With Pigram's availability in doubt, Bucs set to face FGCU
Sunday, January 11, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 12, 2009) -- With the status of senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) in doubt, the ETSU men's basketball team looks to bring home an unblemished Atlantic Sun Conference record as the Buccaneers take on Florida Gulf Coast in the second of two games in the Sunshine State. Tip off against the Eagles inside Alico Arena is set for Monday evening at 7 p.m.

Pigram, who injured his ankle during the final minutes of the first half against Stetson, did not play in the second half and looked on as the Bucs rallied together to pick up the win and improve to 11-4 overall, 5-0 in A-Sun play. The 11-4 record matches the best start since 2003-04 for the Bucs.

For more on Monday's game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes below. The game will be available on the radio thanks to the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network, and live video streaming will be provided by ASun.TV.


The series against Florida Gulf Coast

The Bucs and Eagles have just met once, with ETSU winning that matchup 95-71 back on Feb. 8, 2008.

Last time against Florida Gulf Coast

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2008) - A night after Belmont opened the door with a win over Jacksonville, the ETSU men's basketball team sprang to the top of the Atlantic Sun Conference standings with a 95-71 win over Florida Gulf Coast in the first ever meeting between the schools Friday night at Alico Arena ... With the win, ETSU (14-9 overall, 8-2 A-Sun) moves into a three-way tie with both Belmont and Jacksonville at the top of the league standings. Meanwhile, FGCU drops to 8-16, 4-6 ... For the game, five ETSU players reached double figures, with junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) leading the way with a game high 28 points, while junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) pitched in 19, senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) netted 14 each, and sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) added 10. The Bucs shot 55 percent from the field and 42 percent from beyond the arc, overwhelming the Eagles with their offensive efficiency, while defensively forcing 25 FGCU turnovers on 12 steals ... The offensive onslaught by the Bucs highlighted the first half, as ETSU scored a season best 54 points in the initial 20 minutes and led 54-32 at the break. With the score 16-11 in favor of the Bucs at the 11:53 mark, Swader slammed home a basket on an inbounds pass and ignited a 25-9 run that made it 41-20 with 6:16 left before the intermission. In all, the Bucs shot 65 percent from the field (20-of-31) and 47 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (7-of-15), with Pigram scoring 21 points and Tiggs tossing in 10 ... The Eagles battled in the second half, cutting the lead to 13 points at 82-69 with 5:36 remaining. But fortunately for the Bucs, a 3-pointer by Strong squelched the Eagles momentum and from there ETSU outscored FGCU 10-2 the rest of the way to win by 24.

Last time out

DeLAND, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2009) - Senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) finished with a game-high 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds and junior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) added 17, as the Bucs rallied past Stetson 73-67 Saturday afternoon inside the Edmunds Center ... The win keeps ETSU's conference record unblemished, as the Bucs move to 11-4, 5-0 in the A-Sun. Stetson dropped to 6-8, 3-3 with the loss ... In addition to the stellar play of Tiggs and Smith, red-shirt freshman Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) and freshman Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) enjoyed their homecoming to the Sunshine State. Brown tallied his first career double-double, finishing with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds; while Sollazzo came off the bench and added four points, five rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes ... Stetson jumped all over the Bucs early on thanks to hot 3-point shooting, as the Hatters connected on three of their first four long range attempts and led 14-6 - forcing ETSU to call a timeout before the first media stoppage at the 14:38 mark. The Hatters would extend their lead to 10, 22-12, but Tiggs continued to single-handedly keep the Bucs in the game. Tiggs scored 13 of the first 17 ETSU points - including a fade-a-away one-handed floater and converted on the 3-point play - lowering the deficit to five, 22-17, with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half ... ETSU again pulled to within five (29-24), but Stetson nailed its seventh 3-pointer of the half to make it 34-24 with 5:18 on the clock. However, the Bucs came alive over the next four minutes, as ETSU took its first lead of the game when Tiggs' 3-pointer capped off a 12-1 run - giving the Bucs a 36-35 advantage. Unfortunately, the Hatters were bailed out right before the break, as A.J. Smith was fouled at the top of the key by Sollazzo with 3.2 seconds remaining and sank all three free throws to put Stetson ahead 40-36 at the break ... ETSU came out on fire to start the second half, as the Bucs posted a 14-3 run to capture a 50-43 lead when senior Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) came through untouched to slam home a (Mike) Smith miss with 15:08 remaining in the game. From there, the Hatters scored 10 of the next 14 points to creep back into the contest, 54-53, after Tim Lang nailed a jumper with 10:01 on the clock ... After the Hatter run, the game became a slugfest as both teams couldn't pull away from one another ... Fortunately, for the Bucs, over the next six and half minutes they looked to build momentum by moving their margin up to six (65-59), following a Smith jumper at the 3:39 mark; however, A.J. Smith's third 3-pointer of the game pulled the Hatters to within three, 67-64, with 1:49 to play in the contest ... Then, with the Bucs leading 67-64 and coming out of a 30-second timeout, Sollazzo was double-teamed at midcourt, but found Hamlin open and he dished a pass across to Brown for an uncontested dunk with 49 seconds remaining. The slam solidified the game as Tiggs scored the last four Buccaneer points and ETSU walked away with its sixth road victory of the season.

