Jan. 14, 2014
SETTING THE SCENE
After suffering an 81-70 setback to Old Dominion in its Conference USA opener Saturday, East Carolina will look to even up its league record against C-USA newcomer Florida Atlantic Thursday night.
The Pirates are playing their first of two games in the Sunshine State over the weekend. After its game at FAU, East Carolina will travel to Miami to take on another league newbie Saturday at FIU.
East Carolina has a 2-2 record on the road this season with wins over UNCG and Campbell and losses to Duke and NC State. FAU owns a 4-2 record at home, which includes a victory over the Pirates' former C-USA and future American rival UCF, 75-64.
ECU's Akeem Richmond (19.6 ppg) and FAU's Pablo Bertone (18.6 ppg) rank one and two in Conference USA in scoring.
Both ECU and FAU suffered non-conference losses at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Owls fell 97-64 to the host Blue Devils, while the Pirates came up nine points short in the NIT Regional Final, 83-74.
The Pirates have lost three of their last four games entering Thursday night's contest. In its last four games, East Carolina has been held under 80 points three times and allowed more than 80 three times. Five players are averaging double figures scoring in those games, led by Richmond with 23.8 ppg.
ECU opponents have shot over 50 percent from the field in four of the last five games after allowing its foes to shoot 50 percent only once in the first 11 games.
At least one ECU player has scored 20 points in six straight games. Akeem Richmond has done it three times, Paris Roberts-Campbell twice with Caleb White and Prince Williams turning the trick once each.
ECU used more than seven players for the first time in six games Saturday night with nine players seeing action, eight of which played 11 or more minutes.
Akeem Richmond continues to lead the NCAA in 3-point field goals per game with 4.69. He's made four or more in each of the last four games.
The only previous meeting between East Carolina and Florida Atlantic came on Jan. 21, 1993 with the Pirates recording a 74-60 victory at Minges Coliseum. Lester Lyons led ECU with 19 points.
East Carolina will take on FIU for the first time Saturday afternoon at U.S. Century Bank Arena in Miami. It'll be the second straight season in which the Pirates have faced FIU coach Anthony Evans, who was the head coach at Norfolk State last year. ECU defeated Evans' NSU Spartans in Greenville, 74-63.
East Carolina will be back home for a pair of games next week, hosting Tulane on Thursday (Jan. 23) and Southern Miss on Saturday (Jan. 25). Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. starts.