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January 2, 2014

Richmond's 37 Leads ECU Past Camels

BUIES CREEK, N.C. - Akeem Richmond tossed in 37 points to lead East Carolina past Campbell University 79-71 Thursday night at Gore Arena at the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center.

Richmond canned 10 of 17 from the arc and 12 of 20 overall to tie his career high to go along with five rebounds in ECU's eleventh victory of the season, snapping a two game slide. Michael Zangari scored 13 and Caleb White had 12 for the Pirates.

"Akeem was unbelievable shooting the basketball," said ECU head coach Jeff Lebo, "We could not get a rebound in the first half. We wanted to stay out of foul trouble and get into the second half. Paris fouled out, that hurt us. Zangari's basket was big for us late. We were pretty efficient at 65 percent from the field."

Lebo wasn't pleased with the first half effort particularly on the glass and he let his squad know it at intermission.

"I got on them a little at halftime. We've got to get better at rebounding, but I'm really proud of the way we finished, Robinson getting three straight rebounds at the end and then hitting his free throws to put them away," Lebo said, "We went under the ball screen a little (defensively) and made them shoot from outside. The reason we won the game is we just shot the lights out. Really proud of our group. It's a tough place to win and road wins are hard to come by in Division 1 basketball."

Richmond talked about his record scoring performance after the win over Campbell.

"It's an incredible feeling. I just wanted to play as long as I possibly could tonight and get the win. I'm proud of my guys," Richmond said after the game, " I've worked very hard shooting 200-250 shots before and after practice and I think it's beginning to pay off. You have to tip your hat to those guys. They did a good job."

The Camels were led in scoring by Reco McCarter's 29 points. Marvel Harris had 16 and 12 rebounds while Darius Leonard scored 12 for Campbell.

The Pirates hit 56.3 percent of their shots including 54 percent from the arc. Campbell was limited to 41 percent shooting and just 17 percent(5-29) from three-point range in the loss. Both teams shot 63 percent from the charity stripe.

ECU enjoyed as much as a nine point 13-4 lead in the first half. Both teams traded baskets in the last five minutes of the period before Campbell tied the game at 35-35. The Camels finally captured a one point lead on three Darius Leonard free throws with 1:08 in the first half.

A VCU transfer, McCarter scored 18 first half points as Campbell fought back for a 39-37 lead at intermission. Marvel Harris came off the bench to toss in 8 first half points and pull down five boards.

Akeem Richmond led the Pirates in the first half with 13 points including 3 of 5 from the arc. Michael Zangari scored nine points in the first twenty minutes of play for ECU(11-4).

Campbell(6-8) got the better of the rebounding battle with ECU in the first half, but hit only 3 of 11 from three-point range in the first half. ECU connected on 6 of 11 while hitting 50 percent from the field overall to 43 percent for the Camels.

Three early treys from Akeem Richmond got ECU going early in the second half. Mike Zangari's dunk and a Caleb White basket in the paint gave ECU a six point lead at 50-44.

A pair of Leonard buckets and a McCarter follow pulled Campbell to within two points before Richmond canned another three-point bomb for the Pirates in a closely contested second half.

McCarter's two-hand jam and subsequent basket kept the Camels close with 11:02 to play. But as ECU began to pull away with nearly 70 percent second half shooting in the first ten minutes, Richmond's eighth trey made it 62-57 Pirates midway through the second half. His ninth trey made it 65-57 with 8:34 to go.

Mason scored for Campbell off a Paris Roberts-Campbell turnover before Paris returned the favor. Campbell then fouled out on the next play and Harris scored on the inbounds play to cut the Pirates' lead to three.

Richmond nailed his tenth trey before Harris scored to cut the ECU lead to four with five minutes left in the game. Things got even more interesting when a pair of Reco McCarter free throws trimmed ECU's lead to two at the 4:14 mark.

Two Richmond free throws for his 36th points extended ECU's lead to four. Caleb White found Mike Zangari in the paint for a bucket to maintain ECU's four point lead with a minute and a half in regulation.

McCarter hit one of two free throws for the Camels to cut the lead to five with 1:13 to play. ECU center Brandon Stith's block of Kyre' Hamer's jumper and Antonio Robinson's two free throws down the stretch extended the lead to seven at the :47 second mark.

McCarter missed on the other end and when Robinson got the rebound and was fouled and hit two more free throws, that put the Camels away on the road late.













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