Bucs set to face Mocs again in rivalry matchup
Guard Courtney Pigram scored the game-winner against Chattanooga last year.
Guard Courtney Pigram scored the game-winner against Chattanooga last year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Nov. 27, 2007) -- In what is widely considered the biggest rivalry in ETSU basketball history, the Buccaneers will revive their series with the Chattanooga Mocs Wednesday night at 8 p.m. in McKenzie Arena on the campus of UTC.

Having met 72 times in all -- many times as fellow competitors in the Southern Conference -- the Bucs currently trail the all-time series 32 to 40, but enjoyed a victory over the Mocs last year in Memorial Center, thanks to a last second 3-pointer by Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year Courtney Pigram (Memphis). Last year's finish was just one of many memorable games between these two teams, which include victories by the Bucs in the 1991, 1992, 2003 and 2004 Southern Conference Tournament championship game.

Fans are invited to a special pregame "Buc Caravan" stop in Chattanooga Wednesday night between 6 and 7:30 p.m. at Sticky Fingers in downtown Chattanooga. Fans unable to attend the game can listen to Jay Sandos' live radio broadcast of the game on any of the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network affiliates in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, or by clicking on the network link located at ETSUBucs.com.

For more on the Bucs so far this season or Wednesday night's game in particular, click the game notes links located above, or see below:

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 Chattanooga

In what is widely considered the longest and most heated rivalry in ETSU basketball history, the Bucs and Mocs have met 72 times with ETSU trailing the all-time series 32 to 40 ... The two teams shared the same conference from 1979 to 2005, spending several years battling in the Southern Conference ... The Bucs won the last meeting a year ago, 71-70, thanks to a last second 3-pointer by junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ... That finish is one of many dramatic moments in this series, which includes wins by ETSU in the 1991, 1992, 2003 and 2004 Southern Conference Tournament championship game.

Last time out against Chattanooga

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 15, 2006) - ETSU sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) sank a long range 3-pointer from the right wing with 1.8 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the ETSU men's basketball team to a 71-70 win over former Southern Conference rival Chattanooga at Memorial Center ... With the crowd of 5,588 on their feet, Chattanooga senior Casey Long scored four straight points in the final minute to erase a two-point ETSU advantage and give the Mocs the lead with 22 seconds remaining. Coming out of the time out, the Bucs ran a set play looking for Pigram and the sophomore came through, giving the Bucs the win ... Pigram finished with a career high 29 points in the game, while senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) posted his seventh career double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The most important of those points from Nuckles came at the end of regulation, as the 6-foot-9 forward made a 3-pointer with 6:30 left in the second half to give the Bucs a 50-48 advantage - their only lead of the second half. He later made a pair of free throws with 59 seconds remaining that tied the game and forced the overtime period ... In the first half, ETSU led by six early after a 6-0 run made it 13-7 with 12:55 remaining. Chattanooga answered with an 11-0 run at that point to take their largest lead of the half by five at 18-13. ETSU reciprocated with an 8-0 run of its own thanks in part to a pair of layups by Nuckles and led by three at 21-18 with 6:57 remaining. The two teams stayed close the rest of the way, with Chattanooga's Kevin Bridgewaters taking advantage of an ETSU turnover and dropping in a floater from the right wing at the buzzer to make it 29-29 at the intermission ... For the game, ETSU shot just 37 percent from the floor, but also held Chattanooga to just 39 percent from outside. The Bucs used a 75 percent clip from the foul line to hit on 15 shots from the charity stripe, while Chattanooga was just 10-of-17 from the line for 58 percent.

