Nov. 30, 2013
East Carolina returns home for the first time in 17 days Sunday to host instate rival UNC Wilmington at 5 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
Sunday's game against the Seahawks is the first of a four-game home-and-home series. UNCW hold a 33-27 all-time lead in the series, but ECU has an 18-12 advantage over the Seahawks at Minges Coliseum.
UNCW is the third of seven ECU opponents that are a part of the 17-member University of North Carolina system this season (UNCG, UNC Asheville, Fayetteville State, North Carolina A&T, NC State, Charlotte).
The UNCW game marks the beginning of a four-game four homestand for ECU. The Pirates will play five of their final seven non-conference games at home.
East Carolina is 1-2 against Buzz Peterson coached teams. The Pirates defeated Peterson's Appalachian State squad in 1996 then lost to the Mountaineers in `98 and `99.
ECU is 2-0 at home this season with wins over N.C. Wesleyan (97-51) and Chowan (95-45). The Pirates have won eight in a row at home dating back to last season.
ECU and UNCW share four common opponents this season: UNC Asheville, Campbell, Marshall and Old Dominion.
ECU senior Akeem Richmond had as many 3s by himself through seven games as UNCW did as a team (28) in eight games. The Seahawks have made a total of 32 3-pointers this season, averaging 3.6 per game. The Pirates rank 19th nationally in 3-pointers made with an average of 9.0.
East Carolina has had four or more players score double figures in six of the first seven games. Six players scored double digits versus Chowan with five scoring double figures against UNCG and UNC Asheville.
The Pirates have scored over 70 points in each of their first seven games for the first time since the 1974-75 season. Their 599 total points through seven games is the second-most in school history.
East Carolina ranks 31st in the nation in scoring, while UNCW ranks 283rd. The Seahawks have been held under 70 points four times.
Sophomore Marshall Guilmette has missed the previous two games due to a knee injury. His status for the game is undetermined.
The Pirates have a very balanced scoring attack with seven players averaging more than 7.0 points per game. The sophomore threesome of Marshall Guilmette, Prince Williams and Michael Zangari is averaging 22.3 ppg with the junior class of Paris Roberts-Campbell, Francis Edosomwan and Antonio Robinson averaging 22.0 points per contest followed by the freshman trio of Greg Alexander, Brandan Stith and Caleb White at 21.0 ppg. The senior duo of Akeem Richmond and Petar Torlak is averaging 20.2 ppg.
UNC Wilmington leads the all-time series with the Priates, 33-27. The two teams have split their past four meetings since ECU left the CAA following the conclusion of the 2000-01 season.
East Carolina has compiled an 18-12 record at Minges Coliseum against the Seahawks. The Pirates are 6-4 in their last 10 home against UNCW.
The teams last met on Dec. 3, 2008 at Trask Coliseum in Wilmington with ECU ending an 11-game losing streak on the Seahawks' home court with a 99-85 victory.
Lebo Versus Fellow UNC Alums
ECU head coach Jeff Lebo is 7-2 against his fellow University of North Carolina alums since coming to Greenville. Among those victories include three wins over UNCG Head Coach Wes Miller (`07), two against Appalachian State coach Jason Capel (`02), with one victory each against SMU coaches Matt Doherty (`84) and Larry Brown (`63). One of his two losses also came to Doherty, while the other was against his alma mater coached by Roy Williams (`72). Sunday's match-up against UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson (`86) will be the first between the former UNC guards.
Pirates Go 3-1 In NIT Tip-Off
East Carolina finished the NIT Season Tip-Off (aka Preseason NIT) with an overall record of 3-1, winning three games on a neutral court. The Pirates opened the tournament with a 76-74 win over Norfolk State, rallying from 17 down with nine minutes to play. Paris Roberts-Campbell dropped in a career-high 22 points, scoring nine of the Pirates' final 11 points to advance to the East Region Championship game.
In the regional title game against No. 6 Duke, ECU fought valiantly but came up nine points short in a 83-74 loss. The Pirates trailed by only three, 73-70, with three minutes left but were not able to tie or go ahead. Prince Williams led the Pirates with 15 points.
The Pirates were then sent to Rhode Island to play McNeese State and UNC Asheville in the Consolation Round. ECU rolled to a 91-62 win over McNeese before hanging on for an 81-70 win over the Bulldogs. Akeem Richmond had 25 against McNeese, while Roberts-Campbell led ECU with 20 versus Asheville.
Off To A Winning Start
For the second consecutive season, East Carolina is off to a 6-1 start under coach Jeff Lebo. It's the third time in his head coaching career that Lebo has had one of his teams start 6-1. Each of his previous two teams won 20 games (2002-03 Chattanooga 21 wins, 2012-13 East Carolina 23 wins).
This is just the sixth time in 50 years that the Pirates have won six of their first seven games. However, before last season the only time ECU had gotten off to a 6-1 start and finished with a winning record was the 1995-96 season when it finished 17-11 under coach Joe Dooley.
The Pirates have won nearly 70 percent of their games against non-Conference USA opponents since the start of the 2010-11 season. East Carolina is 37-16 against foes outside its league under coach Lebo. The Pirates have won 11 of their last 12 non-conference games.