Men's Basketball Travels To Wofford For Home-And-Home Finale Wednesday

UABSPORTS.COM Corey Rouse had 14 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's win over Wofford.
Corey Rouse had 14 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's win over Wofford.

Nov. 29, 2005

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Four days after defeating Wofford at home in overtime, East Carolina will take its first road trip of the season on Wednesday as it makes the trek to Spartanburg, S.C. to conclude a home-and-home series with its border-state rival. The tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Benjamin Johnson Coliseum on the Wofford campus.

The game can be heard over the internet at or across the 18-station Pirate Sports Radio Network with Jeff Charles and Si Seymour calling the action.

The Pirates' visit to Spartanburg will be their first in nearly 10 years and just its second overall. ECU defeated Wofford in its only other trip to the South Carolina "upstate" area on December 4, 1995, 68-58.

ECU enters Wednesday night's game with an overall record of 2-1 after playing its first three games of the year at home. The Pirates are averaging 76 points per game and are shooting 47.6 percent from the filed after it shot over 50 percent in two of the first three games.

Wofford owns an overall record of 2-3, which includes a 1-0 record at home. The Terriers are averaging 67.6 points per game, while holding their opponents to 58.0 points per contest.

East Carolina owns an all-time record of 3-0 against Wofford, but has lost each of its last two visits to the Palmetto State (Clemson 2004, Coastal Carolina 2002).

Last Time Out: ECU 70, Wofford 68 (overtime)
Japhet McNeil sank two free throws with 20 seconds left in overtime to give ECU a 70-68 win over Wofford. The Terriers' Drew Gibson had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but his three-point try missed. Eric Marshall forced overtime by sinking a three with three seconds left in regulation. Corey Rouse and Tyronne Beale led the Pirates with 14 points each, while Howard Wilkerson and Shane Nichols lead all scorers with 17 points a piece.

Recapping The Wofford Game

  • East Carolina used the starting lineup of junior college transfers Tyronne Beale and Courtney Captain, freshman Sam Hinnant, junior Japhet McNeil and senior Corey Rouse for a third consecutive game and accounted for 55 of ECU's 70 points.
  • Junior Japhet McNeil tallied a career-high six steals, which was the most by an ECU player since Lester Lyons recorded six swipes against Eastern Michigan in 1993.
  • East Carolina snapped a three-game overtime losing streak and a three-game losing streak to Southern Conference opponents.
  • Sophomore Jonathan Hart grabbed six rebounds, which were his most since jerking six against Cincinnati last season.
  • Senior Corey Rouse recorded his third consecutive double-double and 14th of his career.
  • East Carolina improved to 3-0 all-time against Wofford.

    Off To Another Winning Start
    East Carolina has a winning record through its first three games for a sixth consecutive season, posting a record of 2-1 to open the season. The last time ECU had a losing record through three games was 1999-2000, when it opened with losses in road games at Robert Morris and Louisiana-Lafayette and a home win over Wisconsin Green Bay.

    The fourth game of the season has been a stumbling block the previous five years. ECU has one its fourth game of the year only once since the dawn of the new millennium, when it won its first eight games of the 2002-03 season. Losses include: at Saint Louis (2000); at Appalachian State (2001); at George Mason (2003); at Gardner-Webb (2004). Its lone victory during this stretch was at Radford in 2002.

    Road Coaching Debuts
    A victory at Wofford on Wednesday would make coach Ricky Stokes just the second coach in the modern era to win his first game on the road as the Pirates' head coach. Joe Dooley is the only coach to win his first road game beating Fairfield in 1996.

    Eddie Payne, Mike Steele, Charlie Harrison and Dave Odom all lost their first road tests at Duke, while Larry Gillman lost to Indiana (1977) and Dave Patton lost at NC State (1975). Bill Herrion's debut was a road loss to Robert Morris (1999).

    McNeil Moving Up Charts
    Junior point guard Japhet McNeil currently occupies fifth place on the school's all-time for assists and steals. He has tallied 245 assists during his career and needs 25 to surpass Jeff Kelly into fourth place. He distributed double-digit assists in each of the first two games, including a career-high 11 against Gardner-Webb.

    Saturday against Wofford, McNeil recorded six steal to brings his career total to 106, four shy of fourth place. He is one of just five players in school history to record 100 steals.

    Double Vision
    East Carolina senior forward Corey Rouse has double vision through the first three game of the year. He has recorded double figure points and rebounds in every game this year and is averaging almost 21 points (20.7) and 13 rebounds per game. He has tallied 14 career double-doubles, including 11 last season, which ranked as the third most in Conference USA.

    New Weapons
    Junior college transfers Tyronne Beale and Courtney Captain, along with freshman Sam Hinnant have quickly adjusted to Division I basketball. Hinnant (13.0) and Beale (12.3) are both averaging double figures scoring, while Captain is fourth on the team in scoring with 9.7 points.

    Hinnant leads the Pirates in three-point field goals made (7) and three-point field goal percentage (.368). He hit 6-of-13 threes in the first two games and his lone triple against Wofford gave ECU a five-point lead in overtime.

    Beale has scored double figures in each of the last two games, including 21 against Gardner-Webb. After netting just two points in the opener, Beale is averaging 17.5 points the past two games.

    Captain handed out five assists and scored 11 points Saturday against Wofford. Captain ranks second on the team in assists per game (3.6).