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Bucs hope to stop losing streak Saturday against Lipscomb
Friday, February 15, 2008
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2008) -- The ETSU men's basketball team will try to avoid its longest losing streak of the season and right the ship Saturday afternoon as the Buccaneers play host to Atlantic Sun Conference rival Lipscomb inside Memorial Center. Tip is scheduled for 4 p.m.
ETSU (14-11 overall, 8-4 A-Sun) have lost two straight games after having moved into a tie for first place in the league just two games ago. Since that time, the Bucs have struggled to find the same rythm on both offense and defense that led to six straight league wins. Meanwhile, Lipscomb enters the game at 7-5 in league play and will be trying to pull even with the Bucs for third place in the league standings.
Fans unable to attend can watch live video streaming of the contest at ASun.TV, or listen to the live radio broadcast available at ETSUBucs.com. For more on this matchup, click on the game notebook link above or read the game notes located below.
A seven-time NCAA Tournament and two-time NIT participant, the ETSU Buccaneers enter the 2007-08 season coming off a regular season Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 24-10 overall record, and 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.), 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 are currently 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 ranks as a team and individually on the national charts on Page 4.
The series against Lipscomb
The Bucs and Bisons have met 31 times in their histories, with ETSU holding a 23-8 advantage ... Currently, the Bucs have a four-game winning streak over the Bisons, including a 73-62 victory over Lipscomb back on Jan. 19 of this season ... ETSU swept all three meetings a year ago, while Lipscomb swept the Bucs in 2005-06 — their first season in the A-Sun.
Last time against Lipscomb
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 19, 2008)- Just when a third straight Atlantic Sun Conference loss seemed imminent and its regular season championship hopes fading, the ETSU men's basketball team found a way to get it done ... Trailing 73-62 on the road with 6:54 left on the clock inside Lipscomb's Allen Arena, the Buccaneers rallied to outscore the Bisons 24-8 the rest of the way and take an 86-81 league win Saturday in front of 2,330 fans. The frantic comeback was led by a bevy of Bucs, with senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) scoring a game-high 18 points each, while junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) tossed in 13 points, senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) added 11 and freshman guard Micah Williams (Manchester) pitched in 10 ... After trailing much of the game and having trouble with Lipscomb's half court offensive sets, the Bucs certainly used their fullcourt defensive pressure to change the pace of the game. With the score 77-69, ETSU's efforts produced a 12-0 run sparked by seven points from Pigram, a 3-pointer by Swader and two free throws from Tiggs, building a four-point lead at 81-77 with 3:02 remaining in the game ... As the clock wound down, Lipscomb got a free throw from forward Eddie Ard and a layup by post Brandon Brown to make it 81-80, but Tiggs answered. After missing a jumper from the top of the key, Swader tapped the ball out to Tiggs, who immediately went to the hoop and scored from the block to make it 83-80 with 32 seconds left in the game. From there, Lipscomb's Adnan Hodzic hit a foul shot with 16 seconds left, but Swader and sophomore Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) hit four straight free throws to ice the game ... In the first half, Lipscomb took an early nine-point lead at 17-8 when Josh Slater's 3-pointer from the wing found the bottom of the net. But thanks to a trio of treys from the Bucs - one by Williams and two from Strong - ETSU manufactured a 9-2 run to make it 19-17 with 9:55 left before the intermission. From there, the Bucs tied the game at 40 thanks to a lay up from Tiggs, but Lipscomb outscored ETSU 4-1 to finish the half up 44-41 ... For the game, ETSU hit on 55 percent of its shots from beyond the arc (12-of-22), while shooting 49 percent from the field for the game. Lipscomb out-rebounded ETSU 37-34, but the Bucs forced 15 turnovers on eight steals, which became crucial statistic in the final minutes ... Lipscomb got a team high 17 points from guard Josh Slater, while Ard added 14, Hodzic netted 13 and Brown pitched in 11. The Bisons drop to 8-11 overall, 2-3 in league play.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2008)- Guard Shane Dansby scored a career high 28 points to help power Belmont to a 20-point halftime lead and yet another win inside ETSU's Memorial Center, as the Bruins cruised to an 87-75 Atlantic Sun Conference win over the Buccaneers in front of 4,262 fans on Valentine's Day evening ... For the Bucs (14-11 overall, 8-4 A-Sun), the loss basically ends their dreams of a regular season championship and marks the first time this season they have dropped back-to-back league games. Meanwhile, Belmont (18-8, 10-2) solidified its hopes for a title and the Bruins improved their overall record inside Memorial Center to 9-0 - with six of those wins coming in the A-Sun Tournament ... The first half was another offensive barrage for Belmont, as the Bruins rolled to a 17-4 lead before the second media timeout. While the Bucs cut the lead to 10 at 25-15 with just over six minutes remaining in the half, the Bruins again used a 22-12 run to finish the half up 47-27. In all, Belmont shot 51 percent from the floor and connected on seven 3-pointers, while the Bucs hit on just 32 percent from the floor and 18 percent from beyond the arc ... The Bucs battled in the second half, cutting the lead to 11 at 64-53 on a 3-pointer by junior Courtney Pigram (Memphis) with 12:26 left. However, Belmont hit four 3-pointers from there, stopping the ETSU momentum and pulling back out to an 80-60 advantage with 5:42 remaining. The Bucs ultimately got back to 10 points down at 85-75 with 1:28 left, but it was too little too late ... Belmont shot 53 percent for the game, while ETSU was just 39 percent from the floor. The Bucs were out-rebounded 44-37 and committed 21 turnovers to just 14 for Belmont ... The Bucs got a team high 16 points from Pigram, while junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) netted 14. Meanwhile, senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) netted 13 apiece. Along with Dansby, Belmont's Matthew Dotson scored 12, while Keaton Belcher pitched in 11 and Andy Wicke scored 10.
