 3-pointer from guard Ben Smith, but three straight foul shots by the Bucs made it 78-76 with 3:27 left ... From there, ETSU built a five-point lead at 81-76, but shooting 1-of-5 from the line down the stretch, Jacksonville was able to tie the game on Colbert's free throws, setting up Smith's heroics.

Last time out

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 Monday night in front of 3,854 fans 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.

First place showdown special for the A-Sun

The CSS Atlantic Sun Game of the Week offers a historic showdown in Jacksonville when the Dolphins host the ETSU Buccaneers in a battle for first place in the conference ... Both teams enter at 9-1 and atop the standings. ETSU beat Jacksonville at home by a bucket, 84-82, on January 3rd led by Courtney Pigram's 39 points. Mike Smith hit the game-winning shot with 4.5 seconds remaining ... The contest marks the first time two A-Sun teams with as great a combined conference win percentage (.900, 18-2) with at least nine league games played will have faced each other in almost five years (9-2 Troy defeated 11-0 UCF on Jan. 31, 2004). Since ETSU joined the league in 2005, the Buccaneers own a 5-1 advantage on the Dolphins. The two have dominated league play as both own scoring margins larger than 10 points per game against conference opponents ... The game can also be seen on ASun.TV.

Three 1,000-point scoreres on the same team?

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 ... This season, the Bucs have a possibility of having three players that have all reached 1,000 points in their careers ... Those players include Courtney Pigram (Memphis), Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) ... Currently, Pigram has already reached that mark and stands at 1,829 points for his career, while Tiggs has 887 points and Smith has posted 876 for his career ... With a guaranteed 11 games left, Tiggs would have to average 10.3 points a game and Smith would need 11.3 a contest to reach 1,000 points ... 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.

Pigram remarkable in 39-point effort against JU

He had "that" look, and ETSU fans were treated to one of the most impressive individual performances in Buccaneer basketball history ... Senior guard Courtney Pigram's 39-point effort in ETSU's 84-82 victory over Jacksonville in Jan. 3 tied for 9th on the program's all-time single game scoring list, while coming up just three points shy of the Memorial Center's all-time single game scoring mark of 42 points, which was set by Dimeco Childress against Western Carolina back in 2002.

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.

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 Jan. 25, Tiggs leads the Atlantic Sun Conference and ranks 18th nationally with a 21.1 points per game average, while Pigram ranks second in the A-Sun and 40th nationally with 19.1 points a game ... In addition, Pigram has moved to 5th on the ETSU all-time scoring list with 1,829 points in his career, passing former ETSU great Tom Chilton ... He ranks 10th on the A-Sun all-time scoring list ... Additionally, Pigram is one of just four active players nationally with more than 1,500 points, 350 assists and 200 steals in their careers ... That list includes:

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

David Holston, Chicago State 419 204 1959

Courtney Pigram, ETSU 366 210 1829

Dominic James, Marquette 576 208 1631

Jerel McNeal, Marquette 375 245 1606


15-5 start ranks as one of best ever for Bucs

The Bucs 15-5 mark matches is the best start for ETSU since the 2003-04 season, when that team opened the year at 16-4 through 20 games ... The Bucs' three non-conference road wins this season (Tn. Tech, Marshall and Appalachian), also fall just one win shy of the 2003-04 season in which the Bucs won four non-conference road games (Houston, UNC-A, Tn. Tech and Fresno State) ... That 2003-04 squad ultimately finished with 27 wins, a SoCon regular season and tournament title, and a trip to the NCAAs.

Pigram makes history with triple-double

With his 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Wingate (11/20), senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) became just the second ETSU player to record a triple-double and the first to reach that special feat in NCAA Division I play this season ... He joins former Buc Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) on that exclusive list at ETSU ... In Atlantic Sun Conference play, Pigram is just the sixth player to accomplish that feat since 1996-97, and he is the first to post a triple-double against a non-conference opponent.

Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 126-39 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 championship of the A-Sun Tourney... In 2007-08, the Bucs were 11-2 at Memorial Center ... This season the Bucs are 8-1 at home.