This game started similar to the last meeting between these teams. So. Miss came out in a full-court press which seemed to rattle the Pirates. Scoring was a rarity in the opening minutes of the game; the score was 7-4 So. Miss for over three minutes at one point. It wasn't until ten minutes into the game that the teams began to open up on offense.
Maurice Kemp provided the early spark for the Pirates scoring their first six points; he led all scorers with 15 points at the end of the half. ECU's three-point specialist Akeem Richmond hit his first three-pointer of the game from what looked like thirty feet away from the basket. He finished the first half with two three-pointers. Richmond has been averaging over 21 points in the last two games, both of which being on the road.
The teams traded the lead multiple times in the first half, along with multiple ties. A late 12-3 run by the Golden Eagles and a last-second three-pointer put them up 36-31 at halftime. Despite hovering around 30 percent shooting throughout the first half; So. Miss outscored ECU 12-4 in the paint and out-rebounded the Pirates by double-digits. Akeem Richmond's two three-pointers of the first half put him at second in ECU history with 80 on the season.
The second half was a different story. The Pirates started a very cold 5-13 and Kemp didn't end up scoring until seven minutes into the half. After being up by five halftime, the Golden Eagles started the second half hot with a 10-4 run.
Rebounding was the Achilles heel for ECU throughout the game; So. Miss led 42-23 on the boards at the end of the game. The Golden Eagles had four players in double-figures and enjoyed their largest lead of the night with 3:50 left to play when they led by 23 points.
Akeem Richmond "got his" so to speak; he finished with four three-pointers. Kemp led the Pirates with 23 points, but in the end it was no use. When all was said and done, So. Miss defeated ECU easily by a score of 88-69. The Pirates now stand at 16-11 overall and 7-7 in C-USA; they find themselves in a three way tie for fifth place with Tulsa and UAB. With two games left in the regular season, ECU will need to win out or cross their fingers for Tulsa and UAB to lose if they plan on getting the fifth seed. A seed that comes with a bye that would carry them into the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament.
The Pirates will face Tulane at Minges this coming Wednesday March 6; tip-off is at 7 p.m. Follow @InsideECUSports on Twitter for live updates.