Pirates stay perfect against Hawks

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- ECU (3-0) crushed Division II Chowan (0-1) with a 95-45 win at Minges Coliseum Thursday,

The East Carolina men's basketball team took care of business against Division II Chowan Thursday night with a 95-45 win at Minges Coliseum. It now marks back-to-back seasons in which the Pirates have started 3-0.

As he has done in every game thus far, senior shooting guard Akeem Richmond paced ECU with 15 points – shooting 5-for-13 on three-pointers – but he was not the story.

Rather, ECU's trio of freshmen stole the show. Brandan Stith and Caleb White each had their third straight double-figure performances to begin their collegiate careers, while Greg Alexander found the score-sheet for the first time this season by adding 11 points.

"I think it speaks volumes of the recruiting," said Alexander, with a large grin. "It's really a great group of guys and you should expect big things from us three and the entire (team)."

Including Richmond and the freshmen, eleven Pirates scored on Thursday and six of them reached double-figures. What's even more remarkable is that ECU's bench outscored Chowan's (0-1) entire team with its 53 points.

ECU also got solid outings from its three point guards, sophomore Prince Williams, junior Antonio Robinson and senior Petar Torlak. They combined for 12 assists to only one turnover and as a team, the Pirates amassed 22 helpers.

"I thought we've been taking good care of the ball, I thought defensively we've been really solid," said ECU coach Jeff Lebo. "They've got size and they've got length and I think those things show up in shooting percentages on the other end."

Unlike their first two games, the Pirates jumped on the Hawks out of the gates. They started the game on a 9-0 run and did so with four different scorers.

It wasn't until ECU led, 23-10, that Chowan showed any type of resistance. Thanks in part to junior forward Phoenix Butler-Poole's 11 first-half points; the Hawks were able to trim the lead to 29-23. Despite his good start, Butler-Poole would not score in the second half.

The Pirates responded to the visitors' outburst by scoring 16 of the last 18 points in the first half and went into recess leading 45-35.

Chowan appeared poised to climb back into the game at the start of the second half. Junior guard Kyree Bethel drained back-to-back 3's to cut the deficit to 45-31, prompting Lebo to call a timeout. But from that point on, it was nothing but sheer dominance by the home team.

ECU followed that stretch with a 15-2 run and outscored Chowan 50-14 in the last 18:35 of Thursday night's game. This was due in large-part to the Pirates' play on the glass. They utilized their size advantage by out-rebounding Chowan 59-27.

Next up on the slate for the Pirates is their first-round game in the NIT Tip-off, which will be held at the iconic Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University. ECU will face Norfolk State Monday and if victorious, would likely share the floor with the top-five ranked Duke Blue Devils on Tuesday.

"I'm excited, nervous, all of that," said Alexander. "It's all new for me. I'm just taking it all in."

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