ECU Advances to CIT Championship

ECU closes its home slate with a dominant performance and advances to the championship game of the College Insider.com Postseason Tournament with its 81-58 win over Evansville.

The East Carolina men's basketball has chosen the right time to be playing its best basketball.

In front of a sold-out crowd at Minges Coliseum Saturday, the Pirates never trailed on their way to a decisive 81-58 win against the Evansville Aces in the College Insider Postseason Tournament semi-finals.

ECU (22-12) will face the winner of Weber State-Northern Iowa on the road for the CIT championship game Tuesday night at 8 pm ET.

It was the last game for seniors Maurice Kemp and Miguel Paul in front of their home crowd and they did not disappoint.

Both players collected double-doubles, with Kemp notching his eighth straight twenty point performance—20 points and 12 rebounds—while Paul had 19 points and 11 assists to set the school record for helpers in a single season with 230.

ECU junior forwards Ty Armstrong and Robert Sampson finished in double-figures scoring as well with 17 points and 11 respectively and Sampson grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds.

Despite multiple players putting up big numbers offensively, Paris Roberts-Campbell arguably had the best game of any Pirate for his performance defensively on one of the nation's premier scorers, Colt Ryan.

Coming off his 39 point game against Canisius Tuesday, Ryan was neutralized and only had six points on 3-for-10 shooting from the field.

"There was no question when we watched film of Evansville that it was going to be on (Roberts-Campbell). He made (Ryan) work for everything," said ECU head coach Jeff Lebo.

"(Ryan) didn't get a clean look tonight."

The Pirates jumped out to a quick 8-2 advantage before Evansville (21-15) responded to cut the early lead to 9-8. That's as close as the Aces ever got as ECU scored the next eleven points and reeled off a 22-7 run to go in front 31-15.

Ryan wouldn't reach the score sheet until making a pair of free throws with 6:03 left until halftime.

Both teams traded baskets in the half's final minutes and the Pirates entered the locker room with a 40-26 lead.

ECU buried Evansville in the opening minutes of the second half with an 8-2 run to stretch its lead to 48-28.

Then, the Pirates put on a show for the 5,625 in attendance.

Less than a week removed from holding Sportscenter's top play on ESPN, Kemp completed a dunk over 6-foot-10 center Egidijus Mockevicius that may attract some more national attention in the next twenty-four hours.

"If the last one was a top 10 (play), that one is going to be way higher. I thought that was way better than his first one," said Lebo.

Kemp added, "My teammates told me I got higher on this one, so I guess I'm going to have to look at the film. I'm not sure."

Trailing 67-42, Evansville tried to forge a rally—putting together a 9-0 run to cut ECU's lead to 67-51—but the Pirates had all the answers and countered with an 11-0 run to push their lead back to 78-51.

After playing over a month without a double-figures win, ECU has won its last three games by double-figure margins. A feat the team hasn't accomplished at any other point in the season.


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