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ECU SID Game Recap

Schedule, Scores, Attendance



Inside Game Day
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

By Al Myatt

Fitting climax for milestone season

Pirates capture treasure in CIT title game

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

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Post-game audio: Jeff Lebo... | Maurice Kemp... | Miguel Paul... | Akeem Richmond... Tournament Final Scoreboard Wrap-up

View box score and stats on

OGDEN, UT — East Carolina's final possession in the Tournament lasted 17 seconds. It made a memory that will endure for decades.

Akeem Richmond took a kickout from Miguel Paul and drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to lift the Pirates to a 77-74 win over host Weber State in the CIT championship game.

"I knew it was good when it left my hand," Richmond said. "That's why I took off running."

Richmond and the triumph may become to ECU basketball what Luke Fisher's winning touchdown in the Peach Bowl to cap the 1991 season is to Pirate football.

Story continues after the following picture.

A peak near south Ogden, UT, where East Carolina became king of the mountain.
[Al Myatt photo. © All rights reserved.]

It's too early to put the accomplishment in historical context but it came at a venue with significant history.

The outcome may make ECU athletics director Terry Holland feel a little kinder toward the Dee Events Center. His previous visit was a loss to N.C. State during the Wolfpack's NCAA Tournament run to the championship in 1983.

"(Holland) said he would never come back," said third-year East Carolina coach Jeff Lebo, the architect of this record setting 23-12 season at ECU, who expressed his joy for the seniors.

There may still be some ghosts in the building.

Holland's teams in that era featured Ralph Sampson, whose son Robert was prominent in ECU's win Tuesday night with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Like the Cardiac Pack did numerous times 30 years ago, the Pirates had to rally. The Wildcats led 71-65 with under three minutes left.

Story continues after the following picture.

A few ECU fans ventured to the Dee Events Center in Ogden, UT, to cheer on the Pirates.
[Al Myatt photo. © All rights reserved.]

Weber State (30-7) couldn't close the deal at the free throw line, going 6 for 14 in the second half. That happened to a series of Wolfpack foes in '83.

Maurice Kemp, the CIT MVP, hit a three with 2:30 to go to pull ECU within 71-68. Paul dropped two free throws with 1:43 remaining to cut the margin to 72-70. Sampson scored on one of Paul's six assists to tie the score at 72 with 1:15 left.

A driving slam by Sampson on a feed from Paul put ECU up 74-73 with 32.3 seconds left. Weber State's Davion Berry made the first of two free throws with 17.3 seconds left to tie the score.

Lebo didn't call time after Sampson pulled down the missed second attempt.

"We knew what we wanted to do," said the Pirates coach. "We'd had some success with the double ball screen at the top."

Story continues after the following picture.

Senior point guard Miguel Paul spreads his arms in a defensive posture in the second half.
[Al Myatt photo. © All rights reserved.]

Paul drove past the picks and passed back outside to Richmond, whose streaks from long range have been incredible at times.

"I had a mid-range jumper but I know that Akeem is automatic," Paul said. "When his man turned his head, I got him the ball and he hit it for me."

Pirate radio voice Jeff Charles made the call with his trademark excitement.

"The only thing was I couldn't wrap it up because of the video review," said Charles, who exhorts listeners to "Paint It Purple" after a Pirates win.

The officials had to see for sure that Richmond released the ball before time expired. Charles called for the paint bucket after the crew determined that the game winner was legit.

It was a contrast to ECU's loss to Tulsa on the Golden Hurricanes' floor in the Conference USA Tournament. After four straight home wins in the CIT, the Pirates again ventured into an opponent's home arena.

Weber State was 17-1 in its lair this season before taking on ECU. The only loss was to Brigham Young.

"In the postseason, we really played to our potential," said Kemp, who had 20 points and six boards. "We focused on defense and rebounding. We've had it in spurts but we didn't do it consistently. We finally brought it all together in the postseason.

" ... It's amazing. Not many people get to go out in this fashion with a championship."

Story continues after the following picture.

Senior forward Maurice Kemp gets a souvenir after being named CIT MVP.
[Al Myatt photo. © All rights reserved.]

Most of the crowd of 10,583 were for the Wildcats.

"They packed it out," Kemp said. "We had to focus and block everything out. We did a good job of it. I'm really proud of my teammates and coaches."

Paul led all scorers with 23 points which were produced from an array of moves and shots.

He credited injured senior Corvonn Gaines with some inspiration.

"He's a big leader behind the scenes," Paul said. "He said to pretend this was Minges (Coliseum, ECU's home). He said to pretend like the boos were for us and we were in a purple environment."

Ty Armstrong battled foul problems to score 10 points.

Scott Bamforth had 13 of his team high 19 points for the Wildcats in the first half.

Story continues after the following picture.

Coach Jeff Lebo and junior guard Akeem Richmond share the moment after Richmond's
three at the buzzer gave gave ECU a 77-74 win over Weber State and the CIT title.
[Al Myatt photo. © All rights reserved.]

The Pirates left by charter following the game for Greenville. They returned home with ECU's most wins ever on the Division I level.

The Pirates' record in postseason play has gone from 0-4 several weeks ago to 5-4.

An all-sports membership to a new league was extended recently.

Richmond's shot to close the CIT could well become the signature moment in a sea change for Pirate basketball. Tournament
Championship Game
East Carolina 77, Weber State 74

Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Facility: Dee Events Center
Attendance: 10,583
Records: ECU 23-12; WSU 30-7


East Carolina 42 35 77
Weber State 35 39 74

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04/03/2013 10:06:42 AM


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