Pigram wins A-Sun POTW, pours in points last week

MACON, Ga. (Jan. 6, 2009) - ETSU's Courtney Pigram (Memphis) put on the nation's best scoring display last week, spanning three games, as the conference's active leading scorer picked up his fourth Player of the Week award, the conference office announced earlier this week ... Pigram, a senior from Memphis, Tenn., treated the ETSU fans to one of the most impressive individual performances in Buccaneer basketball history on Saturday against Jacksonville. His 39-point effort in ETSU's 84-82 victory tied for ninth 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 (set by Dimeco Childress against Western Carolina on Feb. 14, 2002). Pigram then capped off the week's efforts with a game-high 24 points against UNF on Monday. In three games -- which included 23 points against Morehead State on Dec. 30 -- Pigram scored 86 points, more than any player in the country for the week. He hit on 56 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3-point range ... The performance moved Pigram into the top 10 in Atlantic Sun history in scoring as the interdisciplinary studies major increased his career total to 1,736 points. In just the last week, he moved up from 14th on the list, passing Samford's Joey Davenport (1,651 points from 1992-96), Centenary's Patrick Greer (1,673 points from 1987-91), Stetson's E.J. Gordon (1,691 points from 2002-06) and UALR's James Scott (1,731 points from 1987-91). This week, he has the potential to move into eighth place passing Mercer's Scott Emerson and Belmont's Justin Hare with 26 points.

Pigram misses second half at Stetson

Suffering an ankle injury in the final minutes of the first half Saturday at Stetson, ETSU senior point guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) did not return in the second half of that game and is listed as questionable for tonight's matchup at FGCU ... Pigram has started 83 games at ETSU, including 15 straight starts this season.

Hamlin matches record

With his six blocks against North Florida, senior Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) put his name along some of ETSU's greatest players ... Hamlin matched the school record for blocks in a game, joining former Bucs Brad Nuckles, Greg Dennis, Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood and Eryk Thomas on top of that list.

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 on Feb. 14, 2002.

Pigram, Tiggs among nations best scorers

Through games of Jan. 4, ETSU's scoring tandem of Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) were ranked by the NCAA as among the nation's best scorers ... Tiggs ranked 17th in the country at 21 points per game, while Pigram was 21st at 20.5 a contest ... Since Jan. 4, Tiggs is now averaging 20.8 points per game compared to 19.7 for Pigram, and both players will likely rank in the Top 25 nationally when the new listings are posted on Jan. 12 ... Currently, Pigram and Tiggs are the only tandem in the country to rank first and second on their conference scoring list.

11-4 start ranks as one of best ever for Bucs

The Bucs 11-4 mark matches the best start for ETSU since the 2003-04 season, when that team opened the year at 11-4 through 14 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.

Brown steps up to join the Big Three

While senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), and junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) have been the talk of ETSU fans and Atlantic Sun opponents, redshirt freshman forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) has gotten into the act lately, helping the Bucs to their second league win of the season, 76-62 over Kennesaw State ... Brown scored a career high 18 points, and set personal marks for field goals (nine), field goals attempted (10), and minutes (38) ... He then followed up that performance in the Bucs' next A-Sun game, posting a career high and team best 11 rebounds in the win over Jacksonville (1/3), and he had a double-double against Stetson (1/10) with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

ETSU 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 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 ... A full list of those players can be found below:

A-Sun Triple Doubles

Since 1996-97

Player School Date Opp Pt-Rb-Ast

Courtney Pigram ETSU 11/20/08 Wingate 21-10-10

Tim Smith ETSU 1/25/06 KSU 21-10-10

Damitrius Coleman Mercer 2/27/05 JU 13-14-14

Damitrius Coleman Mercer 1/03/05 FAU 14-12-11

Kingsley Edwards UCF 1/16/05 Troy 10-10-14

Dexter Lyons UCF 1/11/03 Troy 14-13-10