In its last contest, ECU fell to Georgia State 89-82 five players scoring double digits and Akeem Richmond totaling 21. Manny Atkins led a dominant Panthers' offense that the Pirates couldn't quite keep up with.
Campbell and ECU have competed in some nail biters in the past few seasons. Last year, the Camels went on an 11-0 run in overtime to topple the Pirates 86-81.
This time around, the two squads seemed poised for another close contest. ECU and Campbell have had similar seasons thus far.
For one, both lean heavily on three-point shooting. ECU averages 8.5 3-pointers a game while Campbell is averaging 8.7. On top of that, both teams lost to North Carolina State and UNC-Wilmington.
Since Campbell can keep up behind the arc, ECU is going to have to find other ways to pull ahead. Getting to the line is one viable option. The Pirates are third in the NCAA in free throws made (301). For that strategy to be successful, though, they'll have to continue to keep opponents away from the line. If the first 14 games of the season have been any indication, the Pirates should be just fine in this regard. Not only have they held opponents to just 262 free-throw attempts, but Campbell has made a mere 140 free throws.
Dominating the boards should be another way for the Pirates to get an edge on Campbell. Both average just over 11 offensive rebounds per game, so taking advantage of those second chances will be vital to pulling ahead.
Brandan Stith, who is among Conference-USA's best in rebounding, will be important to that success. The 6'7" forward is averaging just under 10 rebounds a game. Saturday versus Georgia State marked Stith's eighth double-digit rebounding game of the season. He had 12 boards.
Simply put, ECU will have to take advantage of opportunities—something it couldn't do throughout a lot of its last game. Georgia State gave up plenty of turnovers in the first half, but the Pirates only notched four points off them.
ECU has all the offensive weapons to take over the scoreboard. Campbell's highest scorer, Darius Leonard, averages 12.2 points a game. ECU has three players above that mark: Akeem Richmond (18.8), Paris Roberts-Campbell (14.1) and Caleb White (12.7).
Scoring has been a forte for the Pirates. In their last three games, they're averaging 88 points. That's not the problem. The problem is the 91.3 points, on average, they've given up in that span.
Even though Campbell's 67.4 points per game average makes it seem like ECU shouldn't have a problem with running away with the game, the Pirates will have to be sound on defense to limit chances.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Pope Convocation Center in Buies Creek, Nc. Fans can follow the game on the Pirates IMG Network and get score updates on Twitter @InisdeECUSports.