UNC Greensboro (1-1) at East Carolina (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Minges Coliseum (8,000) -- Greenville, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: UNC Greensboro 1-0, ECU 2-0. Away Record: UNC Greensboro 0-1, ECU 0-0. Neutral Record: UNC Greensboro 0-0, ECU 0-0. Conference Record: UNC Greensboro 0-0, ECU 0-0. Series Record: UNC Greensboro leads 8-2.
GAME NOTES: In an matchup of Tar Heel State foes, the UNC Greensboro Spartans will take a trip across the state for a showdown with the East Carolina Pirates at Minges Coliseum.
The Spartans have split their first two games this season. After losing on the road against High Point (81-73), UNC Greensboro bounced back with an 81-65 defeat of Division II foe Winston-Salem State. The Spartans have found victories hard to come by no matter who the opponent is recently with four- straight losing seasons coming into this campaign. The Spartans will be back home in each of their next four games, beginning against Virginia Tech.
East Carolina has been similarly afflicted with its own struggles to post wins in recent years, posting losing records in 10 of the last 11 seasons. The Pirates have gotten off to a good start in reversing those fortunes and are 2-0 after besting Methodist 87-51 this past Tuesday. This game is one of four straight to open the season for the Pirates, who finish the homestand up on Tuesday against Appalachian State.
In terms of the all-time series, East Carolina has won eight of 10 previous meetings since the schools began meeting up annually beginning in 2001.
UNC Greensboro was simply the better offensive team in its win over Winston- Salem State. Led by Trevis Simpson and Derrell Armstrong the Spartans shot at a 49.2 percent clip in the game and outscored Winston-Salem State by a 27-12 margin from three-point range.
Through the first two games Simpson and Armstrong have been the stalwarts for the team offensively. Simpson knocked down 10-of-16 shots, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc to finished with 26 points against Winston-Salem State. The 6-4 guard is scoring 22.0 points per game now through two games. Armstrong has made all of his contributions off the bench. He is shooting 63.2 percent on the season after a 9-of-11 effort from the floor against Winston-Salem State. The senior guard has been effective from three-point range, netting 4- of-6 shots from beyond the arc early on. Also making his presence felt in the backcourt is junior Drew Parker who hasn't done much in terms of scoring (4.5 ppg) but is leading the team in assists (5.5 pg). There hasn't been a whole lot of production up front with Kelvin McNeil (5.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg) the best option on the inside.
Led by the scoring of Maurice Kemp (21 points) and the stellar play at both ends by Robert Sampson, East Carolina was able to do away with Methodist. The Pirates forced 19 turnovers and blocked seven shots to hold Methodist to 31.1 percent shooting while turning in a 48.6 percent effort themselves.
Kemp has gotten off to a very good start for the Pirates. The senior forward is scoring an even 20 points per game, while bringing in 6.5 rebounds a contest through the first two games. Kemp has needed to take over the scoring responsibilities as he is the only returning double-figure scorer from last season. Sampson, a 6-8 forward, has also made his contributions out of the frontcourt. The junior had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds against Methodist, while also dishing out three assists and blocking four shots. Marshall Guilmette (11.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg) has provided a nice offensive spark off the bench while attacking the boards at a high level. No player has established himself as an outside shooting threat thus far, which East Carolina could really use after shooting 22.2 percent from three-point range in the first two games.
Each of these teams finds its strength in different areas. While the Spartans rely on their offensive-minded backcourt, the Pirates have been anchored from the paint. If East Carolina continues to control the interior it should add another win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: East Carolina 67, UNC Greensboro 60
11/16 10:38:43 ET