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Pirates ride Richmond past Camels

By Al Myatt
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BUIES CREEK — Akeem Richmond was in another dimension at Gore Gym of Campbell's Pope Convocation Center on Thursday night.

Richmond set arena records for points (37), made 3-pointers (10) and 3-pointers attempted (17) to lead a 79-71 East Carolina basketball win.

A crowd of 2,865, the eighth largest at CU's basketball facility, which opened in 2008, was on hand, although the Campbell students were still on semester break.

There were full sections of ECU supporters behind the visitors bench.

The Camels (6-8) came back from an 11-point deficit to lead 39-37 at the half as Reco McCarter had 18 of his 29 points in the first 20 minutes.

Richmond's third 3-pointer of the second half with 17:39 left to play put the Pirates (11-4) ahead to stay at 46-44.

Richmond, who played on the high school level at nearby Southern Lee, had 24 points after intermission.

"We rode him as long as we could, the whole game, actually," said fourth-year ECU coach Jeff Lebo. "He was terrific."

Story continues below the following photo...

Senior guard Akeem Richmond nails a three in the second half against
Campbell Thursday night in Buies Creek. The product of nearby Lee
County put on a show for family members and friends attending the
game by scoring 37 points. (Photo by W.A. Myatt. ©

First-year Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan had seen Richmond play at Rhode Island when McGeehan was an assistant coach at the University of Richmond.

"I don't know what he drank this morning but I need some of that," McGeehan said. "He's hard to guard, an exceptional, exceptional shooter."

ECU made 27 of 48 field goal attempts for 56.3 percent. That included 13 of 24 behind the arc, 54.2 percent.

"It feels good to get a win after about two weeks," Richmond said.

Losses to N.C. State and Georgia State preceded ECU's trip to Campbell, which topped the Pirates 86-81 in overtime last season in Greenville. ECU was 0-2 in Gore Gym.

Richmond said a phone conversation with Miguel Paul, the Pirates' point guard during a 23-12 season in 2012-13, was part of his inspiration.

He also wanted to make a good showing for family and friends from Sanford, who made the short trip to see him play.

Most of all, he wanted to shorten the bus ride back to Greenville.

"I hate to lose more than anybody," Richmond said.

The Camels couldn't match ECU's outside shooting, going five for 29 on threes, a meager 17.2 percent.

"We got the shots we wanted," McCarter said.

The hosts had some good looks from long range down the stretch but couldn't connect.

"We did a good job of limiting them to one shot late in the game," Lebo said.

Campbell had a span of 4:39 without a field goal after a tip-in by Marvelle Harris cut ECU's lead to 70-66 with 5:02 remaining.

Harris had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Darius Leonard added 12 points for the Camels.

Antonio Robinson and Paris Roberts-Campbell each had a team high seven rebounds for the Pirates, including six off the defensive glass.

Story continues after the following picture...

Junior point guard Antonio Robinson secures a key rebound in ECU's
79-71 win over Campbell. (Photo by W.A. Myatt. ©

Roberts-Campbell fouled out with 5:53 to go.

Robinson helped seal the win with a 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line in the last 47 seconds.

Michael Zangari had 13 points for ECU and Caleb White added 12.

Zangari was 5-for-5 from the floor and 3-for-4 at the line. White went 5-for-8 from the field and dropped two of three from 3-point range. White had six assists.

Roberts-Campbell totaled nine points, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Robinson had six points and four assists.

Brandan Stith had the fewest minutes (21) in ECU's seven-man rotation but contributed six rebounds and some big blocked shots in the closing stages.

The Pirates open Conference USA play at home on Jan. 11 with a 5 p.m. game against Old Dominion.

Stith's dad, Bryant, a star at Virginia and a 10-year performer in the NBA, is an assistant coach for the Monarchs.

East Carolina 79, Campbell 71

Date: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014
Facility: Gore Arena at Pope Convocation Center
Attendance: 2,865
Records: ECU 11-4; CU 6-8


East Carolina 37 42 79
Campbell 39 32 71

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01/03/2014 03:26 PM