East Carolina Falls at North Texas, 53-51
Feb. 15, 2014
DENTON, Texas - Jordan Williams blocked Prince Williams' game-winning shot attempt with six seconds left as North Texas survived a late surge to slip past East Carolina 53-51 Saturday night.
"We had a good look at the end, but had it blocked," ECU Head Coach Jeff Lebo said. "Akeem [Richmond] made a great play to get the offensive rebound and had shot for the win, he just missed it. We battled here and had a chance to win on the road."
North Texas was ahead 50-38 midway of the final period, when East Carolina closed off the Eagles, limiting them to just three points in the final 9 minutes. Caleb White, who had 17 points, hit two consecutive 3-pointers and made a layup to close to 50-46 with 7:44 remaining.
Alzee Williams, who averages 11.9 points a game, scored his only points, a dunk, at the 4:36 mark. That was just enough for the win as ECU scored five unanswered points in the final 90 seconds.
"I'm proud of the kids," Lebo stated. They've worked hard, they've battled, they're practicing well, they're giving it all they've got. It would've been nice to pull this one out."
The Pirates held North Texas to just 39.6 percent shooting, its best defensive effort in league play this season, but shot just 38.5 percent themselves. White and Williams, who scored 15 points for East Carolina (13-13, 2-9), combined to score 32 points and go 13-of-25 from the field. The rest of the Pirates scored just 19 points on 7-of-27 shooting.
"We played well enough to win defensively, we just didn't get the offensive support we needed," Lebo said. "They took Akeem completely out using the zone. They face guarded him everywhere and its very difficult to get open shots. The open opportunities we did get was because Akeem was on the floor and they way they defended us."
The Mean Green held Richmond to just six points on 2-of-9 shooting beyond the arc, while Paris Roberts-Campbell was shut out of the scoring column for the first time in 56 career starts.
Despite being held to just a pair of 3-pointers, that was enough for Richmond to move into a tie for 20th on the NCAA's all-time list with 378. It also gave him 117 for the year, which allowed him to gain sole possession of fifth-place on the C-USA single-season charts.
Vertrail Vaughns led the Eagles (12-13, 3-8) with 13 points, eight of which came during a 12-2 run to push his team out to a 20-14 lead with 9:26 left in the first half. Vaughns scored the final eight points of the spurt after T.J. Taylor and Brandon Walton scored two points each.
The Pirates battled back to take a 27-26 lead on a Michael Zangari free throw, but fell behind again 20 seconds later as Kelvin Gaines scored inside to give the Mean Green a 28-27 halftime lead. North Texas never trailed again.