Kingsport Times News Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tiggs scores 32 in Bucs' victory over Chattanooga

December 17th, 2008 12:00 am by Kelly Hodge

JOHNSON CITY — Kevin Tiggs likes to keep things simple and fun on the basketball court.

He’s having some serious fun these days.

East Tennessee State’s senior forward scored 32 points, hitting his career high for the third time in four games, and Courtney Pigram added 24 to lead the Bucs past Chattanooga 82-70 Wednesday night in Memorial Center.

Tiggs made 11 of 13 shots, grabbed seven rebounds and generally shrugged off another sparkling performance. He’s scored 116 points in the last four games and is the leading scorer in the Atlantic Sun Conference, at 22 points per game.

“Just making good shots,” he said with a laugh. “People are getting me the ball at the right time.”

Chief among them would be Pigram. The senior point guard had seven assists against the Mocs, and the chemistry he and Tiggs have brewing appears to be getting better by the game.

“Kevin and Courtney, what can you say?” said ETSU coach Murry Bartow.

“They put 60 points on Appalachian State and had about 60 tonight. They’re a great one-two punch, along with Mike Smith. Those guys are hard to guard.”

Smith chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists Wednesday night.

The Bucs are riding a four-game winning streak and find themselves at 7-3, their best start in five years. The victory over their old Southern Conference rival was their 19th straight at home against non-conference opponents.

They get back into A-Sun play Tuesday night at Kennesaw State.

“I’m pleased with where we are right now,” said Bartow. “If you look at the history of our program, not many teams have been 7-3 after their first 10. Maybe five teams in 50 years.”

The Mocs, in the throes of a brutal early schedule, fell to 1-7. They have played only once at home and still have two more dates on the road, including one at Alabama, before getting back in the Roundhouse.

“I’m not real happy right now, but we’re going to learn from this and get better,” said Chattanooga coach John Shulman, who fell to 4-2 against his alma mater. “We knew East Tennessee State had a good team coming in here. Their chemistry is phenomenal right now. The thing I like about them is their three best players are their three toughest guys.”

Pigram launched 18 3-pointers against the Mocs but made six of them. That wasn’t exactly what Bartow had in mind from his playmaker, yet he’s learned to let Pigram dictate the pace when it feels right.

“Eighteen threes is maybe a few too many,” said Bartow, “but when CP gets that look in his eye, like he did at App State and he did tonight, you’ve gotta give him some freedom.”

Pigram played all 40 minutes, as did Smith.

Lost in the offensive shuffle was some pretty stout defense at key junctures. The Mocs were held to 31 percent shooting — they went 10 of 36 from beyond the arc — and managed just one basket in the last 2 minutes.

They had crept to within a point, at 68-67, after Tiggs picked up his fourth foul with 14:39 remaining. The Bucs led by 10 when he took a seat on the bench.

Tiggs returned six minutes later and scored 10 points down the stretch.

After a 3-pointer by Ty Patterson made it a one-point game, he answered with a jumper, a layup and four free throws in the last four minutes.

“We were right there, but we don’t have enough toughness to get over the hump right now,” said Shulman.

The Mocs were led by Stephen McDowell’s 28 points; he made a half-dozen treys. Patterson and Nicchaeus Dokes added 10 points apiece.

Chattanooga outrebounded the Bucs 47-40 and stayed close thanks to 18 on the offensive boards.

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