OGDEN, UTAH - Akeem Richmond tossed in a 25 foot bomb at the buzzer to lift East Carolina past home standing Weber State, 77-74 to win the Postseason Basketball Tournament.
The Microwave, who only found flint on 2 of his 6 attempts from the floor, heated up when it counted for the game winner for East Carolina(23-12)
All Postseason Tournament Team recipient Miguel Paul led the Pirates with 23 points and six assists while Maurice Kemp scored 20 points and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
Robert Sampson's tireless efforts on the backboards and going after loose balls found him a place on the all tournament team. Sampson ended up with 12 big points and 8 rebounds in ECU's first postseason non-conference tournament championship.
It was a story book ending to a story book season for the Pirates.
Hot shooting guard Scott Bamforth led Weber State(30-7) with 19 points, including 4 for 8 from the arc.
Frank Otis and Davion Berry had 16 each while Kyle Tresnak was very effective in the paint with 10 points and 7 boards in a losing cause.
The Wildcats, who had only lost one game all season in the Dee Events Center on December 15th in a 10-point setback to Brigham Young, jumped out early by seven points on three Scott Bamforth three-point bombs in the first six minutes of the first period.
But Miguel Paul capped a Pirate run with a right handed drive that connected and he was fouled. Paul hit the free throw to give East Carolina their first lead at 30-28 with 5:32 in the half.
The versatile Davion Berry briefly gave Weber State the lead by one point before ECU went on a 14-4 run. Maurice Kemp scored off the bounce and was fouled for the three-point play. Akeem Richmond's only trey of the half gave the Pirates a five-point lead.
Kemp's breakaway two-handed dunk extended the ECU lead. That's when Paris Roberts-Campbell's left handed drive gave ECU a 40-33 margin with less than a minute in the half.
Kemp scored again at the buzzer to give the Pirates a 42-35 lead at intermission.
Scott Bamforth led Weber State with 13 while Davion Berry had 9 at the half while ECU's Ty Armstrong scored 10, Maurice Kemp had 9 and both Robert Sampson and Paul had 8 points apiece.
ECU hit 18 of 30 shots for 60 percent including 3 for 9 shooting from the arc while. Weber State shot at a 48 percent clip.
Weber State went on a 13-4 run as center Frank Otis tied the game at 44 and then immediately scored again to take the lead.
But a Paul drive tied the game at 48-48.
The Pirates went on a 9-2 run that was erased by an 8-0 run from the Wildcats. Bamforth's floater in the lane, a trey from Berry and a trey from Bamforth gave Weber State the lead at 62-61 with 6:28 to go.
But the Wildcats scored six straight on an Otis lay-in and two Kyle Tresnak dunks to give Weber a 71-65 lead with 2:51 to play.
Sampson's windmill dunk in the lane gave the Pirates the lead 74-73. Paul fouled Berry with 17.3 to play.
Berry hit one and East Carolina zipped the ball up the court for the final shot without calling a timeout to catch Weber State in a more disorganized defensive posture.
Paul had the ball at the top of the arc, drove and flipped it back out front to junior guard Akeem Richmond who got freed up for the Championship winning three-point bucket as time expired in the contest giving the Pirates their first basketball postseason championship.
The Pirates shot at a 59 percent clip in the victory, including hitting 6 of 16 from the arc for 37 percent.
ECU connected on 11 of 14 from the free throw line for 78.6 percent.
Weber State connected on 29 of 55 from the floor, good for a solid 52.7 percent and 7 of 17 from three-point land.
But the Wildcats hit only 9 of 19 from the charity stripe for 47.4 percent in the loss.
That may have made the difference, despite Weber State holding a slight four rebound lead in the contest.
In the end, East Carolina overcame the altitude, a packed house in Dee Events Center and got a win over a Weber State team who had only lost one game at home all season.