Dec. 2, 2005
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Tip: 7:05 p.m.
Television: WITN-TV 7
Radio: Pirate Sports Radio Network
ECU Looks for Consecutive Road Wins At ODU Saturday
After recording its first true non-conference road victory in nearly three years this past Wednesday against Wofford, East Carolina will attempt to post consecutive road wins as it visits Old Dominion Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The game will be televised throughout eastern North Carolina on WITN-TV 7. "Voice of the Pirates" Jeff Charles and WITN Sports Director Billy Weaver will call the action.
East Carolina is off to its best start in two years, posting a 3-1 mark through the first four games of the season. The Pirates have been led by senior Corey Rouse who is averaging a double-double with 19.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Newcomers Sam Hinnant, Tyronne Beale and Courtney Captain follow Rouse among the team's scoring leaders.
The Monarchs return four starters from last year's CAA Championship team, which pushed Austin Regional champion Michigan State to the limit in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, led by 6-9 senior Alex Loughton. Loughton is averaging 15.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Junior Arnaud Dahi leads Old Dominion in scoring with 16.4 points per game. The Monarchs enter the game with back-to-back victories over Mount. St. Mary's and VMI and own a 4-1 record with its only loss coming to Wisconsin in the finals of the Paradise Jam. Saturday night's contest will be their second home game of the year.
A Quick Look At The Pirates
ECU is off to a 3-1 start for the second time in three years after posting a 66-62 win at Wofford on Wednesday. The Pirates are averaging 73.5 points per game and have shot over 50 percent three times this season. Senior Corey Rouse and freshman Sam Hinnant are both averaging double figures, while three other players are netting at least eight points per game. ECU has held its opponent to less than 42 percent shooting in three of the first four games and owns a +4.8 rebounding margin.
East Carolina starters Tyronne Beale, Corey Rouse, Courtney Captain, Japhet McNeil and Sam Hinnant accounted for 51 points, 19 rebounds and 12 assists.
East Carolina snapped a six-game non-conference road losing streak dating back to December 2002 when it defeated ODU in Norfolk.
The Pirates improved to 4-0 all-time against Wofford.
Junior Japhet McNeil moved into a tie for fourth place on the school's career steals list with 110 swipes.
Senior Corey Rouse recorded his fourth consecutive double-double and 15th of his career.
Freshman Sam Hinnant scored double figures for the third time this season and led ECU in scoring for second time.
Senior Mike Castro grabbed a season-high eight rebounds, second highest total of his career.
ECU ended a brief two-game skid in the "Palmetto State," winning for the first time since beating the Gamecocks in 1998.
Coach Ricky Stokes became just the second Pirate coach in the modern era to win his first ECU road game (Joe Dooley, 1996 at Fairfield).
Off To Another Winning Start
East Carolina is off to a 3-1 start for the second time in three years and has a winning record through four games for the fourth time in six years. The Pirates began the 2001-02 and 2003-04 seasons with a 3-1 mark and opened the 2002-03 campaign with eight straight victories.
Four of the past seven coaches, including Stokes, have begun their initial season with 3-1 marks. Dooley is the only coach of the previous six to record four wins in his first five games.
Seeing Double Figures
East Carolina senior forward Corey Rouse has recorded four consecutive double-doubles to start the season. Rouse recorded four straight double-doubles once last season en route to 11 total. Rouse currently has 15 career double-doubles. His next double-double would give him the second most of any player at ECU over the past 20 years. Erroyl Bing posted 24 double-doubles during his career, while Anton Gil recorded 15.
Should he get his fifth consecutive against Old Dominion on Saturday that would also be the most consecutive by any player over the past two decades.
ECU Winning Board Battles
Despite being an undersized basketball team, East Carolina has out-rebounded each of its first four opponents of the season by an average of 4.8 per game. The Pirates collected nine more boards than Wofford did this past Wednesday, its largest margin of the young season.
Last season, the Pirates finished with a rebounding margin of +3.6, which ranked fifth in Conference USA was second among the 12 teams in the league this season.
