FACTS & STATS: Site: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum (8,000) -- Greenville,
North Carolina. Television: WITN. Home Record: UCF 9-3, ECU 8-1. Away Record:
UCF 2-1, ECU 1-4. Neutral Record: UCF 0-0, ECU 0-0. Conference Record: UCF
1-0, ECU 0-1. Series Record: UCF leads, 13-5.
GAME NOTES: The East Carolina Pirates are set for their Conference USA home
opener, as they welcome the UCF Knights to Minges Coliseum on Saturday night.
UCF is playing on the road for the first time since Dec. 14, having just
wrapped up a 5-2 homestand. The Knights were in action Wednesday night,
posting a 64-48 win over UAB. They'll now play two straight on the road before
returning to UCF Arena on Jan. 23.
Each of East Carolina's last five victories has been followed up by a loss the
very next game. However, the Pirates have played very well in Greenville with
wins in eight of nine games this season. They enter tonight's tilt looking to
rebound from Wednesday's 67-54 loss at Memphis.
The Knights swept the season series in 2011-12, including an 18-point win over
ECU in Minges Coliseum. UCF leads the all-time series, 13-5.
UCF's victory over UAB earlier this week came by virtue of a relentless
defensive effort, and a bit of luck. UAB, which had made a 3-pointer in 538
straight games dating back to 1996, missed all 23 of its attempts from beyond
the arc. UCF held the Blazers to 26-percent shooting from the floor to
overcome 21 turnovers and win easily. Calvin Newell led the way with 14
points, while Keith Clanton dominated the paint with 12 points, 13 rebounds
and five blocks. Tristan Spurlock rounded out the Knights in double figures
with 12 points. Four players are averaging double figures on the season, led
by Clanton with 16.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per tilt. Isaiah Sykes provides a
solid complement in the low post, averaging 15.0 points and 6.3 rebounds. The
Knights do a good job of using their size to get easy buckets, as they lead C-
USA and rank 14th nationally in field-goal percentage (.492).
ECU boasts its own solid big man in Maurice Kemp, a 52.4-percent shooter from
the floor who averages 17.6 ppg and 8.5 rpg -- both team-highs. Miguel Paul is
next in line with 11.9 ppg, while Robert Sampson (9.9 ppg) and Akeem Richmond
(9.0 ppg) are just under double figures. Richmond, a 43-percent shooter from
beyond the arc, tops the conference with 2.5 threes per game. However, ECU was
held under 60 points for the first time this season against Memphis. The
Pirates fell behind early, as they trailed by 27 late in the first half before
reeling off 21 straight points to cut the deficit to six. Unfortunately, they
were unable to sustain that momentum, and the Tigers eventually staved off the
threat. Kemp and Shamarr Bowden scored 11 apiece in the loss, while Paul and
Sampson each scored 10. For Paul, it was his second straight game in double
The Pirates are very good at distributing the basketball, leading C-USA with
17.5 assists per game. They'll need to continue that style of play if they
hope to knock off the much bigger Pirates.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 69, East Carolina 64