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Inside Game Night
Thursday, January 23, 2014

By Al Myatt

Hook shots too much for ECU

By Al Myatt
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GREENVILLE — Tulane's Jay Hook made three 3-pointers in the last 2:43 to lift the Green Wave to a 59-54 Conference USA win over East Carolina in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Thursday night.

The Pirates dropped to 0-4 in the league and 11-8 overall with an inability to finish that has become a recurring problem.

"More of the same," said fourth-year Pirates coach Jeff Lebo. "Five minutes (left) in the game and we couldn't make the plays. Give them credit. They made 'em. Hook makes three threes. He hadn't made one all night and he makes three really timely ones."

Hook came into the game hitting a Wave-high 45.2 percent from 3-point land.

"Hook took over the game," Lebo said. " ... They made winning plays there at the end. They made winning shots."

The first triple from Hook gave Tulane (11-9, 3-2 C-USA) a 51-49 lead. His second bomb pushed the advantage to 54-49 with 1:36 remaining.

"It wasn't like anybody missed an assignment," said sophomore big Michael Zangari. "The kid just hit tough shots. It's hard to recover from that."

With the shot clock about to run out Hook delivered his final dagger from the right side to put ECU in a 57-51 hole with 22 seconds to go.

"We did all we could defensively," Lebo said. "Held them in the 50s. We just, offensively, didn't have enough firepower."

Story continues after the following picture...

Tulane's Jay Hook knocks down his third three-pointer in a row as the shot clock expired late in the game, putting the Green Wave ahead 57-51.

Photo by W.A. Myatt. ©

The Pirates' short rotation got even shorter with freshman Brandan Stith, the team's top rebounder at 8.7 per game, out with a concussion. Lebo said Stith would be evaluated today. ECU hosts Southern Miss on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Golden Eagles (17-3, 4-1) handed Old Dominion (9-10, 3-1) its first C-USA loss, 75-60, in Norfolk on Thursday night.

The Pirates finished at 36 percent from the field for the game, making 18 of 50 shots. Akeem Richmond and freshman Caleb White had 14 points each to lead ECU. Richmond was four for 13 on threes, the only Pirate to connect from behind the arc. Paris Roberts-Campbell added 10 points. Zangari had eight points and a team-high seven rebounds. Prince Williams had six points.

Roberts-Campbell and Richmond each had four assists. Antonio Robinson didn't score in 29 minutes, missing two shots from the floor and failing to get to the line.

ECU made 14 of 17 free throws for 82.4 percent, the only area of shooting in which the Pirates performed well.

"Our confidence, offensively, is not there," Lebo said. "For us, right now, we don't have anywhere to go but a couple of guys. There were untimely turnovers (14 for the game) sometimes when we wanted to run."

Lebo was pleased that his various defenses kept Tulane to a low number of points.

"We've been scoring the ball," he said. "When you're struggling, you fix something and maybe something else pops out. Tonight it was our turnovers and offense that hurt us down the stretch when we had a chance to win."

Edosomwan steps up

The size-challenged Pirates actually outrebounded the Green Wave, 35-34, thanks in part to the efforts of 6 feet, 3 inch junior walk-on Francis "Uyi" Edosomwan, who grabbed five caroms in seven minutes.

"Wow, what kind of effort he gave us," Lebo said. "I thought he was terrific. He almost led us in rebounding in seven minutes. ...

"He was great. There's not a guy who works any harder every day than him. He never plays. He's in the gym late, working on his game. He wants to be good but his effort is what is contagious out there.

"Offensive rebounding (Edosomwan had four). Just doing the little things that make winning plays. Those little things were big. That energy he gave, particularly in the first half was big for us to have that first half lead (32-,28)."

Edosomwan had all five of his rebounds in four minutes of the first half.

Quick turnaround

The new Thursday-Saturday format in Conference USA with travel partners limits the amount of rest and preparation before the weekend games.

"It's tough," Lebo said. "Particularly with what's happened to us this year with no bodies. We have to turn around and play Southern Miss here Saturday. These guys have to practice. Our preparation has become very different."

Lebo has changed ECU's pregame routine to conserve energy.

"This is the first year I've had to change what we do in warm-ups," said the Pirates coach.

The team isn't going out as early as when depth wasn't an issue.

"Guys get worn out, even in warm-ups," Lebo said. "I've never had to do that. ... We don't have hardly enough to warm up. I thought I'd seen it all. That was a new one, trying to coach the warm-ups a different way."

A to Z

The Pirates roster ranges from No. 1 (Akeem Richmond) to No. 34 (Michael Zangari).

That's A to Z with as little in between due to injuries and players leaving the program as any time in the Lebo era.

"It's frustrating but we're hanging in there and we'll get over the hump," Zangari said after ECU's fourth straight setback. "We're down guys so obviously the longer the game is, the harder it is for us.

"Halftime, we're right there but as the game goes on we start to drag. We've just got to get in a little better shape, I guess.

"Brandan will be back soon. That will help us out, too."

Tulane 59, East Carolina 54

Date: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
Facility: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Attendance: 4,281
Records: ECU 11-8 (0-4 C-USA); TU 11-9 (3-2)


Tulane 28 31 59
East Carolina 32 22 54

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01/24/2014 03:08 AM