Last time out

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 24, 2007) - In one of the most fantastic finishes in ETSU basketball history, the Buccaneers scored four points in the final six seconds of overtime and got the game winning basket from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) with 1.7 seconds remaining to hand UNC Asheville its first loss of the season 89-87 Saturday afternoon inside the Justice Center ... Indeed, while Tiggs scored 18 including the game winner, fifth-year senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) showed up in a big way, tying his career high for 3-pointers with five and scoring a season high 23 points. Meanwhile, senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) netted 18 points and junior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) returned from injury to pitch in 10. More remarkably for the Bucs, the team won despite not getting a point from junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), who remains at 998 points for his career ... For the Bucs, the game looked like a repeat story of close loses at Dayton and Marshall earlier this season, as ETSU gave up a large second half lead and ultimately ended up in overtime on the road against a team with all the momentum. But this time fate fell on the Bucs' side of the coin ... While the Bucs led most of the way, the Bulldogs (5-1) rallied back to tie the game at 54 and actually led by as many as five with 7:20 left in the regulation. While the two teams traded baskets the rest of the way, it was sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) who sank a 15-foot jump shot with just under 30 seconds left to tie the game at 73-73. Both teams had possessions in the final seconds to win, but neither was able to come through with a score and the game went to OT ... Overtime was a back-and-forth affair as well, but it was the final six seconds that will be long remembered. With ETSU trailing by two at 87-85, the Bucs had possession and put the ball in Davis' hands to attempt to tie the game with a drive to the basket. Instead, Davis committed an offensive foul and gave the ball back to UNCA. At this point, though, Bulldogs' forward Vincent James attempted to run the baseline on the inbounds, committing an unforced turnover and giving the ball back to ETSU under its own basket ... ETSU quickly ran an inbounds play to Reed who tied the game with five seconds left on a lay up. Unbelievably, James then committed his second turnover in just two seconds, throwing the ball off the hands of a teammate and into the waiting arms of Tiggs, who drove to the basket to score the winning bucket with 1.7 remaining.

Tiggs named A-Sun Player of the Week

MACON, Ga. (Nov. 26, 2007) - Senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) averaged 23.0 PPG in two overtime games last week, but his effort in the final minute of the Buccaneers' two-point win at UNC Asheville secured him his first Player of the Week award. He scored six of the Buccaneers final eight points, including the decisive final basket as ETSU escaped with an 89-87 win ... With ETSU trailing by a point, Tiggs grabbed an offensive rebound and scored for a one-point lead, only to have the Bulldogs hit a 3-pt field goal for an 87-85 lead. After turnovers by both teams, ETSU tied the game on a lay up with just under six seconds left, and Tiggs then stole the inbounds pass to score the game-winning layup with 1.7 seconds left. He finished the game with a team-high 20 points, his second straight game of at least 20 points ... The UNC Asheville game culminated a break-out week for Tiggs. He scored 26 points for ETSU in its one-point loss at Marshall. For the week, he averaged 23.0 PPG and 6.5 RPG while hitting on 60.7 percent of his field goal attempts (17-28), going a perfect 12-12 from the free-throw line and picking up four steals and a pair of blocks.Tiggs, a business major from Flint, Mich., entered his first season with the Buccaneers with high acclaim. A year ago, he earned The NJCAA Coaches Association Division II National Player of the Year honor after averaging, 18.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG and 3.2 SPG in leading Mott Community College to a national championship.

Pigram closing in on 1,000 points

Beginning just his third season at ETSU, junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) has the pinnacle mark of 1,000 points scoring clearly in his sights already ... Currently standing at 998 points for his career, Pigram is just 2 points shy of 1,000 ... 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 all-time list.

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."

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 four games, the two are definitely meeting or surpassing those expections ... In the Bucs' last game with UNCA, Tiggs scored the game winner with 1.7 seconds left and also picked up 20 points ... Against Marshall, Tiggs broke out with a game-high 26 points, and setting career marks in most every statistical category ... Currently in Atlantic Sun stats, Tiggs ranks 5th in scoring, third in field goal percentage, 4th in free throw percentage and 8th in steals ... Meanwhile, Swader has provided an immediate offensive threat in his first four games, currently standing 4th on the team with 9.0 points per game ... Currently, Swader leads the A-Sun with a 64 percent field goal percentage and 54 percent 3-point field goal percentage.

Bucs leading the A-Sun in field goal percentage

Currently, the Bucs sport the three best shooters in the Atlantic Sun Conference, as Kenyona Swader (Smyrna), Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) ranked 1, 3 and 4, respectively ... Swader is hitting on 64 percent of his field goal attempts, Tiggs is hitting on 62 percent of his attempts, and Reed 59 percent ... As a team, ETSU leads the league with a 50 percent clip from the field.

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.

Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 108-36 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 75 percent ... 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.

Non-conference home win streak at 13

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 13 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, Chattanooga, Central Michigan, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech, UNC Asheville, Eastern Kentucky and Radford in that time frame.

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 WAPK 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 and click on the men's basketball schedule link.

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 by Courtney 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.

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

1,111 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 1,109-891-27 all-time after dropping Lipscomb on March 2.

 

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