GREENVILLE — The energy of Williams Arena
at Minges Coliseum wasn't enough to lift shorthanded East Carolina past
the talent and tradition of Memphis on Wednesday night.
The Tigers put together some incredible
numbers in holding off the Pirates 75-68 for their 11th straight win, a
pretty incredible number in itself.
Memphis shot 58.3 percent in the second
half, including four of seven behind the arc.
It took the Tigers some time to find
the range as they made just one of their first 11 field goal attempts.
Those four 3-pointers came within a
span of two minutes, 15 seconds in the second half and comprised a 12-2
Memphis run that extended the lead to 49-37 with 12:12 remaining.
"You pick your poison with them," said
ECU coach Jeff Lebo. "They crushed us in the paint. They made four
(threes) in a row. Some were against our zone. We wanted to play some
zone and hoped they'd miss some shots. We were trying to keep our guys
out of foul trouble. ... Give them credit. They were big shots and kind
of separated the game in the second half."
continues below the following picture.
ECU senior forward Maurice Kemp denies
Antonio Barton's shot attempt in the first half.
[W.A. Myatt photo]
Without Robert Sampson, who was out
with a bruised knee, Maurice Kemp moved from small forward to the power
forward. That left ECU with a smaller lineup and helped the Tigers to a
49-33 rebounding advantage. Memphis also blocked 10 shots.
"I've been around a lot of guys who
could jump but, wow!" Lebo said of the Tigers' 6-foot-5 D.J. Stephens,
who had four rejections.
On the offensive end, junior guard Joe
Jackson had 26 points and six assists, exhibiting an improved focus
after a halftime critique from Tigers coach Josh Pastner about picking
up loose balls.
ECU (12-8, 3-4 Conference USA) also was
without Shamarr Bowden, who had to sit out one game for throwing punches
at Texas-El Paso's Konner Tucker on Saturday night. That meant more
minutes for Corvonn Gaines, who started, and Prince Williams, who
managed four points in seven minutes.
Williams had 3-point play with 16
seconds left to complete an 8-0 ECU run. That drew the Pirates within
71-68 and the crowd of 6,246 had hope for an incredible comeback.
The Tigers (17-3, 6-0) kept their poise
and closed out the win from the free throw line.
Ty Armstrong had 18 points and nine
rebounds to lead the Pirates in both categories. He played 28 minutes as
Lebo took him out after his second and third fouls.
Armstrong appeared surprised to get a
dish from Miguel Paul in the first half but he adjusted for a dunk.
"If you're open, he'll find you,"
Paul had 15 points and six assists in a
busy 34 minutes. He had to ask to come out late in the first half
because of the tiring effect of Memphis's defensive pressure. Kemp
played all 40 minutes in his new/old position and contributed 13 points
with seven rebounds.
Akeem Richmond's 12 points came on four
of 12 shooting from long distance.
ECU partially offset the Tigers' skills
in other areas with 10 steals. Memphis had 19 turnovers compared to 10
Pastner's purple tie
Pastner said he gets a good clothing
allowance, but the Memphis coach doesn't consider himself an especially
He wore a purple tie with a light blue
shirt and a dark suit for the ECU game.
Much of the building wore gold for an
ECU "gold out."
"It's just one of those ties," he said.
"A random thing. ... My wife complains about (my dressing). She calls me
Ned Flanders (bland character on the Simpsons cartoon). But, you know
what, she's married to me and I've got three kids so she likes me for
something. It's not my dress."
More wardrobe notes
Three ECU players had to take off their
gold T-shirts from underneath their jerseys with ECU leading 10-4 less
than seven minutes into the game. Bobby Pennington, the officials
observer, said that the undergarments had a manufacturer's logo, which
is an NCAA no-no.
Pennington, who works with BSM Sports,
said he actually sold the T-shirts to the Pirates.
"They're Badgers," he said. "It's hard
to find that gold in a T-shirt."
Richmond got around the rule by turning
his T-shirt inside out and concealing the logo in the second half.
Rice on the road
Lebo was not sure of Sampson's status
for Saturday (8 p.m.) at Rice. The ECU coach said the 6-foot-8 junior
would be evaluated today. If he's not able to practice, he's unlikely to
play, Lebo said.
The Owls (5-15, 1-5) will
come into the contest with some momentum after overcoming a 15-point
deficit to defeat Houston 79-69 Wednesday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Pirates have been without small
forward Erin Straughn and his defensive skills all season.
Paul said ECU could take a page from
the Memphis book about succeeding on the road.
"You've got to be strong on defense and
also stop the home team from getting runs," said the ECU point guard.
"They did a good job of that, of really controlling the tempo. They like
to run, too, but they just stopped us from doing what we had to do at
" ... If we continue to work on
defense, our offense will be there. We'll be good."
Memphis 75, East Carolina 68
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013
Facility: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Records: ECU 12-8, 3-4 C-USA; UM 17-3, 6-0
SCORE BY PERIODS