Richmond leads Pirates past Cowboys

Behind Akeem Richmond's game-best 25 points, the Pirates took down McNeese State 91-62 in the consolation round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

The East Carolina men's basketball team coasted past McNeese State 91-62 in the consolation round of the NIT Season Tip-Off Monday night.

The Pirates (5-1) had five players score in double-figures led by Akeem Richmond's season-best 25 points. Before transferring to ECU, the six-foot sharpshooter called the Thomas M. Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island home.

Richmond's six 3's (6-of-11) is nothing new for ECU coach Jeff Lebo and those who follow the program closely. Rather, it was the rest of the team shooting 8-of-15 from three-point range for a combined 14 that was a bit out of the ordinary.

In the interior, freshman Brandan Stith turned in another double-double with 11 points and a game-best 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, fellow forward Michael Zangari had 13 points and seven boards.

It wasn't until the 8:15 mark of the first half that the Pirates began creating a distance from the Cowboys; scoring eight straight points in just over a minute to extend their lead to 30-19. ECU went into halftime in-front 43-29.

McNeese State's (2-4) surge in the final 20 minutes wasn't all too strong as it only cut the deficit to single-digits once at 46-37 on a pair of Ledrick Eackles free throws. Eackles went on to collect a team-high 19 points and five helpers.

The Cowboys would not hang around much longer, though. ECU strung together a 12-2 run to stretch its lead to 19 points 58-39. The spurt was capped on Paris Roberts-Campbell's three-point jumper. The Pirates' senior shooting guard sported an impressive line: 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.

ECU would not let up down the stretch despite holding a substantial lead. In fact, its last field goal on Monday provided the game's largest lead at 91-59. As a result of their relentlessness, the Pirates outscored the Cowboys, 48-33, in the second half.

All eleven active players played for the Pirates and nine of them scored. Sophomore forward Marshall Guilmette was held out of the game with a right knee injury. His status is uncertain moving forward.

ECU will stay in Rhode Island to face UNC-Asheville Tuesday night to wrap up its NIT Season Tip-Off slate.

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