March 12, 2014
SETTING THE SCENE
The No. 12 seed East Carolina faces fifth-seeded and tournament host UTEP in the second round of the 2014 Conference USA Championship Wednesday at 6 p.m. MDT at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. This is the second consecutive season in which the Pirates are facing the host team during the tournament. Lat season. ECU faced Tulsa in the quarterfinals at the the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
The winner advances to take on No. 4 seed Southern Miss on Thursday at 6 p.m. MDT.
The Pirates lost to UTEP, 58-47, earlier this in Greenville, N.C. ECU senior Akeem Richmond paced the Pirates with 20 points, making 6-of-10 3s. Paris Roberts-Campbell added 12 points in the loss.
FINAL C-USA TOURNAMENT
East Carolina is competing in its final Conference USA Championship. The Pirates are 4-10 all-time in the tournament. All four of those wins have come in the last four years under coach Jeff Lebo.
ECU's best tournament run came three years ago at the Don Haskins Arena in El Paso. As the No. 8 seed, ECU defeated ninth-seeded UCF in the first round and followed that by knocking out top-seeded UAB in the quarterfinals. The run ended the next night against Memphis in the semifinals.
The Pirates are 3-0 in "First Round" C-USA tournament games under coach Jeff Lebo. ECU defeated UCF in the first round in 2011, Rice in 2012 and UTSA this year. Last year, after receiving a first round bye, the Pirates fell to Tulsa in the quarterfinals.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Scoring: While the Pirates have a better overall scoring average, UTEP (69.2) averaged 6.4 more points per C-USA game than ECU (62.8). The Miners surrendered just 61.3 ppg during league play, while ECU allowed its opponents to score an average of 67.4 ppg.
Field Goal Percentage: UTEP had the best shooting team and best field goal percent defensive team in the conference, both overall and league games only. ECU ranked in the bottom fourth in field goal percent defense, both overall and in C-USA play.
3-Point Shooting: The Pirates have the top 3-point shooting team in the league at 36.9 percent, while the Miners rank first in 3-point field goal percent defense at 28.8 percent. ECU averages 8.5 3s per game compared to 4.5 by UTEP.
Free Throws: East Carolina and UTEP are among the top free throw shooting teams in C-USA. The Pirates lead the league at 71.4 percent with UTEP shooting 68.6 percent, fifth-best in the league.
Rebounding: UTEP out-rebounded its C-USA opponents by 2.8, while the Pirates were out-rebounded by an average of 5.6 per game. The Miners won the battle of the boards 42-17 in the first meeting between the two this season. UTEP grabbed 16 offensive rebounds leading to 22 points.
A WIN WOULD...
Assure the Pirates of their second consecutive winning season and give ECU its seventh 18-win season in school history. The Pirates haven't had consecutive non-losing seasons since having four straight winning seasons from 1994-97.
Put East Carolina into the C-USA quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season and mark just the second time that ECU has won two games at the C-USA Championship tournament.
Be the Pirates' first over UTEP at the Don Haskins Center and snap a three-game losing streak to the Miners.
OTHER THINGS TO WATCH FOR
Senior Akeem Richmond is four 3-pointers shy of moving into sole possession of seventh place on the NCAA Division I Career 3-point field goals made list. He's currently tied for ninth with 411. He is two back of Virginia's Curtis Staples for eighth and three behind Davidson's Stephen Curry.
With 150 made 3s this season, Richmond is 12 shy of Curry's single-season record of 162 set during the 2007-08 season.
Paris Roberts-Campbell is three assists away from joining Prince Williams as the only pair of players to distribute 100 assists in the same season. Williams leads the team with 115 this year.
East Carolina is two 3-pointers shy of setting a new team record for 3s in a season. The record of 274 was established last season. ECU has made 273 this year entering the UTEP game.