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Post-game Audio...

ECU SID Game Recap

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Seahawks resume series with squeaker

By Al Myatt
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GREENVILLE — Two former North Carolina players from the Dean Smith era coached against each other as East Carolina and UNC-Wilmington resumed their basketball series in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Sunday evening.

Buzz Peterson, who was involved in recruiting ECU coach Jeff Lebo for the Tar Heels, saw 6-foot-9 Cedrick Williams block a dunk attempt by Prince Williams at the rim as time expired to preserve a 70-68 UNCW win.

The teams had not met since Dec. 3, 2008 when ECU took a 99-85 victory. Peterson said after the game he would like to see the old rivals play more often, but then he hedged.

"I'm happy right now," said Michael Jordan's former teammate. "I'm sure Jeff's like, 'No way.' I've gone against Jeff a lot and he does a great job. ... I've followed his career. I was at Tennessee when he was at Tennessee Tech and we were lucky to win that ball game. He had a good team at Tennessee Tech.

"At Tennessee and Auburn, we got a little bit of each other. We both had tough jobs in the SEC. ... He's landed on his feet and done a good job. ... We stay in touch."

But being branches off the Smith coaching tree could reach a point of diminishing returns if the rivals were to collide on a regular basis.

Peterson said an annual reunion of Smith's former players did not take place this fall.

"You're sitting there and you're trading the same ideas with each other," Peterson said of past gatherings. "Why play each other if you're doing the same thing? Jeff and I know in southeastern North Carolina, it's a game everybody wants to play. It's good for the fans. Our fans haven't traveled much on the road because we haven't won much on the road."

A crowd of 3,992 was on hand Sunday, meaning Pirate Nation also had a limited presence at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.

"It is a good rivalry," Peterson said. "I can say that now because I got this one. I'm sure next year will be a fun game also."

Story continues after the following picture...

ECU's Caleb White drives the lane against the Seahawks. The 6-foot-7
true freshman guard was 5-for-7 from the floor and had 14 points before
fouling out in a scrap for the ball late in the game. (Photo by W.A. Myatt.)

There was plenty of fun on Sunday after a five-year hiatus.

A three by ECU freshman Caleb White with five seconds left in the first half produced a tie at 31 after the visitors, motivated for redemption after a 60-55 loss to Stephen F. Austin at home on Friday, had led by as many as eight points.

White hit 3-of-4 from behind the arc in the second half despite foul trouble.

White was assessed with his fifth foul on a loose ball scramble with 4:50 remaining by veteran official Jamie Luckie. The call came after Akeem Richmond had given the Pirates a 60-58 lead on a 3-pointer with 4:50 to go.

ECU's last lead came with 2:12 left on a drive by Prince Williams that put the Pirates ahead 64-63.

Consecutive hoops by Freddie Jackson, who Peterson wasn't sure would play because of knee issues, gave UNCW a 67-64 advantage. A dunk by Cedric Williams pushed the margin to five points, at 69-64 with just 31 seconds to go.

A basket by Prince Williams got the deficit down to three. Cedrick Williams missed a pair from the line with 23.2 seconds left and the Pirates tried to free Richmond for a three but Seahawks surrounded him.

Antonio Robinson ended up driving and his runner got ECU within 69-68 with eight seconds showing.

After a timeout with 7.4 seconds to go, Prince Williams fouled Addison Spruill with 6.9 seconds left. Spruill made the first of two free throws.

Peterson lamented his club's foul shooting in the late stages. The Seahawks coach would have set his defense if Spruill had made the second for a three-point lead.

As it was, Prince Williams drove off a high screen and appeared to have a lane to the basket until Cedrick Williams appeared for the game-closing block.

Lebo didn't fault Prince Williams for attempting a dunk rather than laying it up off the drive.

"We got what we wanted," said the Pirates coach. "It was good offense and good defense, a great blocked shot at the end. Prince was trying to go hard and get a foul. We tell them to take it to the basket hard. It was two great plays and (Cedric Williams) made a little better one."

Luckie indicated a clean block before exiting the court.

"We learned we have to play hard for 40 minutes," said Paris Roberts-Campbell, who led ECU (6-2) with 15 points. The left-handed White had 14 points in 25 minutes. Richmond scored 13 and Prince Williams tallied 10.

Story continues after the following picture...

UNCW forward Cedrick Williams denies Prince Williams' game-tying
dunk attempt just before the final buzzer. (Photo by W.A. Myatt)

Brandan Stith had a game-high 13 rebounds for the Pirates. Robinson made three steals.

Cedrick Williams had 17 points, nine rebounds and blocked three shots for the Seahawks (5-5). Shane Reybold and Spruill added 15 points apiece. Jackson finished with 13 points.

Peterson said he emphasized touches in the lane and UNCW finished with a commanding 48-32 lead for points in the paint. A 39-33 rebounding edge also helped the Port City crew to a 19-7 lead in second chance points.

"This team sort of reminds me of my first team at Auburn," Lebo said. "We didn't have any size and we really struggled when we didn't shoot well."

ECU was 24 for 61 from the floor on Sunday night, a lukewarm 39.3 percent.

The Pirates will practice today for a 7 p.m. tip Tuesday at home against Division II Fayetteville State. The Broncos already had Lebo's attention as he wrapped up his postgame remarks.

"They're athletic and talented," Lebo said. "They may be better than some Division I teams that we've played."

UNC-Wilmington 70, East Carolina 68

Date: Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013
Facility: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Attendance: 3,992
Records: ECU 6-2; UNCW 5-5


UNC-Wilmington 31 39 70
East Carolina 31 37 68

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PAGE UPDATED 12/04/13 01:31 AM.

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