ETSU hoops set to open with Milligan exhibition
Friday, October 31, 2008

JOHNSON CITY (Oct. 31, 2008) -- The ETSU men's basketball team will open its 2008-09 season with an exhibition matchup Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. inside Memorial Center against nearby Milligan College. The game will air live on the radio thanks to the Mountain States Health Alliance Buccaneer Sports Network, while ASun.TV will air live video streaming of the game.

The Buccaneers are coming off a 2007-08 season in which they won 19 games and made it to the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. The team returns its top two scorers from a year ago in senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.).

ETSU will open regular season play on Nov. 14 as they meet Temple in the first round of the Charleston Classic at 3 p.m. inside College of Charleston's new arena. The game will air live in the Southeast on cable courtesy of CSS.

For more on Saturday's game and the upcoming season, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes below:


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 Milligan

While this matchup between the Bucs and Buffaloes is merely an exhibition matchup, the two teams have met in regular season action an impressive 58 times ... The first game between the schools came in 1921 with the last official matchup coming in 2006 ... ETSU holds the all-time series advantage 34-24.

Last time against Milligan

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 13, 2007) - Even a power outage which darkened the Memorial Center for nearly 20 minutes late in the second half could not stop the ETSU men's basketball team from taking a convincing 100-53 exhibition win over nearby Milligan College ...Thriving off a total of 29 forced turnovers and 19 steals in the game, the Buccaneers rushed out to a 27-4 lead in the opening minutes and never looked back. ETSU was led by a game-high 22 points from fifth-year senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis), while sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) pitched in 16 points and junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) added 14 in the winning cause ... The Bucs, who are coming off a hard-fought 78-74 loss to Atlantic 10 foe Dayton in their season opener last Saturday, finished the first half with a 60-25 advantage and then coasted through the second half to finish with the 47-point win ... Along with forcing 29 turnovers and collecting 19 steals, the Bucs shot 59 percent from the floor for the game, including a 75 percent clip from the free throw line. ETSU out-rebounded Milligan 41-26 and dished out 25 assists to the Buffaloes mere 13 ... For Milligan, only Isaiah Harris eclipsed the double figure scoring mark with 11 points.

Last time out

NASHVILLE (March 7, 2008) - What may be one of the most controversial foul calls in Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament history highlighted a nightmarish final seven minutes for the ETSU men's basketball team, as the Buccaneers watched a 10-point advantage vanish in the final minutes of a 69-65 loss to rival Belmont inside the Allen Arena ... Leading 63-53 with 6:22 remaining in the game, Belmont went on an 11-2 run to make it 65-64 with 1:22 left on the clock. From there, the Bucs and Bruins made defensive stops, but with less than 30 seconds left a mad scramble on the floor ultimately ended with senior Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) being fouled by Belmont's Andy Wicke with just 17 seconds left. Following the whistle, official Doug Sirmons called a technical foul on Swader ... The end result was Belmont's Justin Hare hitting a pair of free throws on the technical to give Belmont the lead, and Swader later missed the front end of his one-and-one. ETSU was forced to foul at that point and ultimately took the loss ... The foul call tarnished what was otherwise a great game for Swader, who finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds to post his fourth career double-double.

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.

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 enjoyed 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.

Pigram named preseason POTY; Bucs picked second

MACON, Ga. (Oct. 8, 2008) - For the second straight year, ETSU guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) is the preseason pick by both coaches and the media to be the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Pigram and the Buccaneers were picked to finish second by the coaches and third by the media in preseason A-Sun voting released Wednesday by the conference office ... Pigram, a senior shooting guard, was the 2007 A-Sun Player of the Year and is a two-time All A-Sun First Team Selection. He has scored 1,445 points in his career and led the Bucs in scoring last season with 15.8 a contest ... While Pigram topped the preseason's individual list, an unprecedented three straight conference championships and nine returning letter winners earned the Belmont Bruins the nod from both the coaches and the media as the preseason pick to win their second consecutive Atlantic Sun regular-season title as well as a fourth straight conference championship.

Bucs set to face Charleston Classic field

Earlier this year, ESPN Regional Television announced the schedule of matchups for the inaugural Charleston Classic, set for Nov. 14-16 at the new Carolina First Center in Charleston, S.C. The ETSU Buccaneers will take on Temple in the first round at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Nov. 14 ... The event will include 12 games in three days, with six games being broadcast on CSS. The Southern Conference, based in Spartanburg, S.C., will serve as the event's sponsoring conference ... The 2008 Charleston Classic field includes eight teams: College of Charleston, Clemson, East Tennessee State, Hofstra, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Temple, TCU and Western Michigan. Two of the teams, Clemson and Temple, played in the 2007-08 NCAA Tournament ... On those teams, the Bucs have only met Clemson (0-7), College of Charleston (3-7) and SIU-Edwardsville (1-0) before this season ... In the first round of action, beginning Friday, Nov. 14, TCU will take on Western Michigan in the first game to be played at Carolina First Center. Also in the first round, ETSU will face Temple, SIU-Edwardsville will meet College of Charleston, and Hofstra and Clemson will square off ... Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout the tournament will face off in a championship match Sunday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m. ET on CSS. Complete matchups are listed below ... Tickets for the tournament are on sale at, or by telephone at the Carolina First Center box office at (843) 953-2632.

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 final game of the year in the championship of the A-Sun Tournament ... In 2007-08, the Bucs were 11-2 at Memorial Center.