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Inside Game Day
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

By Al Myatt

 

ECU zone slows Greyhounds

By Al Myatt
2013 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

Bradsher: Pirates' P.R. machine running fast break

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

Post-game audio: Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos...

Post-game audio: Maurice Kemp & Robert Sampson...

GREENVILLE Sometimes success is as easy as changing defenses.

Loyola of Maryland reacted to a zone defense from East Carolina like they had entered some disabling dimension of the Twilight Zone on Tuesday night and ECU delighted a raucous house in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum with a closing run to a 70-58 victory.

The Minges maestro, Jeff Lebo, made a significant tweak and kept the Pirates' party rocking full blast into the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

"We didn't really go over zone in practice but Coach Lebo realized they weren't hitting their threes and made the adjustment," said ECU and ESPN star Maurice Kemp.

The zone, which looked a lot like a basic YMCA 2-3, helped ECU to a decisive 23-8 run from a tie at 45 with 10:49 remaining. The Pirates advanced to meet Evansville in the CIT semifinals at home on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Article continues after the following picture.


Paris Roberts-Campbell gives a fist bump to 'Voice of the Pirates' Jeff Charles during the introduction of starting lineups for Tuesday night's CIT quarterfinal. (W.A. Myatt photo)

Kemp had 20 points. Robert Sampson added 13 points and 11 rebounds. Miguel Paul totaled 12 points and nine assists.

"When we went to the zone, that was a big factor in slowing them down a little bit," Lebo said. "They're good in their man-to-man (offense). They hurt us inside for the first 22 to 24 minutes but our zone was effective. They didn't shoot it particularly well."

The Greyhounds were just 2 for 20 behind the arc for 10 percent. The zone seemed to force Loyola into long possessions of working the ball around the perimeter. They struggled to finish drives amid the traffic in the middle, and their bigs were stymied by Sampson, Ty Armstrong and Kemp.

"We couldn't finish inside," said Jimmy Patsos, a former assistant to Gary Williams at Maryland, who guided Loyola to the NCAA Tournament last season. " ... You have to score inside and then you can kick it out. We couldn't make anything inside so then they were right on us and we're working to make threes."

The Greyhounds (23-12) made just one of nine from long distance in the second half. Robert Olson, who drew boos from a crowd of 4,512 every time he touched the ball, went 0-for-8 from distance and teammate Dylon Cormier was 0-for-6. Patsos said Olson played despite illness.

Article continues after the following picture.


Miguel Paul dribbles off a screen during ECU's CIT quarterfinal matchup with Loyola (MD). The senior point guard had 12 points and 9 assists. (W.A. Myatt photo)

Struggles from long range were not limited to the small Jesuit institution from Baltimore.

Pirate marksman Akeem Richmond was an uncharacteristic 0-for-6 on threes. He still managed nine points and three assists. Armstrong had eight points. Paris Roberts-Campbell connected on a pair of 3-pointers as the Pirates erased a seven-point Loyola lead over the last two minutes of the first half. Kemp had a dunk and made a free throw to tie the score at 32 just before the break.

"It's a game of runs," Lebo said.

The Greyhounds scored the first six points of the second half but the Pirates scored the next seven.

Kemp scored six of eight straight points by ECU that put the Pirates ahead to stay at 53-45.

Kemp said he was eating barbecue potato chips Monday when he saw his dunk against Rider in the round of 16 was ESPN's top play on SportsCenter.

"I did a double take," he said.

Patsos said his team was a little awestruck after seeing Clark-LeClair and Dowdy-Ficklen stadiums.

"We don't even have seats in the end zone in our basketball gym," said the Greyhounds coach.

The Pirates have plenty of seats in comparison and ECU personnel were thankful they had ardent supporters in them on Tuesday night.

"I want to thank the students and our crowd," Lebo said. "It was unbelievable, again. Just phenomenal."

Article continues after the following picture.


Seniors Miguel Paul (0) and Maurice Kemp fire up the fans during ECU's CIT quarterfinal win over Loyola (MD) Tuesday night in Greenville.(W.A. Myatt photo)

ECU is 21-12, adding another digit to its record win total on the NCAA Division I level.

"I'm happy for our seniors," said the Pirates coach, who is 54-44 in three years at ECU. "We live to play another day, another couple of practices. I'll give them off (Wednesday). I'm getting soft on 'em.

"It's just exciting to see what's happening. ... Talking to Jimmy (Patsos), he was just amazed at our crowd and amazed at our students. I want to thank them because they were big factors in our energy level tonight."

ECU is in a final four. It's not the Final Four but the Pirates and their fans like where they're at.

"We're going to keep on trying to write some history," Sampson said. "The crowd and the fans, they all love it. It's an entire community thing. It's not just us playing basketball."

CollegeInsider.com Tournament
Quarterfinal Round
East Carolina 70, Loyola MD 58
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Date: Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2013
Facility: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Attendance: 4512
Records: ECU 21-12; Loyola 23-12

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SCORE BY PERIODS 1 2 FINAL
Loyola 32 26 58
East Carolina 32 38 70

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PAGE UPDATED 03/27/13 09:24 AM.

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