Dec. 9, 2005
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Tip: 7 p.m.
Radio: Pirate Sports Network
ECU Hosts Cross-State Foe Western Carolina Saturday
East Carolina will look to snap a two-game losing streak Saturday night when it hosts cross-state rival Western Carolina inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
"Voice of the Pirates" Jeff Charles and Si Seymour will call the game along the 18-station Pirate Sports Radio Network and over the internet at www.ecupirates.com.
East Carolina and Western Carolina are both coming off losses in their previous games. The Pirates fell victim to UNC Greensboro on Tuesday night, while the Catamounts suffered a 30-point setback at Maryland on Wednesday.
ECU put four players in double figures against UNC Greensboro, but couldn't withstand UNCG's eight second half 3s and 63 percent shooting from the field. Freshman Sam Hinnant led the Pirates with 18 points, while junior Courtney Captain added 13 points. Corey Rouse and Tom Hammonds netted 11 points in the loss.
Western Carolina had its recent three-game win streak stopped by Maryland Wednesday. The Catamounts only trailed by four at halftime, 39-35, but shot just 31 percent from the field after the break and were out-scored 48-22. Jared Outing led the Catamounts with 12 points, while Antonio Russell added 11.
Saturday's game will be the 40th meeting between the Pirates and Catamounts in a series that dates back to the 1930s, when both schools were Teachers Colleges. It'll be just the fourth meeting between the two since 1994. Last year's game marked the renewal of the rivalry after a 10-year absence.
Last Game Before Exams
Saturday's game will be the Pirates last game for eight days as they'll be off all next week for final exams. East Carolina will return to action on Sunday, December 18, at Winthrop. Game time is slated 3 p.m.
UNCG LeftoversEast Carolina used a different starting lineup for the first time this season. Jonathan Hart started in place of Tyronne Beale with Captain, Hinnant, McNeil and Rouse each remaining in the first five. It was Hart's fourth career start.
Freshman Sam Hinnant led the Pirates in scoring for the second time this season with 18 points. He also handed out eight assists after distributing just five helpers in the first five games.
ECU made a season-high nine three-point field goals, its most since making nine in the 2004-05 opener versus Pepperdine.
ECU committed a season-low 11 turnovers.
Sophomore Tom Hammonds came off the bench to score a season-high 11 points and drain a trio of three-point baskets.
Senior Mike Castro came off the bench to score a season-high six. The most points he scored in any previous game was three.
Final Home Game Before Christmas
Saturday's game against Western Carolina will be ECU's final home game before Christmas. The Pirates have two road games before the break: at Winthrop (Dec. 18), and at Toledo (Dec. 21). East Carolina will return home to play two games during the semester break(Limestone on Dec. 28 and UNC Wilmington on Dec. 31) before the 2006 spring semester begins on Friday, January 6.
Toledo Game Time Changed
The Pirates game with Toledo on Dec. 21 has been changed from a 7 p.m. start to a 6 p.m. tip-off to avoid conflict with the UT football team's appearance in the GMAC Bowl which will be televised on ESPN at 8:00 p.m.
Despite losing back to back non-conference home games, East Carolina still has a winning percentage of 76.3 percent in non-conference home games since the 1999-2000 season. The Pirates are 29-9 inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum over the past six years and have posted a winning record at home in 16 of the last 17 seasons.
Ingram Eligible Next Game
East Carolina sophomore Jeremy Ingram will finally be able to don an ECU jersey for the first time on December 18 against Winthrop. The Kinston native transferred to ECU prior to the start of the 2005 spring semester from Wake Forest.
Ingram has been practicing with the team since January, but has been unable to compete due to NCAA rules.
Ingram played one and one-half seasons at Wake Forest, where he saw action in eight games and averaged 1.6 points in 7.4 minutes of action. Ingram's last appearance in a college game was January 31, 2004 against Virginia.
He was a teammate of senior Corey Rouse at Kinston High School.
Attention 3-Point Shooters
After ranking last in Conference USA in three-point field goal percentage and three-pointers made per game last season, ECU has climbed out of the cellar in both categories.
The Pirates rank fourth in the conference in three-point field goal shooting and sixth in three-pointers made per game. ECU is averaging 6.00 made 3s per game compared to 4.28 last season. ECU is also shooting a higher percentage compared to a season ago. The Pirates are connecting on 34.3 percent of its long distance calls (36-of-105), compared to 29.1 percent last season.
Courtney Captain, Sam Hinnant and Tom Hammonds all ranks among the league leaders in 3s made per game. Captain is averaging 2.17 made 3s per game, while Hinnant is draining 2.00 and Hammonds is making 1.33. Hammonds is shooting 42.1 percent from behind the arc.
Seeing Double Figures
East Carolina senior forward Corey Rouse recorded four consecutive double-doubles to start the season and is averaging a double-double through six games with 17 points and 11 rebounds per game.
