PirateIllustrated - ECU Travels to Tulane in AAC Play
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ECU Travels to Tulane in AAC Play

Jayden Gardner and ECU hit the road to New Orleans where they will take on Tulane Saturday night at 8 o'clock.
Jayden Gardner and ECU hit the road to New Orleans where they will take on Tulane Saturday night at 8 o'clock.

ECU will look to get back on track when the Pirates travel to the Big Easy to take on Tulane Saturday night at 8 o’clock in Fogleman Arena.

Mike Dunleavy enters the game with a 24-62 record in his third year in New Orleans while Joe Dooley comes into Saturday’s tilt two games below .500 in his five overall years at ECU at 66-68 to go with a 180-126 record overall.

Tulane is a team that remains much better than their record but for some reason curiously remains winless in AAC play this year at 0-13 and just 4-21 overall. One reason may be the fact they are only hitting just under 41 percent from the floor and only 68 percent as a team from the stripe. Their 30.2 percent from the arc ranks just 336th in the nation.

6-4 guard Caleb Daniels enters Saturday’s tilt leading the Green Wave at 15.8 points a game, five boards and 3.2 assists. 6-9 post man Samir Sehic at 11.2 points per contest also leads the team in rebounding at 7.7 per game. 6-6 225 guard Jordan Cornish isn’t bad either with a 10.7 point per game average. He leads the team in assists right at four per game.

The Pirates are coming off a five game losing streak and a five day rest with their last win being a one point 66-65 victory over this same Green Wave ball club. Freshman sensation Jayden Gardner led the Pirates with 15 points and nine boards. Seth LeDay scored 13 points off the bench with Isaac Fleming adding 11 and Dimitrije Spasojevic scoring 10 points.

ECU(9-16, 2-11) enters the game having won ten of the last fourteen against Tulane after losing nine of the first eleven. One good thing is ECU has had extended success in New Orleans where the Pirates have won the last five straight. The last being an 82-80 win with Shawn Williams getting hot, going off for 29 points on nine of ten shooting and Isaac Fleming had his way as well with 18 points.

In ECU’s last game, Shawn Williams showed what he is capable of, scoring a season high 26 points against Tulsa last Sunday on a career best eight treys. Williams has found his range of late hitting fifty percent on 16 of 32 shooting in the last five games after going just 5 of 28 in the prior four.

Williams has scored double figures in the last three contests, averaging 17.7 points per game.

But everything still revolves around Gardner who is the only player in the league in the top ten in both scoring and rebounding. He ranks fifth in the league in scoring, second in rebounding. He is one of just four players in the American to be in the top ten in both rebounding and field goal percentage. Nationally, Gardner ranks sixth in both scoring and rebounding among all freshmen.

Isaac Fleming continues to get better and better, scoring double figures in seven of the last eleven games after a slow start. He had 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists versus Tulsa Sunday.

Gardner and junior Seth LeDay are looking to become the twelfth set of teammates in the brief history of the AAC to rank among the Top 10 in the conference in rebounding. Gardner currently stands second with 8.9 rebounds per game and LeDay is 13th with 6.2 per game.

The game will be televised with Matt Schick calling the play-by-play and Sean Harrington doing color commentary on ESPNU.