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East Carolina (5-0) at Charlotte (6-0)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 7 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Halton Arena (9,105) -- Charlotte, North Carolina. Television: WITN. Home Record: ECU 4-0, Charlotte 3-0. Away Record: ECU 1-0, Charlotte 0-0. Neutral Record: ECU 0-0, Charlotte 3-0. Conference Record: ECU 0-0, Charlotte 0-0. Series Record: Charlotte leads, 14-6.

GAME NOTES: Perfect records and instate bragging rights will be on the line when the East Carolina Pirates take on the Charlotte 49ers at Halton Arena in a non-conference tilt on Saturday.

ECU improved to 5-0 on Monday with a nine-point win over Georgia State in its first true road game of the season. The Pirates also took down notable opponents UNC Greensboro and Appalachian State to help power their hot start to the season. Coach Jeff Lebo has never had a team open the year by winning its first six games. His best start came during his first season at Auburn when the Tigers began the year winning their first five games. The Pirates will be looking to start their season 6-0 for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign when they opened up with seven straight wins. They have scored 75.8 ppg on 44.8 percent shooting while limiting opponents to 59.8 ppg with a field goal connection rate of 38 percent so far.

Not to be outdone, Charlotte enters with a 6-0 mark after its 67-59 win over Northeastern on Saturday in the Great Alaska Shootout championship. The 49ers pushed past Texas State and Oral Roberts to play for the title. After returning back to North Carolina with the hardware, coach Alan Major will try to set a school record for best start as the program has never been 7-0 before in its history. The 49ers are producing 69.3 ppg on the offensive end on 44 percent shooting from the field and limiting opponents to just 56.8 ppg, which is the lowest average among Atlantic 10 programs.

This game will mark the 21st meeting between Charlotte and ECU. The 49ers hold a 14-6 series lead. Charlotte is 7-2 all-time at home against the Pirates.

The Pirates' win over Georgia State gave them their first victory in a road opener since 2008. It was also the first instance of this season when they lead for the entire contest. ECU did not have a great offensive performance versus GSU, but it did dominate on the inside with a 47-26 edge in rebounds to go along with six blocked shots. It also held its opponent to 38 percent shooting (19-of-50) from the floor to secure the win. Maurice Kemp and Robert Sampson each posted double-doubles in the win. Kemp, who leads the team in scoring with 18.6 ppg, will be looking for his fourth-straight double-double in this one. Miguel Paul is second on the team with 9.8 ppg and Sampson is grabbing a team-high 11 boards per game. Senior guard Shamarr Bowden scored 10 points versus GSU. He will try to ride that momentum into this one, as he faces his former school.

Charlotte displayed its ability on the defensive end its last time out by limiting Northeastern to 34.6 percent shooting from the floor. Offensively, the 49ers pounded away inside to outscore their opponents by 24 points in the paint. Senior forward Chris Braswell was at the center of that attack as he led the team with 14 points in 22 minutes off the bench. Terrence Williams helped out by making 9-of-9 attempts at the charity stripe on his way to 13 points. Braswell is playing well off the bench with team-highs of 14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Williams is second on the team with 10.5 ppg while deMario Mayfield is chipping in 10.3 ppg. Major likes to use a deep rotation as nine different players saw 14 minutes of action or more versus Northeastern.

ECU has a chance to make a statement against a very stingy defensive team in this one. The 49ers are not a flashy squad, but they make smart decisions, take care of the ball, and convert at the free throw line. The Pirates need to figure out a way to push the tempo or they will be the next victim of the 49ers' quicksand like defense.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charlotte 66, East Carolina 62

12/01 10:31:25 ET

Local & North Carolina state news from Raleigh, NC | NewsObserver.com
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