GAME NOTES: The East Carolina Pirates attempt to string back-to-back wins
together on Saturday when they welcome Texas-El Paso for a Conference USA bout
at Minges Coliseum.
East Carolina bounced back from an ugly loss to Marshall in its previous game
to beat UAB, 91-85, for its 1,000th win in school history. Ty Armstrong had a
double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead six players in double
figures, as the Pirates won for the third time in their last four tries.
Maurice Kemp added 17 points, Miguel Paul had 12 points and a career-high 14
assists, Akeem Richmond chipped in 12 points off the bench and Robert Sampson
contributed 10 points for East Carolina, which had managed a mere 56 points in
its loss to Marshall last Saturday.
UTEP, meanwhile, will also be trying to stay in the win column, as it
rebounded from a loss to Tulsa to get past SMU, 63-54. Jacques Streeter led
all scorers with 18 points, while Konner Tucker added 12 points for the
Miners, who have won four of their last five.
El Paso holds a 5-2 all-time edge in the series after beating the Pirates last
The Pirates are the highest scoring team in the conference (78.2 ppg). That
scoring average is also among the top 25 marks in the country as well. Ball
movement has been the key for East Carolina which has handed out the seventh-
most assists nationally (17.5 pg). Kemp (17.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.4 apg) is the
leading scorer in the conference and the top option for the Pirates. The 6-
foot-8 forward is also a more than capable rebounder and a solid passer out of
the frontcourt. Paul (12.8 ppg, 6.2 apg) has led the team's impressive
distribution efforts as the second leading assist-man in the conference.
The Miners shot 54.5 percent in the first half in the win over SMU, including
70 percent (7-for-10) from three-point territory. Streeter was the driving
force, as he nailed all five of his shots from beyond the arc. He didn't take
a shot in the second half, but went to the line twice to cap his best
performance while at the school.
Whereas the Pirates do not have a potent outside shooting presence, the Miners
can lean on Tucker (12.6 ppg), who is shooting at a marksman-like 51.1-percent
clip from beyond the arc (26-of-51) in 10 games since returning from a broken
hand. Julian Washburn is next in line with 12.2 ppg, followed by John
Bohannon, who is shooting a team-best 60 percent from the floor while
averaging 10.4 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds. However, after eclipsing
70 points in each of their previous two outings, the Miners have averaged 52.5
ppg in their last two times outings.
Neither of these teams are going to challenge for a C-USA title this season,
but it should be an entertaining matchup anyway. Provided the Pirates can slow
down Tucker, they should emerge with a home win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: East Carolina 74, UTEP 63
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