ECU Rides Broncs 75-54

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The postseason basketball tournament continued on Saturday as East Carolina knocked off Rider University 75-54 for what was a history making 20th win for the Pirates.
Senior Maurice Kemp and center Ty Armstrong both poured in 20 points to lead the Pirates. Kemp pulled down 15 rebounds.
The inside firepower and Pirate transition game made up for colder than normal 4 of 19 night from the arc as ECU(20-12) pounded it inside for 42 points in the lane, including 19 points off of the Broncs 18 turnovers.
Ty Armstrong, twenty points in 24 minutes. I've been waiting for that. I think his confidence had been shaken at times," said Lebo, "Kemp was the third player to get 600 points in a season and has had six 20-point games in a row. That ties former Pirate and Utah Jazz star Blue Edwards on the all time ECU list.
"Really proud of our team they played with energy and passion. Our crowd was unbelievable tonight and I thought it was a factor in the second half," said ECU head coach Jeff Lebo, "We had some guys step up including one who hasn't played much at all."
"Prince Williams in a really tough situatin comes in, a walk-on - freshman, and helped lead us to a victory late tonight when Miguel got in foul trouble. Eight points, seven rebounds and three assists in 13 minutes. He was really good."
Lebo indicated that going to the zone on defense in the second half turned out to be handy against the cold outside shooting of Rider on this given evening. The Pirates picked up their 20th win of the season for the first time since 1954.
"I thought our zone helped us in this game. We were very active in it. They didn't shoot the ball well in this game. If you tell me that Akeem, and Miguel(Paul,who had eight assists) would go 3 for 20 and we'd still win I'd say no way. We got some drives in the paint, we got some drives and dumps, you have to have that balance and I thought we had it today."
Sampson, Paul, Richmond and Kemp scored early as the Pirates took a 9-2 lead. Jonathan Thompson, who led Rider with 18 points, hit two free throws and a Tommy Pereira's only basket of the contest cut the lead to two at 9-7.
East Carolina held the Broncs to just 2-10 shooting in the first nine and a half minutes of play. ECU's size in the lane affected shots and get the Pirates out in transition where they scored 5 points in the first twenty minutes in the fast break and another 6 points in the second half.
But the Pirates did not shoot that great in the first half. Sampson scored in the paint while Kemp, Paris Roberts-Campbell and Ty Armstrong scored twice to give the Pirates a 12-point cushion at the five minute mark before halftime.
Junior Fortunat and Daniel Stewart both had
three fouls as the two teams headed into the locker room.
Thompson nailed six free throws in the last four minutes before intermission and Zedric Sadler downed two of his own along with a three-point jumper with 7 seconds in the half as Rider pulled to within six at halftime, 35-29.
Nurideen Lindsey got it going early for the Broncs in the second stanza for a athletic Rider squad with a quick jumper. Anthony Miles knocked down a trey and Junior Fortunat scored to trim the ECU lead to just one point with 16:38 left in the game.
The Pirates went on a 32-10 run as Armstrong, Kemp and Sampson controlled the paint and the East Carolina transition game ran the Broncs out of the gym. Armstrong scored three times in the last five minutes.
ECU held Rider to just 27 percent from the floor and only 7 of 25 from three-point range. The Bronc canned 15 of 19 from the stripe.
The Pirates heated up slightly from 36 percent in the first half to end up at 42 percent on 26 of 62 shooting. ECU was 4 of 19 from the arc and just 19 of 28 from the charity stripe.
Rider got late points from Thompson and a basket and a trey on the next possession with 2:21 to play but it was to little, too late as the Pirates advance to the next round of the CIT against an opponent to be named later this weekend. ECU is expected to host on Tuesday night in Minges Coliseum.
Be sure to catch Ironwood Golf & Country Club PI-TV Postgame along with Saturday night's University Book Exchange Box Score as the Pirates win their 20th victory of the season and advance in the postseason basketball tournament.
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