Bucs to play Tennessee Tech in ESPN BracketBusters
The ETSU men's basketball team will play host to former Ohio Valley Conference rival and in-state foe Tennessee Tech as part of the annual ESPN BracketBuster Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. inside Memorial Center ... The Buccanneers and the Golden Eagles have met 66 times in a series that dates back to 1923. The two teams are tied in the series 33-33, but the Bucs have enjoyed three straight wins, with the last meeting coming in 2004 ... "This will be a good late season test for our team as we prepare for our conference tournament," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team is currently enjoying a five-game winning streak. "We have a long tradition against Tennessee Tech, and this will be a fun matchup for our fans that remember the days in the OVC. Having a return trip next year to Tennessee Tech will also give our fans a non-conference game they can travel to easily." For more on Tennessee Tech, visitwww.ttusports.com.
Swader, Strong pow0er resurgent offense
During their last seven games, the Buccaneers have found their rythm on offense thanks in great part to the shooting of senior forwardKenyona Swader (Smyrna) and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) ... In going 6-2, the Bucs are averaging 80.5 points a game ... Individually, Swader is averaging 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds a game, while Strong is averaging 12.4 points a game ... As for percentage shooting, Strong is 30-of-33 from the foul line (91 percent) and is hitting 39 percent from beyond 3-point range ... Meanwhile, Swader is connecting on 55 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range.
Tiggs taking over
With his second A-Sun Player of the Week honor now in his possession, junior forwardKevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) is certainly making an impression on the ETSU basketball program and the Atlantic Sun Conference in his first season wearing the Blue and Gold ... After several strong performances, Tiggs is second in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg) and is first in steals (1.8) on the team ... In the league, he ranks third in field goal percentage (57 percent) and is sixth in free throw percentage (80 percent) ... This season, he has already posted three double-doubles, and has reached double figures in scoring 16 times.
Bucs' RPI, Strength of Schedule rank among best in nation
Though the Bucs are now 14-11 on the year, the team's slow start at the beginning of the year was understandable when considering ETSU played an exceptionally tough early season slate ... As of Jan. 21 the Buccaneers' strength of schedule (SOS) ranked 74th in the country according to RealtimeRPI.com ... That SOS rank is obvious when looking at the RPI of ETSU's opponents in the early season schedule, which included -- at the time -- St. Mary's (4th), Dayton (7th) and Syracuse (11th) ... In fact, until just recently the Bucs SOS was as high at 18th in the country, before entering conference play ... As for RPI, the Bucs rank a respectable 138th out of 342 Division I teams.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 116-38 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 ... This year, the Bucs are 9-2 at Memorial Center.
The Bucs at the Rainbow Classic
Spending a week in Hawaii during the winter months is always enjoyable, but ETSU's second trip ever to the Rainbow Classic was a bittersweet experience ... While the Bucs picked up their first win over a Southeastern Conference opponent since 1991-92 with a 76-58 victory over Georgia in the first round, the team finished the trip 1-2 after falling in back-to-back games to St. Mary's and Louisiana-Lafayette ... While the St. Mary's game was expected to be difficult -- considering the Gaels were ranked No. 2 in the RPI -- the 82-80 overtime loss to a 3-7 Lafayette team kept the Bucs from evening their season record to 6-6 coming home from the islands ... In two trips to the Rainbow, the Bucs are now 2-4 all time.
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
Non-conference home win streak at 16
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 16 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, Radford and Appalachian State in that time frame ... Against conference opponents, the Bucs have won 10 straight regular season conference games.
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 1,323 for his career and ranks for 10th on the all-time program scoring list ... 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.
1,123 wins and counting
With a win Jan. 25, 2007 against Belmont, the Bucs collected the program's 1,100th win all-time ... In over 80 years of basketball, the Bucs are 1,123-903.
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) both aired live locally, with the Oklahoma State game showing on WKPT (ABC) and the Syracuse contest aired on WJHL (CBS) ... The Bucs will also appear on regional cable through the Friday 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.
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."
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 have gone 28-10 in A-Sun play in their two years in the league and 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.