March 6, 2012
|East Carolina vs. Rice
March 7, 2012 | 1 p.m. EST
|Watch | Live Stats | Game Notes | Tickets | Gameday Central|
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE GAME
East Carolina enters the 2012 Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship winners of its last two games after losing five straight.
The Pirates are 2-9 all-time at the Conference USA Championship with both of their wins coming last season in El Paso with a first round win over UCF and a quarterfinal round upset of top-seeded UAB.
East Carolina is tied with Memphis and Rice for the league lead in assists per game (14.5). The Pirates are also tied for the conference lead in steals per game (8.0) with Memphis.
The Pirates need one more steal to establish a new school record for most steals in a season. They currently have 233 entering Wednesday's game against Rice.
The Pirates have made 10 3-point field goals five times in Conference USA play this season, including their game against Rice. ECU leads the league in 3-pointers per contests in conference games with 7.4.
In four of the last seven games, East Carolina has held its opponent under its season field goal shooting percentage. The Pirates are 9-5 this year when holding their opponent under its season field goal percentage.
ECU has had four different players lead it in scoring each of the last four games with each scoring over 20 points.
ECU has been a streaky team this season. Three times it has won three or more consecutive games and three times it has lost three or more straight games. The Pirates longest winning streak of the season is five and its longest losing streak is six. The Pirates will be seeking their fourth three-game winning streak of the year.
PIRATES TO WATCH
Senior Darrius Morrow needs 10 points to reach 1,500-point plateau. He ranks fourth all-time in scoring at ECU with 1,490 points.
Junior Miguel Paul leads Conference USA in assists per game (5.8) and total assists (167). Paul ranks third in the league assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0). He currently resides in fourth-place on the school's single-season chart.
Junior Maurice Kemp is coming off his second 20-point game of the season on Saturday, netting 22 points against Tulane. He also grabbed 10 rebounds in the game for his seventh double-double of the year.
Junior Shamarr Bowden suffered a head injury in the final home game of the season against Memphis and did not dress out Saturday at Tulane. He scored a career-high 27 points in his previous game against UAB, making 7-of-11 3-pointers. He is 10-of-16 behind the arc the last three games he's played and ranks among the top five in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage and 3-point field goals made per game.
Junior Erin Straughn has scored just five points since taking an elbow to the face at home against Memphis on Feb. 8. He missed the following game against Marshall (for an unrelated reason) and didn't scored in either of the next three games against UCF, Memphis or UAB.
Sophomore Robert Sampson has made 6-of-10 3-point field goals the last three games. He is 9-of-16 from the floor overall in those games.
Freshman Paris Roberts-Campbell has arguably been the Pirates' best defender the last two games. He has six steals and three blocks, including a career-best four steals at home against Marshall. He also scored a combined 16 points against the Thundering Herd and Green Wave.
East Carolina leads the all-time series, 6-5. The Pirates have on each of the last three meetings in the series, including an 82-68 victory earlier this season.
LAST TIME WE MET
Darrius Morrow scored 16 points and Maurice Kemp had a double-double to help East Carolina to an 82-68 win over Rice earlier this season. Kemp finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds -- five offensive -- for the Pirates. Miguel Paul also had 14 points with a game-high six assists, while Corvonn Gaines and Paris Roberts-Campbell each had 13 points. East Carolina trailed 54-53 with 12:38 left in the second half when Rice's Omar Oraby scored on a layup. But the Owls would never lead again, as the Pirates answered with a 3-pointer by Robert Sampson to take a two-point lead followed by a 3 from Roberts-Campbell. Sampson's 3 ignited an 11-1 run, capped by a tip-in from Kemp, over the next 4:50 to take a nine-point lead. Jarelle Reischel brought the Owls within five, 65-60, with 5:58 to play, but ECU didn't allow its foe to get any closer and only surrendered one more made field goal the rest of the way. And that came with nine seconds remaining in the contest. Roberts-Campbell's lay-up with 1:22 to play gave ECU its first double-digit lead. Paul then sank four straight free throws following a pair of technical fouls against the Owls before the Pirates completed their scoring with a 16-point lead with 23 seconds to play. Dylan Ennis led Rice with 21 points and Tamir Jackson added 17. East Carolina out-rebounded Rice, 39-29, and owned a 36-26 edge in points in the paint. The Pirates were able to score 14 second-chance points, 12 more than its opponent.
A victory over Rice would move the Pirates into the quarterfinal round against No. 2 seed Southern Miss on Thursday at 1 p.m. EST. The quarterfinals will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.