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ECU SID Game Recap

Schedule, Scores, Attendance



Inside Game Day
Saturday, March 23, 2013

By Al Myatt

ECU in driver's seat with Rider

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

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

Post-game audio: ECU players Ty Armstrong & Maurice Kemp...

View box score and stats on Tournament Scoreboard & Schedule

GREENVILLE — It took 50 years for East Carolina to win its first postseason basketball game on the Division I level. It only took four days for the Pirates to win their second.

ECU climbed in the driver's seat early and appropriately relegated Rider to passenger status as the Pirates took a 75-54 win over the Broncs in the second-round of the Tournament Saturday evening in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

The triumph marked ECU's first 20-win season since the 1953-54 team, which competed in the NAIA, went 23-2. It was the first time ECU had reached the magic number on the Division I level.

Public address announcer Jeff Diamond informed a crowd of 3,886 that the Pirates would host the winner between Kent State and Loyola of Maryland on Tuesday night in the CIT quarterfinals.

ECU (20-12) started fast, withstood a run by the Broncs and won going away.

The Pirates limited Rider to 27.1 percent field goal shooting for the game. ECU outrebounded the Broncs, 47-38.

It was a contrast to the modus operandi in a 66-65 squeaker against Savannah State in which the Pirates won a race to the buzzer after trailing by 15 points twice in the second half.

Story continues after the following picture.

Paris Roberts-Campbell (22) and Ty Armstrong (5) defend Rider guard
Jonathan Thompson. ECU held the Broncs to 27.1 percent shooting.
[W.A. Myatt photo]

Coach Jeff Lebo, who has orchestrated ECU's unprecedented hoops prosperity with a rotation shortened by the loss of small forward Erin Straughn and point guard Corvonn Gaines, found some new contributors from the cast that produced Tuesday night's historic win.

Ty Armstrong, who watched much of the first postseason victory earlier in the week as Lebo went to a smaller lineup, provided 20 points from close range in 24 minutes.

"After I get a couple of buckets, my confidence feels like it shoots up," Armstrong said. " ... I really had nowhere to go but up."

Armstrong had three points and two rebounds in 12 minutes in the first round of the CIT but credited his teammates' encouragement and hard work in practice with bouncing back.

"Been waiting for that," said Lebo of Armstrong's effort.

Lebo turned to Prince Williams after point guard Miguel Paul picked up his fourth foul. Williams, a 6-foot-4 freshman, responded with eight points, seven rebounds and three assists in 13 second-half minutes.

"Prince came in and really led us to victory," Lebo said.

One of his feeds went to Maurice Kemp for a dunk with 9:36 to go. Kemp appeared to take off from the environs of Pactolus. Kemp had 20 points, 15 rebounds, blocked three shots and made three steals.

Williams also gave ECU a different dimension with his size on the defensive end.

It was Kemp's sixth straight effort with 20 or more points. The only other Pirate to perform that feat was Blue Edwards, who went on to become an established player in the NBA for the Utah Jazz.

Kemp also exceeded 600 points for the season, which only Edwards and Oliver Mack, who went on to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, had done previously at ECU.

"Kemp was terrific," Lebo said. "An energy play with his dunk."

Robert Sampson had nine points, nine rebounds, two blocks and three steals despite foul issues. Akeem Richmond had eight points and three assists. Paul had five points and eight assists. Paris Roberts-Campbell had five points.

Lebo gave 6-foot-10 freshman Yasin Kolo three first-half minutes. Michael Zangari, Shamarr Bowden, Francis Edosomwan and Peyton Robbins played briefly. An injury kept Marshall Guilmette out of action.

Rider (19-15) was road-tested, coming into the game with an 8-8 mark in away games. The Broncs rallied after ECU's first onslaught put the visitors in a pair of 14-point holes in the first half. Rider trimmed the margin to 35-29 at the half and closed within a point at 37-36 before the Pirates regrouped for a decisive finish.

Lebo had made a plea for fan support and Pirate Nation responded. After 2,053 showed up on Tuesday night, the crowd nearly doubled for the second round. Those figures are entirely from gate sales and do not include the approximately 2,500-season ticket base of the regular season.

"Just hearing the roars and the chants and just the love from everybody, it's a beautiful place to play," Armstrong said.

He added that every fan Saturday needed to bring five friends to the next game.

"I've said it all year," Kemp said. "I think we've got the best fans in the nation. ... They have no idea now much we appreciate them. We feed off their energy."

Lebo had to feel fulfilled that the fans sensed the urgency of his request on

"Our crowd was unbelievable tonight," said the Pirates coach. "I thought it was a factor in the second half, no doubt about it."

Story continues after the following picture.

Jeff Lebo celebrates a second round CIT victory with the Minges faithful.
[W.A. Myatt photo]

It's pretty amazing that the Pirates' season will last longer than those of N.C. State and Conference USA champion Memphis, both of which have been knocked out of the NCAA Tournament.

Sure, that's an apple and oranges comparison. The NCAA Tournament is a higher level of competition and teams don't get home court advantages.

But teams with impressive resumes still show up in the CIT and the fact that's it's a cut below other postseason events really doesn't matter. ECU and its fans have embraced the challenge. The administration has won bids to host and the Pirates have some momentum.

For a program with ECU's lack of tradition, it's a welcomed opportunity to experience March madness firsthand. Tournament
Quarterfinal Round
East Carolina 75, Rider 54

Date: Saturday, Mar. 23, 2013
Facility: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Attendance: 3,886
Records: ECU 20-12; RU 19-15


Rider 29 25 54
East Carolina 35 40 75

View full box score and stats on

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03/24/2013 02:23:43 AM


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