Dec. 18, 2013
Setting The Scene
East Carolina welcomes former Southern Conference rival VMI to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Thursday night at 7 p.m. It'll be the first meeting between the two schools since 1977.
Thursday's game marks the conclusion of a five-game homestand. ECU has won the last three games on this homestand. VMI enters Thursday's game winners of its last two games.
The Pirates are 5-1 at home this season and 43-17 under coach Jeff Lebo since 2010. The Keydets are 0-6 on the road this season.
Both teams rank among the NCAA leaders in a variety of 3-point shooting categories. VMI leads the nation in 3-point field goals attempts (320), while ECU is 24th (244). The Keydets have made 99 3s and are averaging 9.9 3s per game, both sixth best in the country. The Pirates are making 8.5 per game (28th) and have tallied 93 made treys (14th).
In three of its four loss this season, VMI has been held to 70 or fewer points and shot less than 40 percent. The Pirates have been held under 70 and less than 40 percent shooting just once this season, resulting in a 70-68 loss to UNC Wilmington.
VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom served as an assistant coach at Western Carolina University with current East Carolina Director of Athletics Jeff Compher overseeing the Catamounts' athletic program.
Since departing the Southern Conference at the end of the 1976-77 season, ECU has played six of the other nine insitutions that were a part of the league that season. However, the Pirates have yet to play The Citadel or Davidson since leaving the conference with this being the first game against VMI in 36 years.
Last Time Out
ECU is looking to start the season 10-2 for the first time since 2002-03.
Akeem Richmond and Paris Roberts-Campbell each scored 21 points to power East Carolina to an 84-71 win over North Carolina A&T Saturday night.
The Pirates, coming off a week-long break for final exams, built a 17-point lead in the first half behind Richmond's 15-point effort. Roberts-Campbell had 15 of his points in the second half to help seal the win.
Caleb White contributed 14 points for East Carolina. Prince Williams had a dozen points off the bench and Michael Zangari added another 10.
The Pirates shot 50 percent from the field (24 for 48), which offset NC A&T's 39-31 edge on the boards.
East Carolina Quick Notes
In the most recent unofficial NCAA statistics (through games played Dec. 16), senior Akeem Richmond ranks second in Division I with 46 3-point field goals made. He ranks second in 3-point field goals per game (4.18) and total 3-point field goal attempts (120). Oakland's Travis Bader leads the NCAA with 48 made 3s this season.
Freshman Brandan Stith ranks second among all NCAA Division I freshmen in rebounds per game (10.2) and total rebounds (112) behind Kentucky's Julius Randle. Stith is No. 2in C-USA in rebounds per game and is fifth nationally in total rebounds.
The Pirates have outscored their opponents by 85 points at the free throw line this season (235-150) and taken 129 more attempts (329-216).
East Carolina leads Conference USA in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3), 3-point field goal percentage (.377) and free throw percentage (.712).
East Carolina leads the all-time series with VMI, 19-8. The two teams haven't met since 1977 when VMI eliminated the Pirates from the Southern Conference Tournament with an 88-77 win in Roanoke, Va.
The Pirates are looking to score their first win over the Keydets since 1975. VMI has won the last five meetings in the series.
A Look Ahead
East Carolina will be at instate rival NC State on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 12 p.m. The Pirates have never won on the Wolfpack's turf, losing all previous 18 meetings in the capital city.
After Saturday's game, the Pirates will have eight days off before they play again Dec. 29, hosting Georgia State. ECU knocked off the Panthers in Atlanta last season, 62-53.