JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 22, 2009) - Senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) scored a game high 27 points and junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) posted a season high 22 as the ETSU men's basketball team held off a stingy Campbell squad 79-60 Thursday night in Atlantic Sun Conference action at Memorial Center.
The crowd of 3,239 looked on as the Bucs improved to 14-5 overall, 8-1 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, Campbell dropped to 7-11, 4-5.
"When the guys came in the locker room it was like they had lost, but I told them that we'd won by 19," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team gave up a 22-point lead in the first half and watched Campbell cut the advantage to four in the second half. "Campbell has good players and they just came from Lipscomb where they won, so you have to give them credit because they are a good team. I'm glad Kevin Tiggs is on our team. He's the best in the league and he showed it tonight. And Mike obviously played well."
The Bucs shot an impressive 53 percent from the floor and were hitting at a 73 percent clip from the foul line, while holding Campbell to just 39 percent from the floor. In addition, the Bucs outrebounded the Camels 36-32 and forced 22 turnovers.
In the first half, the Bucs picked up where they left off earlier in the week during a 30-point win over Belmont - employing a stifling defense and effective transition offense. The result was a 23-6 run midway through the first 20 minutes that left ETSU holding a 37-15 lead at the 5:15 mark. It could have been worse for Campbell, but the Camels put together a rally of their own and outscored the Bucs 17-3 over the final five minutes to make it 40-32 at the break.
The second half began with Campbell continuing its run and making it 40-37 with five straight points. However, from there the Bucs finally found their rhythm again on offense with a 16-4 burst to make it 57-41 with 13:40 left in the game. The Camels would cut the lead to eight points once again at 64-56 with 7:12 left, but Tiggs would score 10 points to power a 15-4 run by ETSU over the next three minutes to make it 79-60 and basically close out the game for the Bucs with 3:11 left.
For Campbell, William Kossangue led the way offensively with 18 points, while Junard Hartley pitched 11.
The Bucs get a three-day break before hosting USC Upstate in the final game of ETSU's four-game homestand on Monday night at 7 p.m. That game will air regionally on CSS throughout the Southeast. For more on ETSU men's basketball throughout the season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's basketball link.