East Carolina Downs North Carolina A&T In Stokes' Debut
Nov. 18, 2005
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Senior Corey Rouse set career-highs in both points and rebounds, finishing with 35 points and 17 boards, to lead East Carolina past North Carolina A&T here Friday night, 86-75, in the ECU coaching debut for Ricky Stokes.
Rouse, the top returning double-double performer in Conference USA, didn't waste any time to record his first of the season. He nearly had a double-double at halftime, scoring 14 points and jerking eight boards prior to intermission. Rouse's 35 points is the highest point total for a Pirate since Steve Richardson scored 36 against Navy in 1990.
"We called his number quick and often, and he a turned in a great individual performance," stated Stokes. "I'm so happy for Corey and how he has matured and become a leader."
With the win, the East Carolina (1-0) has now won six straight regular season openers and five straight home openers. The Pirates shot .540 from the field, the team's highest single-game mark since the final regular season game of the 2003-04 campaign.
In addition to Rouse, freshman Sam Hinnant contributed with 19 points in his first career game while newcomer Courtney Captain and sophomore Jonathan Hart each finished with 10. Junior Japhet McNeil just missed recording his first career double-double scoring eight points and handing out 10 assists.
Austin Ewing and Demetrius Guions each scored 16 to lead the Aggies while Jason Willis and Christopher Faison scored 12 and 10 respectively.
"I thought that we played well in the first half," said Stokes. "We had some mental lapses that let A&T stay in the game in the first half. In the second half though, we found our composure."
The Aggies (0-1) jumped out to an early 8-2 lead before ECU went on a 22-7 run to take a 24-15 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the first half. N.C. A&T fought back late in the half and trimmed the Pirates' lead to four at the break, 35-31.
Captain and Hinnant hit back-to-back three-point baskets, pushing the Pirates' lead to eight less than two minutes into second half. Captain hit another three-pointer with 10:08 remaining to give ECU its first double-digit lead, 58-48.
The Pirates return to action Tuesday, Nov. 22 when they host the Gardner-Webb at 7 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum