Nov. 24, 2013
|East Carolina vs. McNeese State
Nov. 25, 2013 | 5 p.m. EST
Thomas M. Ryan Center | Kingston, R.I.
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East Carolina continues play in the NIT Season Tip-Off Monday against McNeese State in the Consolation Round being played at the Thomas M. Ryan Center on the campus of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.
Monday's game will be the first meeting between East Carolina and McNeese State. It'll also be just the Pirates' third meeting against a current member of the Southland Conference. ECU defeated Oral Roberts in 1980 and Southeastern Louisiana in 1992.
This marks the second straight season in which the Pirates have visited New England after playing at Massachusetts last season. Prior to last season's game in Amherst, ECU had not played a game in New England since playing at Fairfield (Conn.) in 1999.
Games in the NIT Season Tip-Off Consolation Round will serve as the Pirates' only games outside the state of North Carolina until Conference USA play begins.
The Pirates suffered their first defeat of the season this past Tuesday night, losing at No. 6 Duke, 83-74. The loss ended their nine-game winning streak dating back to last season.
ECU senior Akeem Richmond is returning to Rhode Island for the first time since transferring from URI following the 2010-11 season. Richmond averaged 8.9 points per game during his two years with the Rams, making 156 3-pointers in 70 career games at URI.
Richmond is one of two Pirates currently averaging double figures. He leads the team in scoring with 15.8 ppg, followed by junior Paris Roberts-Campbell with 15.0 ppg. ECU has five additional players averaging over 7.0 ppg. Richmond is the only player to score double figures in all five games this season.
East Carolina has had four or more players score double figures in four of the first five games.
The Pirates have scored over 70 points in each of their first five games for the first time since 2008.
In its first three games away from home, East Carolina shot a combined 79.1 percent from the free throw line, going 25-of-28 at UNCG, 24-of-38 vs. Norfolk State and 19-of-20 at Duke. Conversely, ECU made just 60.0 percent of its free throw attempts (27-45) during its two home games.
Through five games scoring has been balanced across the four classes. ECU's sophomore quartet of Marshall Guilmette, Peyton Robbins, Prince Williams and Michael Zangari has contributed 112 points. Its trio of juniors (Roberts-Campbell, Francis Edomsomwan, Antonio Robinson) have scored 109 points, while its freshmen threesome (Greg Alexander, Brandan Stith, Caleb White) has netted 107 points. The senior duo of Akeem Richmond and Petar Torlak has combined for 99 points.
For the first time since transferring from Rhode Island to East Carolina, Akeem Richmond returns to the Thomas M. Ryan Center. Richmond played 33 games inside the venue during his two years at URI, scoring double figures in 20 games. He posted 20-point performances here against Lafayette (25), St. Joseph's (21), Charlotte (20) and Fodrham (20).
During his two years playing inside the venue, Richmond was a combined 87-of-233 (.373) behind the arc. As a freshman he made 41-of-117 (.350) of his 3-point attempts at home then made 43.4 percent of his attempts (46-106) as sophomore. He made four or more 3s in a game here 11 times.
Instate Foes Renew Pleasantries Up North
There are approximately 330 miles between Greenville, N.C. and Asheville, N.C., but the Pirates and UNC Asheville Bulldogs will each travel more than twice that distance for their first meeting since 1997 on Tuesday at the Thomas M. Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I.East Carolina University is located approximately 668 miles from Kingston, while UNC Asheville is 858 miles south of URI campus.
The Pirates hold a 4-3 lead over the Bulldogs in the all-time series, which originated during the 1976-77 campaign. The two teams last met during the 1997-98 season with UNCA sweeping the home-and-home series that year.
ECU Head Coach Jeff Lebo has 1-1 career record against UNC Asheville. Both of his previous match ups with the Bulldogs came during his first two seasons at Tennessee Tech.
UNC Asheville is one of two Big South opponents on the Pirates' schedule this season. ECU will also face conference member VMI at home on Dec. 19. The Pirates are 4-3 against BSC opponents the past three years and own an all-time record of 126-84 against current conference members.