As a junior he ended the season by averaging a double-double with over 10 points and 10 rebounds per game. He tallied 11 double-doubles during the year, including four in-a-row midway through the season. 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.
The Book On Western Carolina
Western Carolina returns eight lettermen, including four starters (Berghoefer, Hopkins, Russell, Greathouse) from last year's team.
Larry Hunter is in his first year as head coach at WCU after spending the past four years as an assistant coach at NC State. Hunter has won more than 500 games as a collegiate head coach.
The Catamounts have an overall record of 5-6, but are 2-6 against Division I opponents. WCU is 0-3 on the road this season.
Sophomore Antonio Russell is the only player to average double figures scoring. He leads the team with a 15 points per game average. He has led the team in scoring seven times
Senior David Berghoefer leads the Catamounts in rebounding with 5.6 boards per game.
Western Carolina is averaging 67.7 points, while yielding just 63.5 per game.
The Catamounts have been out-rebounded by 6-of-11 opponents this season.
The Series HistoryEast Carolina holds a 25-14 advantage in the all-time series.
Western Carolina defeated ECU in Cullowhee last season, 77-72 in overtime.
The Pirates are 15-3 all-time at home against the Catamounts.
East Carolina has won each of the past nine meetings in Greenville against WCU.
East Carolina has won 11 of the last 13 meetings.
The teams played for the first time during the 1937-38 season with East Carolina claiming two victories (41-31 and 33-28).
ECU-WCU ConnectionsECU coach Ricky Stokes and WCU coach Larry Hunter are each in their first seasons with their respective teams.
Neither Stokes or Hunter has coached against the other as a head coach. The two recently coached against one another as assistant coaches during the 2003-04 season. South Carolina defeated NC State in Columbia, 58-55.
ECU associate head coach Mack McCarthy posted a record of 20-6 against WCU during his 12 years as head coach at Chattanooga.
WCU radio color analyst Steve White has a son who is a sophomore at ECU.
ECU associate director of media relations Jody Jones served as SID as Western Carolina from July 1999 - October 2000.
Last Time We Met...
Kyle Greathouse grabbed a rebound of his own missed lay-up in overtime and put it in for the go-ahead basket with 3:13 left as Western Carolina beat cross-state rival East Carolina 77-72 on Tuesday, December 7, 2004.
Greathouse scored six points in overtime for the Catamounts while going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. He had just two points and missed all five of his shots from the field during regulation.
East Carolina led 59-54 after a dunk by the Pirates' Corey Rouse before Corey Muirhead of Western Carolina scored 6 points in an 8-3 run to tie the score at 62 with 3:01 remaining. The teams exchanged a pair of free-throws and then both went scoreless over the final 2:32 to end regulation tied at 64.
Muirhead scored 19 to lead the Catamounts, while David Berghoeffer had 18 points and 13 boards.
Moussa Badiane led the Pirates with 17 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Mike Cook added 16 points and six rebounds.
Sam I Am
Freshman guard Sam Hinnant has wasted little time demonstrating his shooting ability this season. He is shooting over 33 percent from three-point range and ranks among the league leaders in 3s per game and free throw percentage. The Charlotte native is averaging 2.0 made 3s per contest and shooting 81.2 percent at the charity stripe.
Through six games this season, he is averaging 12.5 points per game and has topped 15 points on three occasions. Hinnant has made at least one three every game he's played and made multiple 3s in four games, including three in each of the first two games of his career.
Last time out against UNC Greensboro, Hinnant displayed his ability to get his teammates involved, distributing eight assists.
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 (11.0) and ranks fourth in the conference in scoring (17.0).
The 6-8 Rouse is shooting 58.7 percent from the field, bolstered by 12 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 (11th) and steals (9th).
Junior point guard Japhet McNeil currently ranks third in Conference USA with a 7.17 assists per game average. He handed out double digit assists during the first two games of the season and has recorded 9+ assists in three of the six games. His assist/turnover ratio also ranks as eighth best in the league.
He currently occupies fifth place on the school's all-time lists for assists and fourth on the steals chart.
McNeil has accumulated 262 helpers during his career and needs eight 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.
Tuesday against UNC Greensboro, McNeil recorded one steal to brings his career total to 114. He is one of just five players in school history to record 100 steals. McNeil ranks third in the league in steals with 3.00 per game.
Junior college transfer Courtney Captain has quickly shown why he was one of the most sought after JUCO guards from Texas last season. He currently ranks third on the team in scoring, while leading the squad in three-point field goals made (13) and free throw percentage (.909).
Captain has made a three in all six games and ranks sixth in Conference USA in three-point field goals per game (2.17). His 36.1 percent shooting from behind the arc sits just outside the league leaders.
He has scored double figures in three of the last four games and is coming off a season-best 13-point performance against UNC Greensboro.
Winthrop is off to a 4-1 start this season and returns all five starters from last season's Big South championship team that finished 27-6 and lost to Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.