East Carolina (16-13) at Marshall (9-20)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, March 2, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cam Henderson Center (9,048) -- Huntington, West Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: ECU 10-6, Marshall 7-7. Away Record: ECU 3-7, Marshall 2-12. Neutral Record: ECU 3-0, Marshall 0-1. Conference Record: ECU 5-9, Marshall 3-11. Series Record: Marshall leads, 13-7.
GAME NOTES: The Marshall Thundering Herd will end the regular season on a two- game homestand at the Cam Henderson Center, beginning on Sunday with a Conference USA matchup with the East Carolina Pirates.
ECU has found its stride as the season begins to wind down, moving to 16-13 overall following a three-game winning streak, most recently defeating Charlotte on Thursday, 75-68. Despite the Pirates' recent surge, they are still just 5-9 in C-USA and have won just three of their 10 bouts on the road.
Marshall's campaign has been a struggle from the very start, as it is just 9-20 with a mere 3-11 record in league play. The Herd have dropped three in a row and six of their last seven, including a 70-63 setback at Old Dominion on Thursday, but they have at least performed admirably at home this season, splitting 14 tilts at the Henderson Center down the middle.
The Herd stake claim to a 13-7 advantage in the all-time series with the Pirates, although ECU won the most recent meeting in the 2013 regular-season finale at home, 86-79.
Although the Pirates saw their 14-point second-half advantage disappear in their most recent contest, they used a 9-2 run later in the frame to pull away for the seven-point victory. They shot just 42.9 percent from the field on the evening, compared to 45.9 percent for Charlotte, but they made good on 12- of-27 from 3-point range and outscored the 49ers from the foul line, 21-4. Akeem Richmond knocked down eight of those long-range buckets on his way to 27 points, Antonio Robinson came off the bench to tally 15 points and six assists, while Caleb White netted 14 points.
On the season, ECU boasts an impressive offensive attack, shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 71.7 percent at the charity stripe for 74.6 ppg, which is usually good enough to support a modest defensive effort (70.8 ppg). Richmond leads the way with 18.4 ppg and his 133 3-pointers are the second most in the nation. Caleb White (12.4 ppg) and Paris Campbell (12.2 ppg) also score in double figures, while Prince Williams (9.2 ppg) and Michael Zangari (9.1 ppg) are close.
The Herd held a lead early in the second half of their latest tilt but quickly lost control following a 29-11 run by ODU and could never recover down the stretch, as they were outshot from the field in the seven-point setback, 49 percent to 37 percent. Kareem Canty poured in 24 points to lead the way but was also plagued by five turnovers. Chris Thomas added 17 points and seven rebounds to the losing effort.
Scoring points has rarely been a problem for Marshall this season, as it shoots 43.8 percent from the field for 73.4 ppg, but it has allowed its opponents to put up nearly as many points on the other end of the court (72.7 ppg), and it is also hindered by poor percentages from 3-point range (.309) and the free-throw line (.625). Canty nets a team-best 16.4 ppg, and while he shoots a lackluster 38.4 percent from the field, he helps make up for it with 5.7 apg. Ryan Taylor is impressive in the paint with 13.3 ppg and 7.0 rpg, while Chris Thomas chips in 12.4 ppg.
Even though Marshall owns the homecourt advantage in this bout, ECU has been playing much better of late and should be able to overcome its road woes in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: East Carolina 75, Marshall 71
03/02 10:35:07 ET