JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 14, 2007) -- The ETSU men's basketaball team hits the road again Saturday, taking on Syrcause at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome before heading to Honolulu for the Rainbow Classic.
The Syracuse game, which will be televised locally on WJHL (CBS), is the second of a three-game stretch which sees the Bucs playing teams out of the Big 12 Conference (Oklahoma State), the Big East Conference (Syracuse) and the Southeastern Conference (Georgia). Currently at 4-4 on the year, the Bucs are hoping for a successful trip before returning home to rekindle a longtime rivalry with former Southern Conference foe Appalachian State on Dec. 30.
Fans are reminded they can watch the game inside Fanatics Restaurant at the Doubletree Hotel Saturday evening as part of the Buc Bash. Beverage and food specials will be offered, and free ETSU giveaways will be For more on the Syracuse game, click the game notes link above or read below. Also, click the link above to access ETSU free live audio stream.
A seven-time NCAA Tournament participant and two-time NIT participant, the ETSU Buccaneers ended the 2007-08 season coming off a regular season Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 24-10 overall record, a 16-2 league mark a year ago ... The Bucs return the 2006-07 A-Sun Player of the Year in junior guardCourtney Pigram (Memphis), as well as the A-Sun Coach of the Year Murry Bartow and All A-Sun Freshman team pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) ... Along with returning players like Pigram and Smith, the Bucs also return significant contributors to last season's success such as senior post Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.), sophomore point guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville), senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna), and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) ... Newcomers for the Bucs that are expected to contribute early and often include junior college transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who was the JuCo Division II National Player of the Year last season, and lightning quick JuCo point guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) ... Several Bucs finished last season leading A-Sun statistical categories, see page 6 of this notebook for more information on those players and their rank ... In addition, see where the Bucs ranked as a team and individually in the NCAA charts last season on page 4.
The series against Syracuse
The Bucs and Orangmen have only met once before, with that game coming in the early part of the 1988-89 season ... In that game, Syracuse rolled 120-81 against an ETSU team that ultimately would finish the season 20-11 and make the first of four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament ... The sophomore point guard for the Bucs that night was current ETSU graduate manager Keith "Mister" Jennings, who would eventually be an All-American, finish as one of the greatest players in ETSU history, and enjoy a long professional career that included multiple years playing in the NBA for both the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets.
The Bucs vs. the Big East
As might be expected when playing arguably the best hoops conference in the country, the Buccaneers have not enjoyed much success against Big East Conference foes in the program's history ... ETSU is 1-10 all-time against the Big East, with the team's only victory coming against Bob Huggins' Cincinnati squad 90-79 in 1990 ... The Bucs also about clipped the Bearcats in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament, falling 80-77 in that contest thanks to a late 3-pointer. Below are the teams ETSU has played in the Big East, with their record against those schools and their last meeting in parenthesis.
Team Record Last Meeting
Cincinnati 1-2 (2004)
DePaul 0-1 (1970)
Marquette 0-3 (1993)
South Florida 0-1 (2003)
Syracuse 0-1 (1988)
West Virginia 0-2 (1997)
Last time out
STILLWATER, Okla. (Dec. 8, 2007)- Relinquishing a six-point lead midway through the second half, the ETSU men's basketball team went scoreless in the final 6:52 against Big 12 Conference member Oklahoma State, eventually falling 78-65 in non-conference action Saturday evening at the Gallagher-Iba Arena ... The Bucs (4-4) enjoyed their largest lead of the game at 55-49 on a 3-pointer by junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) with 13:02 left. However, with the score at 65-64 in favor of the Bucs with 6:52 left, Oklahoma State (5-3) went on to score the final 14 points and get the victory. Pigram finished with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting, but the Cowboys' James Anderson powered OSU with a game-high 26 ... The box score looked good for the Bucs in many ways, as ETSU shot 51 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Cowboys 33-29. However, it was OSU's 40 percent shooting from 3-point range, a six-point advantage at the foul line, and the Bucs' 25 turnovers that were too much to overcome ... In the first half, the Buccaneers took an early 6-4 lead, but the Cowboys didn't let that stand and used a pair of offensive runs to build a lead of as many as 13 points at 28-15 with 10:43 left before the intermission. However, ETSU did not fold and used a 10-0 run of its own to cut the lead to one at 38-37 with just over 1:05 left on the clock. OSU's Anderson added a final free throw to go with his 18-point first half to give the Cowboys a 39-37 advantage at the break. It was the first time this season that the Bucs have trailed at the break ... The second half saw the Bucs bring the fight to OSU early and often, taking the lead at 41-39 with less than two minutes played in the second period. From there it was back and forth until the Bucs' offense went in the deep freeze ... Along with Pigram, junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) nearly picked up a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Other players in double figures included OSU's Terrel Harris and Byron Eaton with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
With his play in recent games, it is obvious that senior guardTravis Strong (Memphis) has been trying to work his way into the starting lineup ... A starter in the past, Strong missed last season with a serious knee injury and had filled the role as first off the bench to backup the perimeter this season ... But against Tennessee Wesleyan, Strong was given a starting spot for the first time this season and responded with a game high 21 points, matching his career high with five 3-pointers ... In the three games prior to the Marshall game (12/4), Strong has eclipsed 20 points twice and has scored 59 points (19.7 ppg) ... Currently, Strong stands at 770 points for his career or 8.4 ppg.
