GAME NOTES: Two of the four Conference USA schools tied for last place in the league standings will collide as the East Carolina Pirates take on the North Texas Mean Green at The Super Pit on Saturday.
Jeff Lebo's Pirates lost for the second time in three games on Thursday when they suffered a 76-58 setback at Tulsa. The loss lowered ECU to a 13-12 overall record, including a 2-8 C-USA record. The Pirates have won each of its last two Saturday games, but they have gone just 3-6 on the road during the 2013-14 campaign. ECU has the second highest scoring offense in the C-USA at 75.8 ppg, but it is ranked 13th in the league in scoring defense with an allowance of 72.4 ppg.
North Texas endured its fifth consecutive setback on Thursday as it dropped a 72-62 decision to Old Dominion at the Super Pit. The Mean Green's shortcoming lowered them two games below the .500 mark for the first time this season and left them with an 8-5 home record. Tony Benford's squad has allowed its conference opponents to net 75.4 ppg, which is the second most among C-USA programs. North Texas is in the middle of the pack offensively, scoring 68.9 ppg in league action.
This will be just the third meeting in history between ECU and North Texas on the hardwood. The rivalry has been idle since the 1984-85 campaign and the all-time series is tied with both sides winning once each.
In the Pirates' loss to the Golden Hurricane, Paris Roberts-Campbell scored a team-high 17 points. Akeem Richmond finished with 14 points and six boards while Caleb White chipped in 10 points. Richmond averaged only 10.9 ppg last season as a junior, but has stepped up his play to net a team-high 18.6 ppg on 40.3 percent efficiency from the floor in 2013-14. Roberts-Campbell and White are posting 13.1 and 12.3 ppg, respectively, while Brandan Stith paces the team on the boards with 7.5 rpg. White has tallied 17 points or more in three of the last five games. ECU has made nine 3-point field-goal attempts in three of its last four games and has made six or more shots from beyond the arc in all but one of its C-USA contests.
The Mean Green were handed a 10-point loss by Old Dominion thanks to a poor second half. North Texas made only six field goal attempts over the final 20 minutes and sank just 34.5 percent of its shots from the floor in the opening period. Alzee Williams and Chris Jones netted 13 points apiece in the loss. Vertrail Vaughns chipped in 12 points, Maurice Aniefiok had 10 and Colin Voss cleared 10 boards. Jordan Williams is the Mean Green's leader on the campaign with averages of 12.4 ppg and 6.3 rpg. Alzee Williams is clocking a team-best 28.7 minutes per tilt and second in the scoring column at 11.9 ppg. Jones is also a steady contributor with averages of 8.4 ppg and 4.1 apg.
The Pirates managed to take down UAB on the road to begin their February slate and win their first C-USA game of the season. Although ECU has had very little success during its last tour of the conference, the Mean Green have been equally poor in their first year as a member of the C-USA. The Pirates may be able to steal one on the road if UNT continues to struggle with its efficiency.
Game Date and Time