ETSU men set to open home schedule Thursday against Wingate
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 19, 2008) -- The ETSU men's basketball team will play its regular season home opener Thursday night, hosting Wingate inside Memorial Center at 7 p.m.

While the Bucs will begin their home schedule, the ETSU women's basketball team will be honored for their 2007-08 championship season and the Lady Bucs will receive their championship rings at halftime.

The Bucs are coming off a 1-2 start to open their season, picking up a win over SIU Edwardsville and suffering losses to Temple and Hofstra at the Charleston Classic last weekend.

For more on Thursday's game and up-to-date information on the Bucs, read below or click the game note link above. A link to both ASun.TV's live video stream of the game and a free audio link are also available above.  

Buc Shots

A seven-time NCAA Tournament and two-time NIT participant, the ETSU Buccaneers enter the 2008-09 season having come up just one win shy of the 20-win mark in 2007-08 and looking to avenge a hard fought loss to Belmont in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament ... With a 19-13 overall mark and a third place finish in regular season league action (11-5) a year ago, the Bucs return their top two and three of their top six scorers from a year ago, led by first-team All Atlantic Sun selection Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ... The 6-1 guard will begin his senior campaign with 1,445 career points after having averaged a team-leading 15.8 points, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals a game last year .... Pigram will be joined by senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who helped power the offense with 14.6 points and a team-high 2.9 offensive rebounds a game last season en route to earning second team All A-Sun honors.

The series against Wingate

This will be the first meeting ever between the Bucs and Wingate.

Last time out

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Nov. 16, 2008) - Hofstra sophomore guard Charles Jenkins scored 31 points, including the go-ahead free throw with 1.1 seconds left in the game to give Hofstra a 76-75 win over ETSU in the final round of the Charleston Classic inside the Carolina First Arena ... The young and inexperienced Buccaneers (1-2), playing four freshmen and two other upper classmen with limited past game experience, were dismal in their clock management late in the game, relinquishing a 75-71 lead in the final 2:39. After a jumper by senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) missed the mark and senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) followed with an offensive rebound and miss with only 31 seconds left, the Pride (2-1) got a final opportunity and Jenkins was fouled driving to the basket with just over a second left ... He made the first free throw and then intentionally missed his second, forcing junior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) to fire a long desperation shot as the clock expired ... Jenkins led all scorers and was joined by teammates Cornelius Vines and Tony Dennison in double figures, with Vines netting 16 and Dennison 13. Meanwhile, ETSU's Smith continued his solid play with a team-high 20, while Pigram finished with 19 and Tiggs added 18 ... In the first half, both teams had a back-and-forth battle with each team holding leads of as much as five points. Near the end of the half, Hofstra built an eight-point lead at 44-36 with just nine seconds left before the intermission. However, from there Pigram was fouled and hit a pair of free throws with three seconds left, and then he stole the in-bounds pass and scored on a layup as time expired to make it 44-40 at the break ... The second half began with the Bucs going on an 11-4 run to take a 51-48 lead with 17:07 remaining in the game. ETSU then produced a small offensive spurt capped by a 15-foot jump shot from 6-11 Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) made it a five-point game with just over eight minutes left in the game. The Bucs held the lead the rest of the way until Hofstra tied it on a jumper by Jenkins with 47 seconds left tied the game ... For the game, the Bucs only turned the ball over 12 times and hung with a physical Hofstra team on the boards, only being out-rebounded 36-32. Hofstra shot 49 percent from the field and overcame 18 turnovers to still pick up the win.

Bartow eyeing 200 career wins, 100 ETSU victories

ETSU head coach Murry Bartow is just one win shy of 200 for his career and needs just four more wins to reach 100 in his time at ETSU ... Bartow, the son of legendary coach Gene Bartow, is 199-145 (.578) in his career and 96-62 (.608) at ETSU ... In his previous five seasons at ETSU, Bartow has averaged 19 wins a year.

Bartow adds three early signees to 2009-10 class

ETSU men's basketball head coach Murry Bartow announced Wednesday that the Buccaneers have received three national letters of intent for their 2009-2010 recruiting class ... Three high school seniors have signed the dotted line with the Bucs, a trio that includes 6-foot-3 guard Sheldon Cooley of Tampa, Fla., 6-foot-8 forward Lukas Poderis of Port Richey, Fla., and 6-foot-1 guard Bruce Grimm of Rochester, Ind. ... Cooley, who averaged 22.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 7.0 blocks and 5.1 steals a game during his junior season at Plant High School, has been a four-year letter winner on the Panther squad. He was the Western Conference Player of the Year in 2007-08, a first team All-Suncoast and All-Tribune pick, and a third-team All-State Class 5A selection. Along with multiple other player of the year and all-star selections, Cooley will finish his senior season as his high school's all-time leading scorer ... While Poderis is originally from Lithuania, he currently plays at Ridgewood High School in Port Richey, Fla., the same school that produced former ETSU standout Andrew Reed. Poderis has helped his high school to three straight 20-wins seasons, and a year ago he averaged 18.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 67 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range. A 1,000-point scorer, Poderis was the Sunshine Athletic Conference Player of the Year last season, and a third-team All-State pick ... Grimm has been a three-year starter at Rochester High School, was a first-team all-conference selection as a sophomore and junior, while also receiving his team's most valuable player award. He averaged 20 points a game, while dishing out five assists, three steals and three rebounds a contest as a junior ... The Bucs are scheduled to have one more scholarship open for the 2009-2010 season.

Smith stepping up in junior year

In his first three games this season, 6-foot-6 junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) has done his part and then some ... Currently, Smith leads the team with 16.3 points per game and is averaging a team-best 7.7 rebounds a game ... Smith is shooting 50 percent from 3-point range and a team-best 2.7 steals per game ... Smith, who has scored 648 points in his career, was named a team captain and fit that role well.

Non-conference home win streak at 15

Over the last four seasons, the Bucs have fared well against non-conference opponents within the confines of Memorial Center ... In fact, the Bucs have won 17 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, Central Michigan, Morehead State, UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky, Radford and Appalachian State during that time frame.

Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 118-38 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.

Ward to be redshirted

Head coach Murry Bartow announced this weekend during the Charleston Classic that he plans to redshirt true freshman forward J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) ... The 6-6 post had seen playing time in both of ETSU's two exhibition games, but did not play in the opener against Temple and was in street clothes for the SIU Edwardsville game.

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.

Injury bug early on

As the preseason unfolded over the last three weeks, the Bucs have dodged their share of injuries, but will still be without a key starter heading into the season ... Senior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) will miss at least two months with an injured wrist suffered during an attempted car jacking in Atlanta ... Davis' injury means that freshman point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) will be forced into the starting role at the point against Temple ... Meanwhile, freshman post Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) was slowed with an injured foot for much of the preseason and just returned two weeks ago, while sophomore post Tommy Hubbard (Boston) is still nursing a sore elbow and actually missed the SIU Edwardsville game with an injured toe.