Jan. 18, 2014
SETTING THE SCENE
East Carolina will look to end a two-game skid and earn its first Conference USA win of the season Saturday against league newcomer FIU. The Pirates will be looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak since February 2012.
Saturday's game will be the first-ever meeting between the Pirates and Panthers. It's 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 has a 2-3 record on the road this season with wins over UNCG and Campbell and losses to Duke, NC State and FAU. FIU owns a 5-3 record at home, which includes a 61-60 win over Georgia State who defeated the Pirates in Greenville, 89-82.
FIU's Rakeem Buckles (9.3 rpg) and ECU's Brandan Stith (9.1 rpg) rank one and two in Conference USA in rebounds per game.
The Pirates have lost four of their last five games entering Saturday afternoon's contest. In its last five games, East Carolina has been held under 80 points four times and allowed more than 80 three times.
ECU opponents have shot over 50 percent from the field in four of the last six 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 seven straight games. Akeem Richmond has done it four times, Paris Roberts-Campbell twice with Caleb White and Prince Williams turning the trick once each.
ECU has used eight players in each of the last two games after just using seven in the previous five games.
Akeem Richmond continues to lead the NCAA in 3-point field goals per game with 4.76. He's made four or more in each of the last five games.
LEFTOVERS FROM THE FAU GAME
Florida Atlantic outscored East Carolina 22-11 over the final nine minutes to take down the Pirates, 78-67. The Pirates rushed out to a 15-4 lead, but only led by three at halftime, 33-30.
ECU shot just 33.3 percent from the floor in the second half and allowed FAU to connected on 48.3 percent of its shots. The Pirates shot just 29.6 percent (8-27) behind the arc, falling to 2-5 when shooting less than 40 percent from 3 this season.
Akeem Richmond made six 3s and scored 20 points in the Pirates 78-67 loss to Florida Atlantic Thursday. Michael Zangari added 14 and Caleb White had 12. Zangari also grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.
ECU posted season-lows for points (67) and field goal percentage (.368).
The Pirates gave up 15 points off 12 turnovers compared to scoring four points off six FAU miscues.
Richmond moved into third-place on the school's single-season 3-point field goal list with 81. He set the record last season with 105.
Antonio Robinson matched his career-high with nine rebounds. He also had nine boards in two other games.
Zangari played a career-high 29 minutes.
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.
The series with Tulane will continue into next season as the Green Wave will join ECU in the American Athletic Conference next year. It'll be the final conference game for the Pirates against Southern Miss.