Old Dominion (6-9) at East Carolina (11-4)

The Sports NetworkJanuary 11, 2014 

GAME NOTES: Old Dominion opens its Conference-USA era with a visit to East Carolina on Saturday.

Old Dominion bolted the Colonial Athletic Association for C-USA this season and hopes it can keep pace in the loaded conference. The Monarchs' first test is East Carolina, which has not been in action since upending Campbell, 79-71, on Jan. 2. Akeem Richmond once again led the way with 37 points, while Michael Zangari and Caleb White added 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the win. The Pirates actually trailed at halftime by two, but outscored Campbell in the second half, 42-32, thank to Richmond going off for 24 points after the break.

Richmond has led ECU in scoring in nine of the team's 15 games this season and leads the conference with 20.0 ppg thanks to 71 3-pointers. No other player in the conference has made more than 48 triples this season. Behind Richmond, the Pirates rank among the league leaders in several statistical categories, ranking second in scoring at 84.5 ppg and first in field-goal percentage at 47.7 percent.

Three other ECU players are scoring in double figures. Paris Campbell is putting up 13.7 ppg, White (12.7 ppg) is a point behind that and Prince Williams checks in with 10.3. Brandan Stith is a valuable asset off the bench, as he leads the team with 9.5 rebounds per game.

Old Dominion is also coming off a long break following its 71-66 victory over George Mason last Saturday. Aaron Bacote scored 20 points, Dimitri Batten added 13 and Keenan Palmore and Richard Ross chipped in with 12 apiece in the much-needed victory. The Monarchs had dropped eight of their previous nine games coming into the game and have struggled to put points on the board, scoring a league-low 65.4 ppg.

They do, however, give up just 66.3 ppg and boast a capable scoring threat in Bacote, who is pouring in 18.6 ppg thanks to 43.0 percent shooting. Batten is contributing 11.8 ppg, while Palmore is nearly cracking double digits at 9.9 ppg.

These programs were former CAA rivals, with ODU winning six of the last seven meetings. Things are different this season however, and ECU should flip the script and roll to an easy win behind Richmond.

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