Pigram eclipses 1,000 points
Beginning just his third season at ETSU, junior guardCourtney Pigram (Memphis) has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark with a jump shot from the right corner at the 17:52 mark against Chattanooga (11/28) ... That basket gave Pigram 1,000 for his career and following the contest with the Mocs, the junior now stands at 1,068 for his career ... The 6-1 shooting guard scored 325 points as a freshman and then netted a remarkable 614 as a sophomore ... His 614 points a year ago ranks 6th on the single season list.
Another championship banner
With a win against Stetson (2/22), the Bucs wrapped up an outright 2006-07 A-Sun regular season title and garnered the No. 1 seed in the week's league championship tournament ... For ETSU, it was the continuation of a recent string of success that dates back to the 2000-2001 season ... In all, the Bucs have captured championships in five of the last seven seasons, including back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips in 2002-03 and 2003-04, and a trip to the NIT in 2006-07 ... Here is the championship breakdown:
2000-2001-- Southern Conference North Division Championship
2001-2002 -- SoCon North Division championship
2002-2003 -- SoCon North Division championship; SoCon Tournament Championship
2003-2004 -- SoCon North Division championship, SoCon Regular Season Championship, SoCon Tournament Championship
2006-2007 -- Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championship
Entering this season, a great deal was expected of both junior transferKevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) ... Following eight games, the two are definitely meeting or surpassing those expections ... In the Bucs' win at UNCA, Tiggs scored the game winner with 1.7 seconds left and also picked up 20 points ... In the first Marshall game, Tiggs broke out with a game-high 26 points, and setting career marks in most every statistical category ... In all, Tiggs has scored at least 20 points in four of the Bucs' eight games, and currently stands tall on the Atlantic Sun stat sheets, ranking sixth in scoring, second in field goal percentage, and sixth in free throw percentage ... Meanwhile, Swader has provided an immediate offensive threat in his first six games, currently standing fifth on the team with 7.4 points per game ... Currently, Swader is first in the A-Sun with a 54 percent 3-point field goal percentage, and is second in overall field goal percentage at 60 percent.
With 183 fouls in their first eight games -- an average of 22.9 a contest -- the Buccaneers are certainly hearing the whistle too much ... By comparison, ETSU opponents have committed just 153 fouls against the Bucs ... In particular, during the Bucs' first three losses of the season -- all on the road -- they have been whistled 26 times (Dayton), 27 times (Marshall) and 30 times (Chattanooga) ... In all three games, the Bucs had multiple players leave the game with five fouls, including three players against UTC ... Against the Mocs, those 30 fouls led to a lop-sided foul shot differential, as the Mocs were 31-of-44 from the line compared to just 17-of-23 for ETSU.
