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ECU downs Evansville to advance to CIT final

Posted March 30, 2013

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— East Carolina had been to Division I postseason play four times prior to 2013 and never won a game.

The Pirates evened up their postseason ledger and earned their fourth straight win Saturday night with an 81-58 victory over Evansville in the CIT semifinals to advance to Tuesday night's championship game.

ECU will play at the winner of the semifinal game between Northern Iowa and Weber State. The CBS Sports Network will televise the game at 8 p.m. ET.

The Pirates (23-12) had three players post a double-double led by senior Maurice Kemp, who scored 20 points for the eighth-consecutive game. Kemp finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, Robert Sampson added 13 and 11, while Miguel Paul scored 19 points and handed out 11 assists. Ty Armstrong also scored double figures, netting 17 points.

Paul distributed his 228, 229 and 230th assists of his career to break Brock Young's ECU single-season record of 227.

"That's maybe the best we've played all year. We played terrific tonight. We had a lot of energy. Defensively we were alert, and did a great job at all spots.

Colt Ryan, who ranked 13th in the nation in scoring with 20.4 points per game, was limited to just 12 points by the ECU defense. Ryan was just 3 of 10 from the floor, including 0 for 4 behind the arc.

"We made it really tough on Ryan tonight," Lebo said. "Paris (Roberts-Campbell) was terrific. I thought he was outstanding, and he was exhausted at the end of the game. Two times during the game he gave me a tired signal from having to defend him."

Paul ignited the sell-out crowd by drilling a 3 to open the game as the Pirates scored eight of the game's first 10 points.

The Purple Aces (21-15) pulled within one at 9-8 and then East Carolina flexed its muscle. The Pirates went on a 22-7 run over a 7:19 stretch to take a 16-point lead, 31-15.

Sampson started the run with a dunk then Kemp scored six straight points forcing UE to call timeout. Paul nailed back-to-back 3s out of the timeout before capping the run with a pair of free throws.

The Pirates limited Evansville to 25.6 percent shooting in the opening half, while connecting on 50 percent of their field goal attempts en route to a 40-26 halftime lead.

The lead grew to 20 inside the first three minutes of the second half and then ballooned to 25 on a dunk worthy of ESPN SportsCenter's Top Plays by Kemp, who threw down over 6-foot-10 Egidijus Mockevicius, sending Pirate fans into a frenzy and Twitter a buzz.

Evansville made a run to get within 16 with 5:41 left, but the Pirates scored nine unanswered to thwart any comeback the Aces may have had in mind.

ECU finished the game shooting 55.4 percent from the floor, it second-best shooting percentage of the season, while holding the Aces to just 31.8 percent.

While its 3-point attempts weren't falling, the Pirates used their size and strength to score 48 points in the paint along with their speed and quickness to convert nine UE turnovers into 20 points.

21 Comments

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  • tcoutouzis Apr 1, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Wow! I am talking to a 3 year old. Tell your mommy and daddy that it is not nice to troll on the internet.

  • PirateGrad2009 Apr 1, 2013

    You know, if I was a NC State troll, I too would feel the need to try and put down ECU's basketball program for their ongoing success under Coach Lebo, heck I'd probably troll everywhere to ease the sting that is coming next season. I mean, c'mon guys, next year y'all have Pitt, Notre Dame, AND Syracuse coming to play. That pretty much puts your program in the 5th place behind UNC, Duke, Syracuse, and Notre Dame with Miami maybe pushing you back to the 6th spot. This is the reality of your situation going forward and to make matters worse, Louisville is coming too. So I totally understand the negative posts and if it makes y'all feel better about the letdown of your lofty expectations, then okay.
    With that said, GO PIRATES!

  • JohnnyVoodoo Apr 1, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Relax ch ump, i'm just messing around with you East Carolina Community College fans. We always get a good laugh talking about the little Pirates and how they get no respect throughout the state. I actually hope that the school can win this so-called tournament and maybe get a trophy or maybe the team's picture in the newspaper and mentioned on ESPN. Go Pirates! aaaaarrrrr .. *lol*

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Mar 31, 2013

    View quoted thread



    I really couldn't care less either way. I just came here to make a joke. The NIT is a joke, and it's the second-place tournament. There's also the CBI. I really had not heard of the CIT. But I have to think, after all the other teams were selected for all those other tournaments, what could POSSIBLY be left for this one?

    Good luck to ECU basketball. I guess I didn't really think of this as a "first step", because it sounds like they take any leftovers they can get from the other tournaments.

  • tcoutouzis Mar 31, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Our basketball program is on the upswing and you can't stand it. That is your problem. You just want to see ECU athletics fail and we aren't giving you fodder for that. So now it becomes, "It's a third rate tournament". "Or you guys play in a weak conference, etc....." Those are the typical talking points that come from fans that hate on ECU.

    The CIT is called one step at a time. You don't take a program that has put no emphasis on its basketball program since 1954 and expect NCAA tournament births and conference titles immediately. If I remember correctly, our only ACC victory ever in basketball was against NCSU. Not a bright shining moment in Pack basketball lore.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Mar 31, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Let me get this straight. ECU, for once, is good enough to qualify for a third rate tournament, and you bring up one of State's worse years ever as a comparison?

    Sorry, but that's a big FAIL!

  • tcoutouzis Mar 31, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Hold on one second. You guys were turned down by the CIT one year because you were not good enough. I remember Sydney trying to beg you guys in so don't give me that.

    By the way, Wichita St. lost to Evansville twice this year. This is the team we blew out last night.

  • tcoutouzis Mar 31, 2013

    View quoted thread



    What are you, like 10 years old? I am thinking you might be more like a 5 year old.

  • TribalCane60 Mar 31, 2013

    CIT=College Insider Tournament. CollegeInsider.com was founded and launched in 1996. On a side note: Wichita State, going to the Final Four after beating Ohio State last night had eight(8)losses this season. TWO were to Evansville. Meaningless, we all know.

  • JohnnyVoodoo Mar 31, 2013

    I'm still trying to figure out what the heck a CIT tournament is. Is it little ECU's girl's volleyball team that's playing in it? East Carolina College doesn't have a basketball team do they???

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