GAME NOTES: Playing for crucial conference tournament seeding, the East
Carolina Pirates pull into Dallas to take on the SMU Mustangs in a Conference
USA matchup at Moody Coliseum.
ECU has alternated wins and losses over the last four games, most recently
grabbing a road victory at Tulsa on Wednesday night. The Pirate are tied with
Tulsa for fifth place in the conference, only a game out of third. The top
five seeds in the C-USA Tournament receive a bye into the quarterfinals.
After falling to Tulane in New Orleans last Saturday, 78-67, the Mustangs have
now dropped three of their last four and six of eight overall. After starting
the season 5-0 at home for the first time since the 2006-07 season, SMU has
gone just 1-5 at Moody Coliseum.
This is the ninth meeting between these two schools with SMU holding a 5-3
series advantage. The Pirates took last year's encounter in Greenville by a
score of 62-43. The Mustangs won on Feb. 2, 2011, 46-41, at Moody Coliseum.
Prior to last season's loss, SMU had won two consecutive games in the series.
The Mustangs hold a 4-3 edge since the schools became members of C-USA.
Maurice Kemp finished with 23 points as the Pirates defeated the Tulsa Golden
Hurricane, 72-63, in a Wednesday night road game. Akeem Richmond chipped in 17
points off the bench for ECU, while Ty Armstrong contributed 13 points, Paris
Campbell tallied 10 points and nine boards, and Miguel Paul dealt 10 assists.
ECU led by 14 points on two separate occasions in the first half, but the
Golden Hurricane managed to narrow the deficit to go into intermission
trailing, 34-29. Tulsa rallied and built a 56-51 lead by the 6:41 mark of the
second half. The Pirates then went on a 10-0 run to take control for good. ECU
shot only 36.7 percent from the floor in the second stanza, but it overcame
the poor showing from the field by converting 13-of-16 attempts at the charity
The second-best scoring team in C-USA, East Carolina averages 76.9 points and
pulls down 37.3 rebounds per game. The Pirates are not as able at the
defensive end, allowing opponents an average of 71.0 ppg. They lead the league
in three categories: assists per game (17.2), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3)
and 3-point field goals per game (7.5). Kemp paces C-USA in scoring, averaging
18.2 ppg, and adds 7.7 rpg for good measure. Paul ranks second in the
conference with 6.7 apg, and tacks on 12.9 ppg. Robert Sampson scores 9.6 ppg
and heads ECU with 9.1 rpg, and Armstrong kicks in with 9.4 ppg off the bench.
Despite every starter scoring in double figures, SMU fell to Tulane, 78-67,
last Saturday. The Green Wave made 46.7 percent from 3-point range, helping
overcome a 31-22 disadvantage in rebounds. SMU knocked down 56.3 percent from
the field, although it was just 2-of-6 from 3-point range. Shawn Williams led
the way with 16 points, Nick Russell added 13, Jalen Jones and Ryan Manuel 12,
and Cannen Cunningham with 10. The Mustangs pulled within 65-62 on Jones'
layup with 3:29 left, but Tulane's Ricky Tarrant responded with consecutive 3-
pointers to seal the victory for the Green Wave.
SMU has had the same starting lineup for every game this season, with Jones
leading the way for the Mustangs with 15.1 ppg and 8.1 rpg. He is joined in
double-figures by fellow starters Russell (14.1 ppg) and Manuel (12.2). All
three rank in the top-20 in the conference in scoring. SMU paces C-USA and
ranks 17th in the nation in free throw percentage (.754). All of SMU's
starters are shooting at least 67 percent from the line: Manuel - .806, Jones
- .765, Williams - .741, Russell - .699, Cunningham - .672. As a team, the
Ponies are averaging 64.3 ppg and giving up 62.0 ppg, while holding opponents
to just 39.1 percent shooting from the field, which is tops in the league.
Although they play strong defense, the Mustangs just don't score enough to win
consistently. Expect the offensive-minded Pirates to overwhelm SMU and
continue their winning ways.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: East Carolina 70, SMU 63
Fox: You could feel it in our dugout UNC head coach Mike Fox said that between Trent Thornton's start and Brian Holberton's home run, the energy in the Tar Heels dugout was high all game in a win over LSU at the College World Series.
Thornton: You want to play teams like that UNC winning pitcher Tuesday Trent Thornton said that getting the start in the College World Series was a dream come true and as a competitor, he wants to throw against the best teams possible.
Unplayable Lies talks US Open Adam Gold and TD Luten talk about Merion as the real star of US Open week. Plus, Phil didn't blow it, Tiger may have and why Justin Rose is a great champion. Also, we look ahead to Rex Hospital Open week at Wakefield.
Internal issues sinking the Heat? Ethan Norof, NBA Assistant Editor for Bleacher Report weighs in on what's gone wrong in the Finals for LeBron and the Heat with The World's Strongest Morning Show on 620 the Buzz.
Green on the money in the Finals North Carolina Central head coach Levelle Moten worked out the Danny Green over the summer. He talks with Adam and Joe about Green's improved shooting, and what Miami needs to do to force a Game 7.