Bucs begin five-game road swing with Big 12 foe Oklahoma State Saturday night
Junior Kevin Tiggs scored a game-high 24 points in ETSU's last outing over Marshall.
Junior Kevin Tiggs scored a game-high 24 points in ETSU's last outing over Marshall.

Friday, December 07, 2007

STILLWATER, Okla. (Dec. 7, 2007) - The East Tennessee State men's basketball team faces its biggest road test of the season as they venture out on a five-game swing, beginning Saturday night against Big 12 foe Oklahoma State from Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tip is slated for 8 p.m. ET.

 

The ETSU faithful not making the trip to Stillwater, Okla., should head out to Fanatics, as they will be airing the game live in a Buc friendly setting. The contest will be picked up courtesy of ABC network affiliate WKPT throughout the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia area.

 

ETSU looks to extend its winning streak to three games, which would mark the Buccaneers' longest streak this season. The Bucs are coming off a 79-73 victory over Conference USA member Marshall, where junior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) scored a game-high 24 points.

 

Oklahoma State (4-3) picked up wins over Washington (96-71) and Texas A&M Corpus Christi (60-46) this past week. The Cowboys are led by 6-6 freshman guard James Anderson, as he is averaging 20 points per contest and hitting 46.3 (19-41) percent of his three-point field goals. OSU is 3-0 at home this season.

 

Below are more notes regarding Saturday's match-up.

Buc Shots

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 guard Courtney 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 OSU

This will be the first meeting between the Bucs and Oklahoma State.

 

ETSU vs. the Big 12 Conference

The Buccaneers are 0-8 all-time against the Big 12 Conference, but ETSU did manage some history against one Big 12 opponent in 1989 ... As the No. 16 seed in the 1989 NCAA Tournament, the Bucs took on No. 1 seed Oklahoma in Nashville ... The Bucs led most of the game and ultimately produced the closest game any No. 16 has ever had in the tournament, falling to the Sooners 72-71 ... Current ETSU graduate manager Keith Mister Jennings was the starting point guard in that game ... Below is a rundown of ETSU's record against other Big 12 teams: Kansas (0-3), Texas Tech (0-3), Iowa State (0-1) and Oklahoma (0-1).

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 4, 2007) - After giving up a large second half lead and then losing by one point in overtime earlier this season at Marshall, the ETSU men's basketball team was faced with what could have been a similar situation in Memorial Center. This time the Bucs didn't fold ... Watching a 13-point lead dwindle to five with just under a minute left, the Buccaneers made the defensive stops they needed in the final seconds and converted at the foul line to finish with a 79-73 win over Conference USA's Thundering Herd in front of 4,080 blue clad fans. With the win, ETSU improved to 4-3 on the young season, with Marshall dropping to 4-2 ... Indeed, the Bucs once again rolled on the offensive end of the floor, hitting 54 percent of their shots (27-of-50) and committing just 14 turnovers. While the Bucs still were out-rebounded 38-36 and gave up 16 offensive rebounds, ETSU did cut back on its foul issues, actually going to the line 38 times compared to just 18 trips for the Thundering Herd ... The key to victory for the Bucs on this night came with just over nine minutes left, when junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) recovered from just scoring two points in the first half to score nine straight points and power a 13-2 offensive surge. The run took a 49-47 game and made it 62-49 with 7:15 remaining in the game ... However, from there Marshall managed a run of its own in the final two minutes, outscoring the Bucs 9-2 to make it 73-68 with just over a minute left. However, sophomore guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville) did just enough at the foul line to keep the Herd at bay and give the Bucs a win over their former Southern Conference rival ... In a tight first half that featured six ties and five lead changes, neither team led by more than four points. ETSU hit on 48 percent of its shots in the first frame, but was yet again out-rebounded 22-16 and shot just 50 percent (8-of-16) from the foul line. In the end, though, 11 points from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) who finishined with a game-high 24 and an evenly distributed offensive effort for the rest of the team left the Bucs holding a four-point lead at half, 35-31 ... The Bucs got 14 points on the night from Pigram and 15 from Twilley. Meanwhile, Matt Walls led Marshall with 21 points, while Tirrell Baines, Markel Humphrey and Mark Dorris scored 15, 14 and 11 points, respectively ... With the win, ETSU improves its all-time record against Marshall to 24-21. For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's basketball link.

 

Strong enough?

With his play in recent games, it is obvious that senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) may be 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 Marshall (12/4), Strong has eclipsed 20 points twice and has scored 59 points (19.7 ppg) ... Currently, Strong stands at 759 points for his career or 8.4 ppg.

 

Pigram eclipses 1,000 points

Beginning just his third season at ETSU, junior guard Courtney 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 1,045 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

 

Swader, Tiggs breaking out

Entering this season, a great deal was expected of both junior transfer Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) ... Following seven 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 seven games, and currently stands tall on the Atlantic Sun stat sheets, ranking third in scoring, third in field goal percentage, and third in free throw percentage ... Meanwhile, Swader has provided an immediate offensive threat in his first six games, currently standing fifth on the team with 8.4 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.

 

Foul issues

With 125 fouls in their first five games -- an average of 25 a contest -- the Buccaneers are certainly hearing the whistle too much ... By comparison, ETSU opponents have committed just 85 fouls against the Bucs ... In particular, during the Bucs 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, as Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), Kenyona Swader (Smyrna), Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and Travis Strong (Memphis) rank 2, 3, 4 and 5 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, plans are for ETSU's trips to Oklahoma State (Dec. 8) and Syracuse (Dec. 15) to air live locally, with the Oklahoma State game showing on WKPT and the Syracuse contest airing on WJHL ... 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.

 

For more information on the game, see the notes section below or click on the game notes link located above. Please visit www.ETSUBucs.com for all other information on men's basketball and ETSU athletic news.

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MBB UNC Greensboro 80 F
Dec 13 ETSU 79
WBB Eastern Kentucky University 49 Final
Dec 13 ETSU 64
WBB ETSU 86 Final
Dec 15 Morehead State University 77
MBB ETSU 63 F
Dec 16 Eastern Kentucky 60
WBB ETSU 48 Final
Dec 19 University of North Carolina Wilmington 61
WBB ETSU Wilmington, N.C.
Dec 20, 12:00 p.m. Jacksonville State University
MBB ETSU Richmond, Va.
Dec 22, 7:00 p.m. VCU
WBB Iona College Johnson City, Tenn.
Dec 29, 7:00 p.m. ETSU
MBB ETSU Knoxville, Tenn.
Dec 31, 1:00 p.m. Tennessee
WBB ETSU Chapel Hill, N.C.
Jan 2, 2:00 p.m. University of North Carolina
MBB VMI Freedom Hall
Jan 2, 7:00 p.m. ETSU
MBB ETSU Birmingham, Ala.
Jan 5, 8:00 p.m. Samford
MBB Mercer Freedom Hall
Jan 8, 7:00 p.m. ETSU
WBB ETSU Greenville, S.C.
Jan 10, 2:00 p.m. Furman University
MBB Chattanooga Freedom Hall
Jan 10, 4:00 p.m. ETSU
WBB ETSU Spartanburg, S.C.
Jan 12, 11:30 a.m. Wofford College