After a hard fought 11-point victory in the season opener against North Carolina A&T, each of the Pirates' last three games have been decided by five points or less, including a two-point overtime decision. ECU has a 2-1 record in those games with scoring margin of +1 (208-207).
ECU rallied to cut a 22-point deficit against Gardner-Webb to two and was within three with three seconds left before a pair of GW free throws eliminated the chances of victory.
The Pirates held a seven-point lead with less than a minutes to play in overtime against Wofford, but need two free throws in the final 20 seconds to hold off the Terriers.
Wednesday night in Spartanburg, ECU led by seven with 26 ticks on the clock and again needed free throws in the final seconds to hold off the Terriers, who netted two threes in the last 16 seconds.
Recent Virginia Trips Successful
After making trips to the state of Virginia for ECAC and CAA conference games for almost 20 years and having little success, the Pirates have experienced success recently when visiting its neighbors to the north.
East Carolina is 3-2 in the state of Virginia since it left the CAA to become a member of Conference USA. The Pirates have won two straight games in Norfolk, defeating Old Dominion at the Constant Center in 2002 and Virginia Tech at the same location in 2003. ECU has also recorded wins at Radford, while dropping games at George Mason and Virginia Tech since 2002.
The Book On Old DominionOld Dominion is the defending CAA champion and returns four starters and six lettermen from last year's championship team.
The Monarchs are 4-1 through the first five games of the year with wins over Georgia, Fordham, Mount St. Mary's and VMI. Their only loss was to Wisconsin the finals of the Paradise Jam.
Senior Alex Loughton was the 2005 CAA Player of the Year and CAA Tournament MVP. He ranks second on the team in scoring (15.6) and leads the team in rebounding (8.4).
Junior Arnaud Dahi has the highest scoring average on the team with 16.4 points per game.
The Monarchs have five international players on their team.
Old Dominion is averaging over 75 points per game and has an average margin of victory of +11.4.
Three players are averaging double figures with two others averaging over nine points per game.
The Series History
Old Dominion leads the all-time series, 33-14.
East Carolina is 5-5 against Old Dominion in the last 10 games.
The Pirates are 1-2 against the Monarchs since leaving the CAA.
The first game in the series was played in Greenville on Jan. 14, 1967 (ECU, 90-88).
East Carolina defeated Old Dominion in the quarterfinals of the 1993 CAA Tournament en route to winning its lone CAA title.
Ten of the last 11 games have been decided by five points or less.
East Carolina has won three of the last four meetings in Norfolk.
Most consecutive wins in the series by either team is nine by ODU. ECU's longest winning streak in the series is three games.
ECU freshman Sam Hinnant and ODU senior Isiah Hunter each call Charlotte, N.C. home.
ECU associate coach Mack McCarthy compiled a record of 8-5 against ODU hile the head coach at VCU from 1998-2003.
4ECU head coach Ricky Stokes posted a record of 1-1 against ODU while the head coach at Virginia Tech.
As a player, Stokes led Virginia to a 75-59 win over ODU on Dec. 30, 1982 at the Richmond Coliseum.
Dunk You Very Much
Senior Corey Rouse has gotten his final season off on the right foot and sometimes the left and other times both. Rouse leads C-USA in rebounds per game (12.5) and ranks third in the conference in scoring (19.3).
The 6-8 Rouse is shooting 60.9 percent from the field, bolstered by nine dunks. Six of those nine occurred during his 35-point performance against North Carolina A&T.
He also ranks among the league leaders in field goal percentage (7th), blocked shots (8th) and steals (5th).
Junior point guard Japhet McNeil currently leads Conference USA in assists with an 8.75 per game average. He handed out double digit assists during the first two games of the season and has record 9+ assists in three of the four games. His assist/turnover ratio also ranks as sixth best in the league.
He currently occupies fifth place on the school's all-time lists for assists and steals.
McNeil has aacumulated 254 helpers during his career and needs 16 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. He is on pace to become just the fourth player in school history to reach 300 career helpers.
Wednesday against Wofford, McNeil recorded four steals to brings his career total to 110, tying former Pirate Tim Basham for fourth place. He is one of just five players in school history to record 100 steals.
McNeil is tied for third in the league in steals with 3.00 per game.