UNC Asheville (1-5) vs. East Carolina (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 26, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas M. Ryan Center (7,657) -- Kingston, Rhode Island. Television: None. Home Record: UNCA 0-0, ECU 2-0. Away Record: UNCA 1-4, ECU 1-1. Neutral Record: UNCA 0-1, ECU 2-0. Conference Record: UNCA 0-0, ECU 0-0. Series Record: East Carolina leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: The East Carolina Pirates and UNC Asheville Bulldogs will conclude their runs in the NIT Season Tip-Off, as the two programs square off in final round action at the Ryan Center on Tuesday.
The Pirates are an impressive 5-1 on the season, with the lone loss coming at Duke in earlier round action of this event. The team put some distance between itself and the setback to the Blue Devils with Monday's rout of McNeese State, 91-62.
The Bulldogs have gotten off to a vastly different start to their 2013-14 campaign with just one win in six games. The team was shorthanded in Monday's contest with host Rhode Island and suffered a 73-56 loss, the team's third straight.
East Carolina holds a 4-3 series advantage over UNC Asheville, although the two schools haven't met since the 1997-98 season.
UNCA played without its starting center, as senior D.J. Cunningham (11.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg) sat out the game with a knee injury. His absence in the middle was felt, as the Bulldogs suffered a 37-21 deficit in rebounding. Freshman Andrew Rowsey continued his fast start, posting 17 points in the loss. Jaron Lane also notched 17 points, but the rest of the roster combined for just 22 points.
Rowsey has made an immediate impact for UNCA, as the youngster leads the team in scoring at 15.0 ppg. Cunningham is next in line and is obviously a real factor on the boards. The team has also had to deal with the loss of Will Weeks (13.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) early on. UNCA has struggled offensively at less than full strength and has watched its scoring average dip to just 63.3 ppg.
Akeem Jordan is no stranger to the court at the Ryan Center and turned the tables on his former team, as the URI transfer led the Pirates with 25 points in a lopsided win over McNeese State. Richmond knocked down six 3-pointers in the win and received plenty of help offensively, with Paris Roberts-Campbell (16 pts), Michael Zangari (13 pts), Brandan Stith (11 pts, 10 rebs) and Caleb White (10 pts) all making their presence felt.
The outburst was nothing new for the Pirates this season, as the team have been solid at both ends, boasting of a +19.8 scoring margin. ECU has upped its scoring average to 86.3 ppg on a solid .472 shooting. The team is also outrebounding the opposition by just over six rebounds per game. Richmond and Roberts-Campbell are the top scorers on the team at 17.3 and 15.2 ppg, respectively. White is next in line(9.8 ppg), while Stith (9.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg) and Zangari (8.5 ppg) have added depth.
The Bulldogs are at less than full strength, but even with all their players back, they would still come up short against the explosive Pirates.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: East Carolina 84, UNC Asheville 61
11/26 10:35:54 ET