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ECU SID Game Recap

Schedule, Scores, Attendance



Inside Game Day
Saturday, March 30, 2013

By Al Myatt

Time to get the show on the road

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

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

Post-game audio: ECU players Maurice Kemp & Miguel Paul... Tournament Scoreboard & Schedule

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GREENVILLE — Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum has transformed into a sort of Never-Never Land during East Carolina's four-game run to this point in the Tournament.

ECU's seniors never lost their last game in the enabling environment and opponents never played well for 40 minutes.

In the case of Evansville in the CIT semifinals, the Aces never were really in the game.

Evansville (21-15), as folks were quick to point out, beat Final Four-bound Wichita State twice this season.

Despite their purple uniforms, the visitors looked as lost as Hansel and Gretel on Saturday evening.

The Pirates went ahead to stay on a 3-pointer by Miguel Paul just 23 seconds into the contest. When the dismantling was finished, ECU had reserved itself a CIT final spot with a thorough 81-58 win.

The Pirates will hit the road to challenge Weber State Tuesday night in the championship  game. The Wildcats earned the right to host the final with a 59-56 semifinal win at Northern Iowa Saturday night.

"It was fun," said ECU coach Jeff Lebo of his team's thumping of Evansville. "That's the best we've played, maybe all year.... We had a lot of energy. I thought defensively we were alert and did a great job at all spots."

ECU (22-12) shot 55.4 percent for the game while holding Evansville to 31.8 percent.

Maurice Kemp, Robert Sampson and Paul each had double-doubles. Kemp had a game-high 20 points with some more sensational dunks that elicited comparisons to his recent appearance on ESPN's top plays. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.

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Junior forward Ty Armstrong waits to check in for the Pirates. (Al Myatt photo)

Paul scored 19 points and had 11 assists. Sampson continued to emerge as a force inside with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Ty Armstrong carved the Aces up in the paint with the finesse of a pool hustler as he made 6-of-7 field goal attempts on a 17-point night.

Paris Roberts-Campbell had seven points but his most important work was on the defensive end as he limited Evansville's all-time leading scorer, Colt Ryan, to 12 points, eight below his average. The focus of the Aces' motion offense was to spring Ryan for good looks, but it was hard for the 6-foot-5 senior to get space with Roberts-Campbell attached to him like a Siamese twin.

Ryan went 3-for-10 from the floor and 0-for-4 behind the arc. He showed the ability to draw fouls from the officiating crew that included the well-known Ted Valentine and went 6-for-6 at the line.

Lebo said Roberts-Campbell gave the tired signal twice. He still had six assists.

"Paris was terrific," Lebo said. "Thirty-four minutes and having to defend (Ryan) on all those cuts, the screens and the curls. ... He was exhausted after the game and he's one of my best-conditioned guys."

Akeem Richmond went 2-for-9 behind the arc and had six points. Prince Williams led the way for ECU's reserves with a point in four minutes.

One of Kemp's highlight-reel slams came on an assist by Paul with 14:17 to play and put the Pirates ahead, 57-32. The Aces got within 16 points, at 67-51, on a jumper by D.J. Balentine with 5:41 to go.

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Senior point guard Miguel Paul attempts a three over Evansville's Adam Wing. (Al Myatt photo)

The Pirates soon left the visitors in another vapor trail with an 11-0 run capped fittingly by another Kemp dunk.

Safety officials only allowed 5,625 tickets to be sold because of the adjacent construction of the basketball practice facility.

"Our crowd was unbelievable," Lebo said. "I heard we had to turn people away. That stuns me."

ECU will have to become road warriors after closing the show at home on a high note.

"I wish the game was here," Lebo said. "Going to either one of those environments is really, really difficult. Long trips. Changing time zones. I don't know much about Weber State other than they're 17-1 at home. Northern Iowa is 16-3 at home."

Lebo made the remarks before the outcome of the Weber State-Northern Iowa game was known.

Lebo said he would enjoy the CIT semifinal win until later Saturday night when he expected to find out who had advanced on the other side of the bracket. By now, he's investigated every aspect of the 30-6 Wildcats of the Big Sky Conference.

The players had confidence that they would be well-prepared to take another shot at history during the Pirates' unprecedented season on the Division I level.

"The coaches get our mindsets right," Paul said of the prospect of playing his last college game. "We're going to enjoy this one until midnight and then come back in tomorrow. ... We know Pirate Nation is here at home and they'll be supporting us some kind of way."

The CBS Sports Network will televise the Tuesday night game, which is scheduled for an 8 p.m. tip off.

"Something we've talked about countless times is trying to make a name for East Carolina basketball," Kemp said. "That's been our main goal. With our teammates' help, we are focused. ... We have another game to play and we look to bring a championship back to Greenville." Tournament
Semifinal Round
East Carolina 81, Evansville 58

Date: Saturday, Mar. 30, 2013
Facility: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Attendance: 5,625
Records: ECU 22-12; Evansville 21-15


Evansville 26 32 58
East Carolina 40 41 81

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03/31/2013 04:10:23 AM


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