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November 25, 2013

Pirates Top Cowboys for 5th Win

KINGSTON, R.I. - East Carolina(5-1) jumped out to a commanding lead in the first half and then pounded McNeese State in the second for a 91-62 win Monday night in the consolation round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Pirates got a big 25 point performance from Akeem Richmond in his return to the University of Rhode Island.

Richmond, hit 7 of 12 from the floor including 6 of 11 from three-point range in the Pirates' fifth victory of the year. Paris Roberts-Campbell had 16, Caleb White had 13, Michael Zangari chipped in with 11. Brandon Stith pulled down ten rebounds.

East Carolina nailed 14 three-point baskets in the victory.

Ledrick Eackles led McNeese State(2-4) in scoring with 21 points while Kevin Hardy added 11 for the Cowboys.

The Pirates were playing without the services of Marshall Guilmette who has been playing on a sore knee. ECU jumped out to a commanding 38-23 lead with just over three minutes to play in the first half on 16 points from ECU guard Akeem Richmond, 9 from improving forward Mike Zangari and 10 points from freshman Caleb White who found the range for three treys.

Richmond was returning to Rhode Island for the first time since transferring to East Carolina three years ago.

"We needed to go to the zone. We found out we wouldn't have Marshall Guilmette. We overcame some adversity without Marshall. We're going to have to find a way to reinvent ourselves," ECU head coach Jeff Lebo said, "He wasn't able to go yesterday or today and would be surprised if he's ready to go tomorrow. He has tendonitis in his knee. It really makes us different. It sends our rotations wrong. But we shot the ball well tonight. Akeem was very comfortable in these surroundings. I have to live with some of those shots - they're so deep but he can make them."

Paris Roberts-Campbell picked up his third foul with 2:50 to play in the first period for ECU with only three points but the Pirates took a fourteen point, 43-29 lead.

Adrian Fields with 7 and Craig McFarrin with 6 topped McNeese State's scoring at intermission. McNeese connected on 34.5 percent from the floor and just 2 of 7 from the arc in the first half. The Pirates hit 45.8 percent. The Pirates went 7 of 12 from the arc in the first twenty minutes.

The two teams jockeyed for position to begin the second period. Ledrick Eackles got McNeese going early with a basket to cut the ECU lead to ten. Paris Roberts-Campbell launched a three-pointer for the Pirates that connected. Kevin Hardy contributed a basket for the Cowboys and Eackles hit two free throws to cut the ECU lead to nine at 46-37 in the first three minutes of the second half.

The Pirates' zone defense seemed to confound McNeese in the first seven minutes of the half.

Brandon Stith bucket and a Richmond's fourth trey pushed ECU up by 49-39. After a Cowboy bucket by Eakles, Paris Roberts-Campbell hit a pair of three-pointers for ECU. Add a two-hand jam from freshman forward Brandon Stith that keyed a run to give the Pirates a 58-39 lead with 13 minutes to play. Caleb White added to the lead to make it 60-40 as the Pirates exploded.

Eackles scored for McNeese then nailed a three-pointer for the Cowboys to trim the lead to 65-47. But Robinson's trey for ECU and Caleb White drive negated the mini-run. Then Paris Roberts-Campbell scored to make it 71-47, Pirates.

ECU's Richmond and McNeese's Eackles went at it - three-pointer for three-pointer for a few possessions, but ECU began to inch away 74-52 at the 6:38 mark. Then Richmond's sixth trey and three Paris Roberts-Campbell's free throws gave ECU their biggest lead of the evening at 81-54 with 5:30 to play.

Petar Torlak nailed a trey and a basket for the Pirates and Greg Alexander scored for ECU to extend the Pirates' lead to as much as 33 between two baskets from Brandin Regis for McNeese State.

East Carolina NEWS


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