Bucs, Dolphins to kick off final two months of ASun play with critical matchup Saturday
Friday, January 2, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 3, 2009) -- To start its final stretch run of Atlantic Sun Conference games over the next two months, the ETSU men's basketball team will face off with another preseason league favorite, as the Jacksonville Dolphins invade Memorial Center for a 4 p.m. matchup Saturday.

The Bucs (8-4, 2-0 ASun) are coming off a disappointing 71-61 loss to Morehead State on Tuesday, and will be meeting a Jacksonville team (3-7, 2-0 ASun) returns seven players from a team that played in the A-Sun tournament final last year. In fact, the Dolphins already have a win over last season's league champion Belmont, as well as Lipscomb.

Fans unable to attend the game can watch via ASun.TV, and the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network's radio broadcast will be available on the network, as well as on ETSUBucs.com.

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



The series against Jacksonville

ETSU and Jacksonville have met seven times overall, with the series standings at 4-3 in favor of ETSU ... The Bucs are 4-1 against the Dolphins since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06 ... ETSU had lost the first two meetings against Jacksonville in the early 1970s, when the Dolphins were a national title contending program.

Last time against Jacksonville

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 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 ... 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.

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 30, 2008) - A post-Christmas swoon led to a bump in the road for the ETSU men's basketball team, as the Buccaneers relinquished a nine-point second half lead and fell to former Ohio Valley Conference foe Morehead State 71-61 inside Memorial Center ... Building a 42-33 lead over the first five minutes of the second half, the Bucs were not able to keep the Eagles down, as Morehead State produced a 14-2 run just minutes later to retake the lead, and then outscored ETSU 13-4 in the final three minutes to close out the contest. With the win, Morehead State snapped ETSU's current five-game winning streak, and the loss snapped a 19-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents for ETSU, a run that had spanned four seasons ... With the loss, the Bucs dropped to 8-4 overall, while Morehead State improved to 5-8 ... The Bucs were sluggish to start the game, as Morehead State built a lead of as many as six points at 20-14 on a 3-pointer by Maze Stallworth with just under 10 minutes left before the half. Morehead State then held the lead until the 5:46 mark, when a 3-pointer by Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) made it 26-24 in favor of ETSU. The Bucs would then hold the lead the rest of the half and take their largest advantage of the game when Courtney Pigram (Memphis) hit a pair of free throws with just 2.5 seconds left to make it 33-29 ... ETSU was able to remedy the slow start in many ways thanks to their defensive effort, as the Bucs held the Eagles to just 32 percent shooting in the first half and forced nine turnovers. Meanwhile, the Bucs hit on 48 percent of their shots from the floor. However, those good times did not last ... The Bucs opened the second half with a 9-4 run to take their largest lead of the game, but from there Morehead State used a 22-of-25 effort from foul line and out-rebounded the Bucs 41-28 to post the decisive statistics of the game and take the victory ... For the game, Morehead State's Leon Buchanan scored a game-high 23 points, while Stallworth joined him in double figures with 22 points, and Demonte Harper pitched in 12. Most impressive for the Eagles was forward Kenneth Faried's 17 rebound effort ... For the Bucs, Pigram matched Buchanan's 23-point effort, while fellow senior Tiggs had 21 on the night.

8-4 start ranks as one of best ever for Bucs

Since the 1966-67 season, only 12 other ETSU teams have started the season at 8-4 or better ... And in fact, none of those teams played fewer home games in their first 11 contests than this year's squad, which has played at home just twice this season ... In more recent years, the Bucs 8-4 mark matches the same start for the 2003-04 season, when that team opened the year at 8-4 through 12 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.

Tiggs currently ranked among nation's best scorers

Having scored 155 points in just the last six games, ETSU senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) currently ranks 13th in the country in scoring with 21.7 points per game ... Tiggs leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in points, while senior teammate Courtney Pigram (Memphis) is just behind in second place at 18.6 a contest ... In fact, Tiggs and Pigram are the only two players in the country from the same team to be No. 1 and No. 2 on their conference scoring list.

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.) got into the act last week, 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).

Tiggs also in "rare air" with nation's best scorers

For senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), the month of December has certainly been special when it comes to his scoring efforts ... In a recent listing of best scorers in December (12/23), Tiggs ranks 8th overall:

Stephen Curry, Davidson 37.3

Ben Woodside, N.Dak State 33.3

Stephen McDowell, Chattanooga 31.0

Jermaine Taylor, UCF 30.5

Three tied at 29.0

Michael Bramos, Miami of Ohio 27.8

Kevin Tiggs, ETSU 27.7

Tiggs is also 1 of 10 in the country averaging at least 20 ppg and shooting at least 50.0 percent from the floor. Those players include:

Blake Griffin of Oklahoma, James Harden of Arizona State, Drake Reed of Austin Peay, Travis Holmes of VMI, Jerome Randle of California, Chavis Holmes of VMI, David Huertas of Mississippi, Kevyn Green of Southesat Louisiana, Sam Young of Pittsburgh, Eric Maynor of VCU, and Manny Harris of Michigan.

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

Bartow reaches 100th victory at ETSU;

recently eclipsed 200 career wins with Wingate victory

ETSU head coach Murry Bartow reached 100 wins at ETSU with the Buccaneers 81-61 win over Mercer (12/5), a milestone which comes after just having reached 200 career coaching wins as the Buccaneers defeated Wingate (11/20) ... Bartow is now 206-147 for his career, a 58 percent winning percentage ... Bartow, the son of legendary coach Gene Bartow, is also 103-64 (.617) at ETSU, which gives him the best winning percentage in school history ... In his previous five seasons at ETSU, Bartow has averaged 19 wins a year.