Chilton's No. 42 comes out of retirement
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 31, 2007)- For many years, Tom Chilton's No. 42 has held a special place in ETSU basketball's history. Next season, fans will see that special number on the floor once again ... Chilton, who ranks first all-time with 26.1 points per game and fifth on the all-time scoring list with 1,801, has agreed to allow junior transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) to wear his No. 42 jersey for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 season. Chilton, who now makes his home in Madison, Ind., said he was honored a current player would want to wear his number ... "I wish him the best and I'm honored he wants to wear No. 42," said Chilton, whose 42 is the only retired number in ETSU's program history. "I hope he always considers that the number doesn't make the player, but the player makes the number. A lot of hard work and effort went into that number during my time there, but ETSU gave a lot back to me and I wouldn't be where I am today without that university, so I'm happy to allow the number to be worn again." ... ETSU head coach Murry Bartow said he was appreciative Chilton would allow the number to come out of retirement, and he reiterated that the number will go back into retirement two years from now ... "Tom Chilton was one of the finest players to ever wear an ETSU uniform, and his willingness to allow Kevin to wear the number shows he is still proud to be a part of our program's tradition," Bartow said. "It's our expectation that Kevin understand the importance of the number and the responsibility that goes with wearing it." ... Tiggs, the 2007 National Junior College Division II Player of the Year, said he certainly understood the history behind the number ... "Mr. Chilton was and is a legend here, so wearing his number comes with a great deal of responsibility," Tiggs said. "I just want to play in a way that would make him proud."
Non-conference home win streak at 15
Over the last three seasons, the Bucs have fared well against non-conference opponents within the confines of Memorial Center ... In fact, the Bucs have won 15 straight non-conference homes games since losing a 90-73 contest to Fresno State back on Nov. 27, 2004 ... ETSU has enjoyed wins over teams such as Marshall (2), Chattanooga, Central Michigan, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech, UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky and Radford in that time frame.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 110-36 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 75 percent ... The Bucs ETSU 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 this season, but fell to Belmont in the final game of the year in the championship of the A-Sun Tournament.
Bucs leading the A-Sun in field goal percentage
Currently, the Bucs sport four of the best shooters in the Atlantic Sun Conference, asKevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and Travis Strong (Memphis) rank 2nd, 5th and 7th, respectively ... For a complete breakdown of the Bucs' standing in the Atlantic Sun Conference stat sheets, see the column to the left.
A great season in 2006-07
With 16 wins in its last 19 games a year ago, ETSU enjoyed a 2006-07 record of 24-10 overall, 16-2 in A-Sun play ... It was the best overall and conference record for the Bucs since the 2003-04 season ... That season, the Bucs were 27-6 and 15-1 in Southern Conference play, losing by three points to Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Bucs on the Tube
Along with the new ASun.TV package which will video stream all ETSU men's and women's home games on the Internet, the Bucs will again have a significant presence on the television screen as well this year ... In fact, ETSU's trips to Oklahoma State (Dec. 8) and Syracuse (Dec. 15) will air live locally, with the Oklahoma State game showing on WKPT (ABC) and the Syracuse contest airing on WJHL (CBS) ... The Bucs will also appear on regional cable through the Friday's night CSS Atlantic Sun Game of the Week with the Jan. 25th trip to Jacksonville and the Feb. 1 home game against Mercer scheduled for air on CSS ... In addition, Charter Main Street will air its weekly ETSU replay on Charter 13 and Comcast 14 Tuesday nights at 8 p.m., with the weekly games beginning on Dec. 4th with the Tennessee-Wesleyan game ... For a complete schedule, visit ETSUBucs.com.
Bucs dominate Preseason All A-Sun Picks
Last season, ETSU won its first Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball title, but Belmont denied the Buccaneers the conference's automatic bid in the final of the General Shale Brick Men's Basketball Championship ... Entering the 2007-08 season, both the coaches and the media predict that the Buccaneers will again be battling the Bruins for conference supremacy ... Both chose ETSU as the favorite to win the conference and defend its regular-season title with Belmont second ... The Bucs were the clear choice by the media to win the tournament ... The Buccaneers, who have gone 28-10 in A-Sun play in their two years in the league, will continue to be led byCourtney Pigram (Memphis). The junior from Memphis, Tenn. was named the preseason Player of the Year following up his Player of the Year award for the 2006-07 season. As a sophomore, Pigram averaged 18.1 points per game, second-best in the conference and also ranked in the top 10 in steals (2nd, 2.62 SPG), 3-point field goals per game (3rd, 2.62 3-pt FG per game) and assists (7th, 3.74 APG). He turned in one the league's virtuoso performances of the season when he dished out a conference-record 18 assists against Mercer on February 24 to go along with 29 points and eight rebounds. The 18 assists set an A-Sun record, were one off the school record and were the second-highest single-game total in Division I in the last two seasons.
1,113 wins and counting
With a win Jan. 25 against Belmont, the Bucs collected the program's 1,100th win all-time ... In over 80 years of basketball, the Bucs are 1,113-891-27 all-time after dropping Marshall on Dec. 4.