Red hot Bucs set for league road game at Kennesaw State
Monday, December 22, 2008

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 23, 2008) -- Off to one of the best starts in program history, the ETSU men's basketball team heads back into Atlantic Sun Conference play, hitting the road to face Kennesaw State Tuesday night at the KSU Convocation Center. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be available on ASun.TV.

The Bucs, who are currently 7-3 overall, 1-0 in A-Sun play, are one of just 12 ETSU teams since 1966-67 to begin the year at 7-3 or better. And this year's Bucs are the only team of those 12 to play just two home games in their first 10 contests. 

ETSU's strong start can be traced to the play of the "Big Three," seniors Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and Courtney Pigram (Memphis), and junior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.). Tiggs and Pigram are currently ranked first and second in the A-Sun in scoring, with Tiggs averaging 22 points a game, and Pigram adding 19 a contest. Meanwhile, Pigram leads the league in assists with 5.5 a contest, while Smith is averaging double-digits scoring and leads the Bucs with 7.3 rebounds a contest.

For more on Tuesday's game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes below.


The series against Kennesaw State

In what has been one of ETSU's most heated games each year since joining the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Bucs head on the road to face Kennesaw State ... ETSU leads the all-time series 4-1, a matchup that first began during the 2005-06 season ... The Bucs won the last meeting 72-66 back on Feb. 3 inside Memorial Center.

Last time against Kennesaw State

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 3, 2008) - With ETSU holding a comfortable 13-point advantage midway through the first half, this game between the Buccaneers and Atlantic Sun Conference rival Kennesaw State did not have the same intensity of the previous four matches between the two schools. But it did not stay that way ... After the Owls overcame the 13-point deficit to take a 31-29 lead at the halftime break, a fiery second half that featured a couple of minor scuffles, a technical foul, and a stingy ETSU fullcourt defense resulted in a 72-66 ETSU win Sunday afternoon in front of 3,287 fans at Memorial Center ... The ETSU offense was clicking early in the game, as the Bucs pulled out to a lead of as many as 13 points at 24-11 with just over eight minutes left in the first half. However, from there Kennesaw State went to its 3-point attack, hitting on 7-of-13 from beyond the arc to outscore the Bucs 20-5 the rest of the way and lead 31-29 at the break ... In the second half, the two teams traded baskets early, but the Bucs went to the full court pressure and the result was a 12-0 burst by the Bucs that made it 51-39 with 11:39 left in the game. ETSU held much of that lead for the next four minutes, but KSU rallied with a 6-0 spurt of its own to pull to within three at 59-56 with 5:23 remaining. But that would be as close as Kennesaw State could get as the Bucs hit their foul shots down the stretch to finish with a six-point cushion ... For the game, ETSU got a team high 18 points and eight rebounds from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), while senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) scored 13 and 10, respectively. Sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) also had a big night on the boards, matching Tiggs with eight rebounds and helping the Bucs to a 38-30 advantage over KSU in that statistical category ... In the second half, ETSU shot 50 percent from the field and held the Owls to just 38 percent after allowing Kennesaw State to shoot 44 percent in the first half. ETSU grabbed 11 steals and forced 16 turnovers.

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 17, 2008) - In a battle that live up to the rivalries long and storied history, senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) scored 30-plus points for the third time in four games and fellow senior Courtney Pigram (Memphis) added 24 as the ETSU men's basketball team dropped in-state foe Chattanooga 82-70 Wednesday night in non-conference action at Memorial Center ... A crowd of 3,102 watched the Bucs move to 7-3 on the season, while the Mocs dropped to 1-7 on the year. With the win, ETSU improved to a perfect 3-0 against former Southern Conference foes Marshall, Appalachian State and Chattanooga ... Tiggs finished with a career and game high 32 points, meaning the senior has now scored 115 points in his last four games - Marshall (31), Mercer (21), Appalachian State (31) and Chattanooga (32). Meanwhile, Pigram posted a 20-plus point game for the fifth time this season, while Smith scored in double figures (10) for the ninth time in 10 games this year. The Bucs shot 48 percent from the floor and held UTC to just a 31 percent clip on the night ... For Chattanooga, Stephen McDowell led the way with 28, while both Nicchaeus Doaks and Ty Patterson posted 10 each ... The Mocs opened the game on fire from the field, producing a 10-2 offensive run to build a 21-10 lead with just under 14 minutes left in the half and causing Bartow to take a 30-second timeout to stem the tide. It worked, and ETSU responded by outscoring the Mocs 21-10 over the next nine minutes to tie the game at 31-31 with six minutes left on the clock ... ETSU then used another 10-0 run to take the lead at 41-36 with two minutes left in the half, but Chattanooga responded and a layup by Keyron Sheard tied the game 41-41 at the break. The Bucs shot 46 percent from the field in the first half compared to 33 percent for the Mocs, but UTC got eight more shots from the field to make up the difference in percentage ... As they did at Appalachian State, the Buccaneers opened the second half with a flurry on the offensive end, highlighted by a three from Pigram, as well as a three and dunk by Tiggs. The result was a 16-4 start to the half and a 57-45 ETSU advantage with 16:45 left in the game ... However, with Tiggs in foul trouble and on the bench with four personals, UTC slowly chipped away at the Bucs' lead over the next 11 minutes and manufactured a 7-0 run to make it a 68-67 game with just over four minutes left. A basket by Tiggs broke the string and made it 70-67, and from there a pair of free throws by Smith and another four straight from Tiggs made it 76-67 with just over a minute left in the game. The run ended Chattanooga's hopes for a win.

7-3 start ranks as one of best ever for Bucs

Since the 1966-67 season, only 12 other ETSU teams have started the season at 7-3 or better ... And in fact, none of those teams played fewer home games in their first 10 contests that this year's squad, which has played at home just twice this season ... In more recent years, the Bucs 7-3 mark is the best since the 2003-04 season, when that team opened the year at 7-3 through nine 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 115 points in just the last four games, ETSU senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) currently ranks 12th in the country in scoring with 22.0 points per game ... Tiggs leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in points, while senior teammate Courtney Pigram (Memphis) is just behind in second place at 19.0 a contest ... In fact, Tiggs and Pigram are the only two players in the country from the same time to be No. 1 and No. 2 on their conference scoring list.

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, 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

Kevin Tiggs, ETSU 28.8

Tiggs is also 1 of 16 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.

Non-conference home win streak at 19

Over the last five seasons, the Bucs have fared well against non-conference opponents within the confines of Memorial Center ... In fact, the Bucs have won 19 straight non-conference home games since losing a 90-73 contest to Fresno State back on Nov. 27, 2004 ... ETSU has wins over teams such as Marshall (twice), Tennessee Tech (twice), Chattanooga (twice), Central Michigan, Morehead State, UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky, Radford and Appalachian State during that time frame.

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 ... 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 205-146 for his career, a 58 percent winning percentage ... Bartow, the son of legendary coach Gene Bartow, is also 102-64 (.614) 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.