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Pirates break home losing streak

By Al Myatt
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GREENVILLE — East Carolina's last home basketball win was last year, Dec. 19 to be exact, against VMI, but the Pirates broke a five-game losing streak within Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Saturday with an 81-71 Conference USA win over Texas-San Antonio.

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East Carolina freshman forward Brandan Stith (25) looks to make an offensive move. (Photo by Al Myatt. ©

Akeem Richmond had 31 points as ECU improved to 13-11 overall and 2-7 in league play. The senior guard from Sanford made all 15 of his free throws to set a school record for the most foul shots in a game without a miss.

The previous record of 13 by Earl Thompson against Atlantic Christian had stood since Dec. 9, 1967.

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Caleb White (2) and Akeem Richmond converge on defense. Richmond scored 31 points and White added 18 on Saturday. (Photo by Al Myatt. ©

Richmond's remarkable effort at the line matched the ECU men's Williams Arena mark of 15 made free throws set by Jontae Sherrod against Texas-El Paso on Feb. 23, 2011.

A jumper by Caleb White, who had 18 points on seven of 11 field goal shooting, put the Pirates ahead to stay at 17-15 with 6:25 left in the first half and started ECU on an 11-1 run. Brandan Stith scored on an assist from Prince Williams during the flurry, Richmond dropped a three off a feed from White, Williams assisted Stith again, and White registered on another jumper to give the Pirates a 26-16 advantage with 4:38 left in the first half.

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The Pirates huddle as officials review video in the first half. The shorter official at the scorer's table is Scott Smith, son of former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith. (Photo by Al Myatt. ©

ECU led 33-25 at intermission. Richmond scored 23 points in the second half.

The biggest lead for the Pirates was 20 points, at 58-38 after Stith scored on an assist by Paris Roberts-Campbell with 10:35 left in the game. The Roadrunners (7-15, 3-6 C-USA) closed within five points at 67-62 with 2:41 to go but ECU put the game away by making all 14 of its free throws over the last 2:21.

Mike Zangari had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Pirates. Williams had 10 points and five assists. Stith had seven points in 16 minutes.

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ECU basketball lettermen were recognized at halftime of Saturday's game. (Photo by Al Myatt. ©

Keon Lewis led UTSA with 16 points before fouling out. Jordan Sims had 14 points in the loss. Hyjii Thomas and Phillip Jones added 11 and 10 respectively for the visitors. Edrico McGregor had eight points and six assists for the first-year C-USA program.

"We haven't won at home in a while, so it was nice to get that," said ECU coach Jeff Lebo. "Akeem and Caleb were terrific offensively."

The Pirates have road games next week at Tulsa (Thursday, 8:05 p.m.) and North Texas (Saturday, 8 p.m.). ECU swaps opponents on those dates with travel partner Old Dominion, which was defeated by league-leading Texas-El Paso 63-49 on Saturday night in Norfolk.

East Carolina 81, Texas-San Antonio 71

Date: Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014
Facility: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Records: ECU 13-11 (2-7 C-USA); UTSA 7-15 (3-6)


Texas-San Antonio 25 46 71
East Carolina 33 48 81

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02/11/2014 01:25 PM