Pirates Win Again in CIT Tourney

Behind a well-balanced attack, ECU pulled away from the Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds in the second half to win 70-58 and advance into the semi-finals of the College Insider.com Postseason Tournament.

The East Carolina men's basketball team has learned they can be tough to beat when more than one player carries the scoring load. Against the Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds, the Pirates had five players score at least eight points and won, 70-58, behind a raucous crowd at Minges Coliseum Tuesday night.

The bulk of that scoring balance was shared among ECU's most experienced players.

Senior Maurice Kemp led the way by scoring a game-high 20 points, while Robert Sampson had arguably his best individual games of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

"We got a lot of guys that are battle-tested," said Kemp. "We lost a lot of close ones, and I think that experience…(has) helped us this year."

Loyola (23-12) led 45-44 with 12:26 left in the game, when Kemp scored five straight points to begin a 9-0 ECU run. The Pirates wouldn't look back.

ECU (21-12) advances to the semi-finals of the College Insider.com and will host Evansville, who outlasted Canisius 84-83 in its quarterfinal. Tip-off from Minges Coliseum is Saturday at 5 pm.

"We're making history right now," said Sampson, "It's a whole entire community thing. It's not just us playing basketball."

The Pirates jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game, before the visitors responded by scoring the next nine points and taking its first lead.

The first half would go back and forth before Loyola took its largest lead of the game at 30-23 with 3:43 left until halftime.

Sophomore guard Paris Roberts-Campbell began an ECU rally in the latter stages of the half when he drained back-to-back 3's in opposite corners. Senior point guard Miguel Paul then found Kemp, who completed a three-point play with only a second left on the clock. Paul collected nine assists to only two turnovers to along with his twelve points.

ECU closed the first half on a 9-2 run and the game was tied, 32-32.

Very similar to how the Pirates started the game, the Greyhounds raced out of the gates in the second half—leading 38-32—by scoring three consecutive baskets. To continue the trend of streaky play, ECU reeled off a 7-0 run to go back in front 39-38.

Despite having a cushion in the second half—leading 53-45 after their 9-0 run—the Pirates kept their foot on the accelerator and continued to stretch its lead. ECU reached its largest lead of the game—68-53 with 1:01 left—when Akeem Richmond hit a layup. Richmond had nine points, six rebounds, and three assists.

Loyola struggled mightily from three-point range Tuesday. They shot ten percent from outside on twenty attempts (2-for-20).

Three Greyhounds finished in double-figures scoring, led by Dylon Cormier's game-high 12 points and 8 rebounds.

ECU junior forward Ty Armstrong scored eight points and grabbed four boards.

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