Pirates out-gun Keydets in shootout

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- ECU (10-2) defeated VMI (6-5) 103-94 at Minges Coliseum Thursday and had six players score into double figures, which included three career-high performances.

Three separate Pirates set new career scoring-highs Thursday night to pace East Carolina to a 103-94 victory against the Virginia Military Institution.

ECU (10-2) eclipsed the century mark for the first time this year on 56 percent shooting behind the career-nights of Caleb White (24 points), Prince Williams (22) and Michael Zangari (17) and its collective dominance of the Keydets (6-5), 35-22, on the glass.

The trio went 18-for-24 (75 percent) from the floor, with Williams converting all five of his field-goal tries, to make up for the off-shooting nights of shooting guards Paris Roberts-Campbell and Akeem Richmond. The Pirates' two leading scorers struggled from the field -- shooting 7-of-24 combined (29 percent -- but still mustered double-figure outings.

"It was an offensive show out there. It wasn't a defensive battle by any stretch of the imagination, but I was proud of the way that we understood the offensive game-plan," said ECU coach Jeff Lebo. "We needed (secondary scoring). That's been the recipe to give us trouble when (Roberts-Campbell and Richmond) don't shoot the ball at a high level."

ECU scored a season-high 44 points in the paint thanks in large part to Zangari and freshman Brandan Stith, who captured his third double-double of the year with 10 points and 10 rebounds. And although it can be easy to simply look at their individual statistics, a lot of their success can be credited to the driving capabilities of the Pirates' guards to set up open looks.

Prince Williams
(Kat Jessick/InsideECUSports.com)
"Being surrounded by so many great teammates, they make way for a lot of opportunities and a lot of open shots," said White. "Penetration from Prince, Akeem and Paris (provides) open shots, (and) driving lanes. It's a team effort."

Averaging 89 points per game this season, Duggar Baucom's Keydets have proven time and time again they are a prolific force offensively and Thursday was no different. In fact, VMI shot 52 percent, but it was not nearly enough to capture its first road win of the year.

Senior guard Rodney Glasgow supplied 17 first-half points, but was bottled up for the lions-share of the second half. He would finish with a game-high 25 points on 7-of-13 shooting.

The game swayed back in forth in the first 20 minutes with four lead-changes and five ties. ECU's largest lead of the half was eight points – 36-28 – after Zangari's lay-up capped an 8-0 run. It ended up being the Pirates' highest-scoring first half of the season and they went into the locker room leading VMI 49-45.

ECU would not surrender its lead again and put the game out of reach in the early stages of the second half. Following a made-jumper by VMI's Trey Chapman, the Pirates reeled off a back-breaking 16-2 run that gave them their largest lead of the game at 70-52.

Richmond hit his first three field goals during the spurt on his way to 16 second-half points. He closed the game with 18 points. Despite Williams' five assists to go along with his offensive outburst, he was more focused on what he could do to improve moving forward after the game.

"I still can't get over I had six turnovers tonight," he said. "That is something I've really been trying to fix when it comes to being a point guard and leading the team."

The Pirates had 11 turnovers as a team, but 21 assists on Thursday. ECU will have a quick turnaround when it travels to Raleigh to face the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Saturday. Tip-off time is set for Noon.

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