GREENVILLE, N.C. - Maurice Kemp scored 20 points and Robert Sampson tossed in 13 and pulled down 11 rebounds as ECU advanced to the final four of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament with a 70-58 victory over Loyola of Maryland.
Kemp, who scored 10 of his 20 in the first half, scored from both inside and outside as the Pirates jumped out to an early 8-0 lead.
Two Jordan Latham baskets, a Dylon Cormier jumper and a Anthony Winbush basket in the paint tied the game at the 15 minute mark in the first half.
Robert Olson, who scored 11 for Loyola, hit three buckets as the Greyhounds jumped out to a 26-19 lead with 3:41 before halftime.
But ECU's elder statesman, Maurice Kemp and junior forward Robert Sampson went to work in the paint and got to the free throw line where they did even more damage.
Couple that with two three-point jumpers from the Pirates' Paris Roberts-Campbell and East Carolina manages to tie the ballgame at 32 apiece at intermission.
Loyola hit only 1 of 9 from the arc in the first 20 minutes but did connect on 14 of 30 overall for 46.7 percent shooting to ECU's 33 percent on 10 of 30 from the floor. East Carolina(21-12) did hit 4 of 9 from the arc to keep things close at halftime.
The Greyhounds got off to a quick 6 point lead in the second half on two baskets by Cormier and a Winbush jumper. ECU began to come on at that point when Ty Armstrong scored off a Miguel Paul assist.
Sampson connected on a three-pointer and Armstrong gave ECU the lead on two free throws at the 16:39 mark.
Paul maintained the ECU lead on two free throws and then hit two more after a technical foul was called on Loyola coach and former Gary Williams assistant, Jimmy Patsos.
Cormier and Olson scored for Loyola to give the Greyhounds their final lead of the game at 45-44 with 12:10 left.
That's when Kemp scored on six separate occasions along with two free throws from Akeem Richmond, followed by two Sampson slams off of feeds from Ty Armstrong and Miguel Paul respectively.
That run put the Pirates up by double figures where they never looked back from there.
Dylon Cormier led Loyola(23-12) with 12 points while Robert Olson had 11 points and Anthony Winbush chipped in with 10 for the Greyhounds.
Both East Carolina and Loyola shot around 39 percent for the contest. ECU connected on 6-16 from three-point land while holding the Hounds to just 2 for 20.
The Pirates connected on 24 of 30 from the stripe while Loyola hit just 8 of 14 in a game where the rebounds were dead even at 36 apiece.
With the victory, East Carolina advances to the semi-finals of the CIT this Saturday afternoon at 5pm when the Pirates host Evansville who defeated Canisius on Tuesday night.
Be sure to catch Ironwood Golf & Country Club PI-TV Postgame with interviews from both coaches as well as postgame comments from Robert Sampson and Maurice Kemp after East Carolina's 21st win of the season right here on PirateIllustrated.com.
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