ECU Entertains Memphis On Senior Night
March 2, 2011
The senior class of 2011 can truly leave an indelible mark on the Pirate basketball program before the say goodbye to the Minges Maniacs Wednesday night when East Carolina hosts Memphis at 7 p.m. in the regular-season home finale.
Seniors Jamar Abrams, Jontae Sherrod, Chad Wynn and Brock Young and their underclassmen teammates can clinch the program's first winning season since 1996-97 by scoring ECU's first-ever victory over the Tigers.
The Pirates (15-13, 7-7 Conference USA) posted victories over UTEP and Rice last week after enduring three consecutive losses to improve to .500 in league play, surpassing the program's previous high C-USA win total by two.
They've already clinched their highest C-USA Tournament seed, No .8, in next week's championship, but aren't satisfied.
"They've tasted some success, but I know they would like to taste a little bit more coming down the stretch," Pirate coach Jeff Lebo said. "We're sitting at .500 [7-7] in the league and that's a place we haven't been before, but we're not going to sit and rest on that. Our focus right now is trying to get [win] number eight."
East Carolina is 0-9 all-time against Memphis (21-8, 9-5), who is currently tied for second-place in the league along with Southern Miss, Tulsa and UTEP. The Tigers have lost each of their last two road games and are only 3-4 on the road in league play.
The Tigers are holding their league foes to just 40.9 percent shooting, but are having their own struggles putting the ball in the basket especially on the road. Memphis is shooting just 34.3 percent (34-of-99) in its last two road games and has shot under 40 percent in three of its last four games outside the FedExForum.
ECU held Memphis to just 40.8 percent shooting (20-49) in first meeting between the two back in January which resulted in a three-point Tiger victory, 61-58.
Junior Darrius Morrow had 17 points and eight rebounds against the Tigers, while Abrams added 15. Sherrod, the Pirates' leading score this season (15.33 ppg), played only 15 minutes in the game before fouling out and was limited to just 3-of-7 from the floor.
Morrow ranks second on the team in scoring with 12.0 ppg and Abrams ranks third with 10.4 ppg after raising his average back over double figures with a 25-point performance against UTEP and an 18-point night at Rice last week.
Abrams broke out of a 5-for-21 shooting slump, by drilling 10-of-16 3-point attempts last week en route to earning his first Conference USA Player-of-the-Week Award Monday.
Memphis is led by freshman guard Will Barton's 12.6 points per game. Wesley Witherspoon is the only other player averaging double figures for the Tigers at 10.6 ppg.
The game will be televised live throughout the Southeast on the family of Fox Sports Networks (FSN), including FS Carolinas.