East Carolina (11-5) at Marshall (8-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cam Henderson Center (9,048) -- Huntington, West Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: ECU 10-1, MU 7-2. Away Record: ECU 1-4, MU 0-5. Neutral Record: ECU 0-0, MU 1-2. Conference Record: ECU 2-1, MU 1-1. Series Record: Marshall leads, 12-6.
GAME NOTES: The East Carolina Pirates seek their third win in a row when they take on the Marshall Thundering Herd in a Conference USA bout at the Cam Henderson Center.
This will be the 19th meeting between these schools on the hardwood. Marshall owns a 12-6 all-time series lead, but the Pirates survived last season's overtime thriller with a one-point win.
The Pirates were defeated, 67-54, by Memphis at FedExForum in their league opener, but they bounced back with an 88-85 overtime win over UCF and made it two in a row with an 89-78 victory versus Houston on Wednesday. Coach Jeff Lebo's squad has been a problem for the opposition on its way to a C-USA leading 78.8 ppg. Defensively, ECU has not been very impressive at all, allowing 69.6 ppg.
Maurice Kemp poured in 30 points for ECU in its victory over the Cougars. He went 13-of-20 from the floor and added nine rebounds to help the Pirates to their third win in four outings. Miguel Paul added 16 points, eight assists, and two steals while Akeem Richmond contributed 14 points off the bench. Ty Armstrong scored nine points and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Kemp has made himself an early candidate for C-USA Player of the Year by producing a league-leading 18.6 ppg to go along with a tied for sixth best 8.4 rpg. Sampson is an even more impressive rebounder with 8.8 per contest while Paul is second in the conference with 5.7 assists a game.
Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd is one of the few teams in the conference ahead of ECU in rebounding with 40.6 per contest, thanks in large part to their twin towers Dennis Tinnon (10.9 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Nigel Spikes (6.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.1 bpg). However, Marshall was not able to win the rebounding battle in its 74-63 setback at Texas-El Paso last Saturday. The loss dropped the Herd one game below .500 and to an even 1-1 conference record.
In Marshall's loss to the Miners, Tinnon paced the squad with 19 points on an efficient 6-of-7 field goal shooting, while DeAndre Kane and Elijah Pittman each scored 11 points. D.D. Scarver went for 10 points but shot just 2-of-9 from the floor. Pittman is averaging a team-high 14.5 ppg, while Kane nets 14.1 ppg and the dishes out a C-USA-best 7.6 assists per tilt in his first season running the point. The 6-foot-4 junior guard has posted only 11 points and 4.7 assists per contest in three outings since returning from an injury to his shooting hand that kept him out four games.
The Pirates are firing on all cylinders right now, but they may run into trouble against this underachieving Marshall unit. The Thundering Herd were expected to be second to only Memphis in the C-USA this season. Kane showed he can be the catalyst during last year's conference tournament. Marshall is going to playing with a sense of urgency due to its desperation for a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marshall 77, East Carolina 72
01/19 10:37:24 ET