ETSU looking to stay in the A-Sun hunt during Nashville swing
Senior Travis Strong has stepped up his offensive production in recent games.
Senior Travis Strong has stepped up his offensive production in recent games.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 17, 2008) -- As the ETSU men's basketball team faces its most challenging road stretch of the Atlantic Sun Conference season, Buccaneer fans are reminded they can catch all the action live by visiting ASun.TV and ordering the streaming video service.

The Bucs, 8-8, 2-1 A-Sun, will meet a pair of in-state league rivals this weekend, as they face Belmont (10-7, 2-1) on Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST and Lipscomb (7-10, 1-2) on Saturday afternoon at 5:15 EST.

While the Bucs hold a 6-4 advantage in the all-time series against the Bruins, Belmont has enjoyed a 4-1 stretch including a win last year over ETSU in the championship game of the A-Sun Tournament in Johnson City. ETSU will be looking to avenge that loss Thursday and take a step to solidifying a run at the A-Sun regular season title.

For more on Thursday's game, click on the game notes link located above or read the game preview information below. Fans are reminded that they can also listen to the live broadcast of ETSU basketball by clicking on the link above, which will provide the MSHA Buccaneer Sports Network feed.

Buc Shots

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 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.), 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 Belmont

The Bucs and Bruins have met 10 times in their histories, with ETSU holding a 6-4 advantage ... However, the Bucs were a perfect 5-0 against Belmont prior to 2005, when ETSU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference ... Since that time, ETSU is 1-4 against Belmont ... In fact, three of those games have gone to overtime, with ETSU going 1-2 in those contests.

Last time against the Bruins

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 3, 2007) - Second-seeded Belmont earned its second straight trip to the NCAA tournament with a dominating 94-67 win over ETSU in the championship game of the 2007 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Men's Basketball Championship ... The Bruins did it the hard way, beating the Bucs on their home floor inside Memorial Center. Of course, Belmont has made Johnson City its home away from home since ETSU joined the A-Sun, winning all eight games inside the mini-dome ... The Bruins were in control of the game from the opening tap and never relented. They were a remarkable 14-for-29 from 3-point range, but that only tells part of the story. Their sizeable early was built in the opening 20 minutes and came on the strength of remarkable shooting display from beyond
the arc. A 22-7 run in the first seven minutes showed what kind of game it was going to be. Belmont started with six different players making 3-pointers ... It kept going from there. An 11-point lead at that point kept growing as the half wore on. ETSU tried to make a couple of runs to put a dent in the Belmont armor, but poor shooting snuffed out the early comeback attempts ... Meanwhile, Belmont kept firing and making from long range, sinking 12-of-19 from long distance before the break. The last one was really a dagger to the Bucs comeback chances. ETSU's Brad Nuckles finally got one to fall with four seconds left but tournament MVP Justin Hare raced downcourt and hit a running, double-pump 3 at the buzzer to keep momentum on the side of the Bruins ... Wicke knocked down four triples in the first half with Hare nailing three more and Keaton Belcher knocking down two ...
Overall, Belmont shot 53 percent in the first half while limiting ETSU to 35. Trailing big at the half, Bartow and the Bucs did not loose faith, but a second-half run was not to be.

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 10, 2008) - Poor shooting from the floor for the third straight game finally caught up with the ETSU men's basketball team, as the Buccaneers were unable to score a single point in the final 5:27 of Saturday's game against Gardner-Webb, falling to the Bulldogs in Atlantic Sun Conference action inside Memorial Center ... For the Bucs (8-8, 2-1 A-Sun) it was their first home loss of the season, as they dropped to 6-1 in the Dome. Meanwhile, the Runnin' Bulldogs improved to 8-10, 2-2 ... In a game they never led and tied only twice in the first half, the Bucs shot just 32 percent from the floor and a dismal 22 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Even so, ETSU still managed to cut a 10-point halftime deficit to just one point three times in the final seven minutes ... A free throw by junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) made it 70-69 in favor of GW with 5:27 left, but from there the Bucs would not score again, despite making several defensive stops and holding the Runnin' Bulldogs to just three points the rest of the way ... During the offensive drought, the Bucs would take five 3-pointers and end up making none of those attempts. "We tried hitting the home run when we just needed some touches inside," Bartow said ... In the first half, Gardner-Webb took an early 5-0 lead and managed to hold off two ETSU runs that tied that game at 18-18 and 22-22. From there, the Runnin' Bulldogs used a 9-2 run to close out the half and finish up 40-30 ... Gardner-Webb shot 41 percent from the field, but more importantly the Runnin' Bulldogs were a decisive 84 percent from the foul line (16-of-19). ETSU did hold statistical advantages in rebounds (46-42), while forcing 19 turnovers on 10 steals ... The Bucs were led offensively by 15 points from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), while sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) finished with 14 points, and senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) scored 11. Gardner-Webb had five players in double figures, led by a game-high 17 from guard Grayson Flintner.

Trouble's a Bruin

A quick look at the last two year's results for ETSU and there's no doubt the Bucs have had trouble with Belmont ... The Bucs are 1-4 against their A-Sun in-state rivals since joining the league in 2005 ... Two of those games were won easily by Belmont, but the other three were overtime affairs, with the Bruins hitting 3-pointers in the final seconds of two of those games to win ... Here is a breakdown of those meetings

Date Result Site

Dec. 1, 2005 Belmont 88-85 (OT) Johnson City, Tenn.

Feb. 26, 2006 Belmont 99, ETSU 78 Nashville, Tenn.

Jan. 2, 2007 Belmont 75, ETSU 74 (OT) Johnson City, Tenn.

Jan. 25, 2007 ETSU 80, Belmont 70 (OT) Nashville, Tenn.

March 3, 2007 Belmont 94, ETSU 67 Johnson City

Bucs' RPI, Strength of Schedule rank among best in nation

Though the Bucs are off to a 8-8 start, it's understandable when considering ETSU has only played seven home games so far this season ... More importantly, the Buccaneers' strength of schedule (SOS) currently ranks 58th 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 includes St. Mary's (4th), Dayton (7th) and Syracuse (11th) ... As for RPI, the Bucs rank a respectable 125th out of 342 Division I teams.

Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 113-37 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 76 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 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 6-1 at Memorial Center so far.

 

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.

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.

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

New starting five

During the Bucs recent trip to the Rainbow Classic, head coach Murry Bartow used a completely new starting five, with junior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.), junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) ... While that group went only 1-2 on the trip, they did pick up the win over SEC foe Georgia and lost a close overtime battle with Louisiana-Lafayette ... However, the Bucs reshuffled the lineup again versus Appalachian State, moving Pigram to the point position, and inserting seniors Travis Strong (Memphis) and Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) to go with Tiggs and Reed ... That starting five is now 3-1 on the year.

Davis, Pigram and assist/turnover ratio

One positive to come from the early season schedule as been the play of both junior guards Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) and Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ... From a distribution of the basketball and offensive production standpoint, both have shown an ability to pick up assists without turning the ball over ... Currently, Davis ranks fourth in the A-Sun with an assist/turnover ratio of 1.6 ... As for assists per game, Pigram ranks 5th with 3.7 a game, while Davis is 9th with 3.4 a contest

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 1,196 for his career and ranks 17th 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.

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."

1,117 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 1,117-901-27.

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 ... 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 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.

 

 

 

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