Pirates host Marshall for senior night

East Carolina men's basketball earned the number four seed in next week's Conference USA tournament with their win against Tulane, Wednesday, March 6. Now the team prepares to host Marshall for senior night in hopes of sending their seniors out with a bang.

In their first meeting, the Marshall Thundering Herd imposed their will on a sluggish Pirate team that couldn't recover from a slow start. The 77-56 loss at Marshall Jan. 19 was the final straw in the Pirate's 1-5 road skid to open the season, but one could argue it was a defining game that turned this team around for the better.

An off shooting night would be an understatement when describing the performance by the Pirates in that game. ECU finished just 33 percent from the field, making only one out of their first 16 attempts. The Thundering Herd had the opposite of a shooting problem and jumped all over the Pirates; they led 43-23 at halftime.

The slow start completely spoiled ECU's chance of getting a win as the team couldn't make up for the large first half deficit. Maurice Kemp, the Pirates leading scorer, had an off night and finished 5-15 from the field for 10 pts.

Since that game the Pirates have found heightened success on the road and have continued to play their best basketball inside Williams Arena. Akeem Richmond has provided a spark off of the bench that wasn't present in the loss at Marshall earlier in the season. Richmond's ability to hit shots from behind the arc has placed him in the ECU record books; he now holds the record for most three-pointers made in a single season. Maurice Kemp has been fulfilling his role as leading scorer of late; he had 29 points in ECU's win against Tulane.

Luckily for the Pirates, Marshall has struggled since their first contest. The Thundering Herd are 4-8 in their last 12 games and are just 1-10 away from their home court on the season. Despite their struggles during this 12-game stretch, they defeated Southern Mississippi 88-84 in their last game. ECU recently lost to So. Miss two games ago.

When looking at the numbers, ECU has the edge in scoring. The Pirates average close to 77 points a game compared to Marshall's 68, they also lead the Thundering Herd in overall field goal percentage. Barring a completely off shooting night, ECU has a chance to come out and make a statement against a team that embarrassed them earlier in the season.

Final thoughts

The Thundering Herd will show up to Minges confident and ready to spoil ECU's senior night. The Pirates will need contributions across the board in order to send their seniors off in the proper fashion. The battle in the paint will be something to keep an eye on; ECU has struggled all season long down low and they lost in that category to Marshall in their first meeting. A slow start won't cut it if ECU plans on closing the regular season with a win and making senior night 2013 a memorable one.

Graduating players

Miguel Paul – PG

Corvonn Gaines – PG(injured)

Maurice Kemp – G

Shamarr Bowden – G

Erin Straughn – G

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