Pirates Power Past Buffaloes In Season Opener, 101-45
Nov. 11, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. --- Junior Miguel Paul scored a game-high 19 points in the East Carolina debut to lead six East Carolina players in double figures as the Pirates rolled to a 101-45 season-opening win over Milligan College Friday night inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The victory was the 12th consecutive season-opening victory for ECU and the 101 points marked the first time the Pirates broke the 100-point barrier since a 100-59 win over UMBC on November 25, 2003.
The Pirates rushed to a 8-0 lead 3:13 into the game on 3-pointer and lay-up by Shamarr Bowden, lay-up from Corvonn Gaines and a Robert Sampson free throws. Milligan got on the board at the 16:19 mark on a jumper by Kyle Grisby, only to be answered by back-to-back 3-pointers from Erin Straughn as the Pirates built and 12-point lead, forcing the Buffaloes to take a timeout.
Milligan cut the Pirates' lead to five at 16-11, before ECU scored seven unanswered to push its lead back to double figures. The Pirates outscored the Buffaloes 28-7 over the final 13 minutes of the first half to lead 44-18 at the break. Paul led the way at intermission with 12 points and four assists, while Bowden and Straughn had eight each. The Pirate defense limited the Buffaloes to 30 percent shooting in the opening stanza and forced 13 turnovers (leading to 19 ECU points).
The second half, which began the same way the first half did with Bowden draining a 3, was more of the same as the Pirates methodically extended their lead to 41 in the first three minutes. Paul scored seven straight points following Bowden's basket.
ECU shot a blistering 61.9-percent from behind the arc, connecting on 13-of-21 attempts. Freshman Paris Roberts-Campbell made 4-of-5 3-point attempts, while Bowden was a perfect 3-of-3. Paul and Straughn sank two each.
Of the six players that scored double figures for ECU, five didn't play for the Pirates last season. Junior college transfer Maurice Kemp posted a double-double in his debut with 15 points and 11 rebounds, as did senior Austin Steed who finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Bowden and Roberts-Campbell also scored 11 points apiece, while Straughn netted 10.
The Pirates held a 52-28 rebounding edge over the NAIA Buffaloes, scoring 31 second chance points. They also forced 24 turnovers, which led to 33 points.
Milligan was led by Kyle Grisby's 15 points, while Mickey Woods had 10 points and Cordero Seymour grabbed nine rebounds.
The final margin of 56 was the fifth largest margin of victory in school history and most since defeating Radford by 47, 89-42, during the 2002-03 season.
ECU will next be in action when it returns to action against Campbell on Monday, November 14. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Buies Creek.