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ECU SID Game Recap

Schedule, Scores, Attendance



Inside Game Day
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

By Al Myatt

ECU rises to occasion

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

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Post-game audio: ECU coach Jeff Lebo...

Post-game audio: Tulane coach Ed Conroy...

Post-game audio: ECU players Maurice Kemp & Akeem Richmond...

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GREENVILLE — East Carolina's basketball team had internal and external motivation in its Conference USA matchup with Tulane on Wednesday night. From an internal standpoint, the Pirates realized they had an opportunity to secure an opening round bye in next week's Conference USA Tournament in Tulsa, a feat never before accomplished by ECU in 11 previous seasons in the league.

Apart from taking a shortcut into the C-USA quarterfinals on Thursday, there also was the matter of putting the program's best foot forward for special company.

Jeff Compher and his wife, Cathy, were introduced to the crowd of 4,461 in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum with 15:51 left in the first half. Just hours earlier in the Murphy Center, Compher had been presented as ECU's soon-to-be athletic director after putting together a compelling body of work over the last five years at Northern Illinois.

Compher will assume his duties at East Carolina on May 1. Terry Holland, who has served as AD since 2004, will assist Compher's transition and become athletic director emeritus through the remainder of his contract, which reportedly runs through the end of 2014.

Although ECU trailed 10-3 as Compher acknowledged the gathering from the playing floor, the Pirates were able to subdue the quick and determined Green Wave, 88-85, to lock down the bye and keep the buzz positive on Compher's first day among Pirate Nation.

Chancellor Steve Ballard sat on the first row, opposite the Tulane bench, near Compher when the incoming AD wasn't circulating in the arena, and Ballard seemed to be enjoying himself as much as anyone. Holland was stationed at his customary post near the visitors' exit on the lower level. His hiring of Lebo after ECU went 10-21 in 2009-10 looked as shrewd as ever as ECU improved to 17-11 overall and 8-7 in C-USA.

Lebo said he only had a chance to say hello to Compher during halftime on game day. The Pirate coach was pretty busy fending off the Green Wave (18-12, 6-9 C-USA), who led 82-81 after a drive by N.C. State transfer Josh Davis with 2:10 to go. Those were the last of 23 points for Davis, who also snatched 16 rebounds.

The Pirates astutely isolated Akeem Richmond, screening his defender to set up the go-ahead basket after he left Richmond to double team the ball. Robert Sampson fed Richmond for a 3-pointer and an 84-82 lead with 1:58 remaining. Sampson also claimed the ensuing defensive rebound. ECU put the game away as Richmond and Miguel Paul each made a pair of free throws in the final 18 seconds. ECU noticeably picked up the defensive intensity of its man-to-man down the stretch.

Richmond set a new school record for 3-pointers in a season with a trey with 12:37 left to play. He now has connected 87 times from behind the arc, surpassing the previous mark of 85 set by Sam Hinnant in 2008-09.

From Tulane's 38-22 rebounding advantage and 54.5 percent field goal shooting, it was a small miracle that ECU was able to match its previous league record total of eight wins set in Lebo's first season in 2010-11.

"It was an offensive game, obviously," Lebo said in retrospect. "I'm really proud of our group to find a way to win. Tough game. Tulane played awfully well. They shot it really well. They spread us out, beat us off the bounce, hurt us off the glass. ... It looked like we were going to have to outscore them."

Maurice Kemp obliged with 29 points and nine rebounds for ECU. Richmond had 21 points. Paris Roberts-Campbell found his touch for five threes and 15 points. Paul, who was scoreless in the first half, came on to score 13 points and handed out 11 assists. Sampson had seven rebounds. Roberts-Campbell had five assists and Kemp had four.

"Twenty-four assists to eight turnovers — I'll take that every game," Lebo said.

Story continues after the following picture.

ECU's Maurice Kemp drives in the first half against Tulane. The senior forward, C-USA's leading scorer,
reinforced his bid for first-team all-conference honors with 29 points and 9 rebounds. (W.A. Myatt photo)

Ricky Tarrant had 20 points for Tulane. Jordan Callahan scored 17 in the loss. Louis Dabney had 11 points in 13 second-half minutes, a performance Kemp said he would hear about from the coaches.

"I couldn't stay in front of him," the 6-foot-8 Kemp said of the 6-3 Dabney.

"He wasn't even in the scouting report," Lebo said. "He was crushing Kemp."

Tulane coach Ed Conroy said the two programs brought out the best in one another, a good thing for the Pirates, who needed to be at their best given the special set of circumstances.

ECU will face another green machine at 5 p.m. on Saturday as Marshall comes to town. The Thundering Herd thumped the Pirates 77-56 on Jan.19.

At least Kemp probably won't have to guard a smaller man. He and Paul can help set a program record for C-USA wins on their Senior Night.

"They're bigger than almost any team in the country," Lebo said of Marshall (13-17, 6-9). "I know their last game (Tuesday night at home) was Senior Night but they started 6-5, 6-9, 6-9, 6-10 and 6-8 ... men. They played a lot of zone. ... They lost at Southern Miss by 56 (102-46, Jan. 23). They played Southern Miss at home and beat them by four (88-84, Tuesday night). In basketball, you never know what's going to happen."

East Carolina 88, Marshall 85

Date: Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2013
Facility: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Attendance: 4,461
Records: ECU 17-11, 8-7 C-USA; TU
18-12, 6-9


Tulane 41 44 85
East Carolina 40 48 88

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03/07/2013 03:49:37 AM


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