East Carolina is making its first appearance in the NIT Tip-Off Monday against the Norfolk State Spartans at approximately 9:30 p.m. at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. The winner will advance to play the winner of the Duke-UNC Asheville game on Tuesday.
The Pirates have won eight straight games dating back to last season, the second longest streak in the nation behind Louisville (19) and one game in front of Baylor (who host Louisiana-Lafayette Sunday). The eight-game winning streak is the longest in school history as a Division I member and its longest since the 1955-56 season.
ECU is looking to open the season 4-0 for the second straight season and for the just the sixth time the 82nd basketball history of the school.
Monday's game against Norfolk State will be the Pirates 20th game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, playing all 19 previous games against Duke without a win. It's their first game in Durham since 1991.
Fast Facts About The Pirates
Senior Akeem Richmond and freshmen Brandan Stith and Caleb White have all scored double figures in each of the first three games. Richmond has led the Pirates in scoring each of the last two games. Stith and White are the first ECU freshmen to net double figures in each of their first career games since Lester Lyons in 1991.
ECU has scored over 80 points in three straight games for the first time under coach Jeff Lebo and opened the season scoring more than 80 points in its first three games since the 1967-68 season.
Richmond and Roberts-Campbell combined to average 45.7 minutes per game last season; the other six returning letterman combined to average 19.7 minutes per game.
Quick Look At Norfolk State
The Spartans are 2-1 on the season with wins over Newberry and Virginia Union. NSU is coming off a 21-12 season and 16-0 record in the MEAC. The Spartans participated in the postseason NIT last season, losing at Virginia.
Norfolk State returns 11 lettermen, including four starters from last year's squad. Two of those returning starters are averaging over 20 points per game: Michael Hawkins (23.7) and Pendarvis Williams (21.0).
Series With Potential Second Round Opponents
The Pirates will face their fourth instate opponent of the year Tuesday night, either Duke or UNC Asheville. A meeting with the Blue Devils would be the first since 1991 and a game against the Bulldogs would be the first between the cross-state rivals since 1997.
ECU and Duke met for 20 times from 1969-91, playing 19 games in Cameron Indoor Stadium and one in Raleigh. The Pirates are 0-20 all-time against the Blue Devils.
ECU Head Coach Jeff Lebo was 5-5 against Duke as a four-year letterman at North Carolina (`1985-89), including a 2-2 record at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Lebo has never matched up with the Blue Devils as a coach. Lebo has a 1-1 career record against UNC Asheville.
East Carolina leads the all-time series with UNC Asheville, 4-3. The Pirates won four of the first five meetings, but the Bulldogs won the last two games, both which were played during the 1997-98 season.
Another 3-0 Start
East Carolina is off to a 3-0 start for the second consecutive season under coach Jeff Lebo, but just the seventh time since 1969 (1969, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2013). Lebo and former coach Bill Herrion are the only Pirate coaches to start multiple seasons 3-0.
A win by the Pirates over Norfolk State Monday night would make Lebo the first coach since ECU joined the ranks of Division I (1964-65) to start multiple seasons 4-0 and the second overall. Howard Porter did it three times in the mid-1950s. Porter's Pirates won their first seven games in 1953, first six in 1954 and first four in 1957.
Offense Rolls On Despite Losses
While the Pirates lost over 70 percent of their scoring from last season, that hasn't been be much an issue through the first three games. ECU has had at least four players score double figures in every game with seven players scoring double figures at least once.
The Pirates have scored over 80 points in each of their first three games for the first time since 1967-68 and has scored the most points through three games since the 1969-70 campaign.
It's the first time that a Lebo coached team has scored 80 points in three straight games since his 2006-07 Auburn team topped 80 points in three straight.