For only the second time in conference play, ECU scored more in the second half than it did in the first half. The Pirates only scored 22 points in the first half, but came out and scored 45 in the second. The last time that happened was January 16 against Florida Atlantic when the Pirates scored 34 second-half points after scoring 33 in the first.
In fact, they improved on plenty aspects of their game from the first to second half. The undersized Pirates only scored eight points in the paint in the first stanza. After halftime, though, they got down low and attacked the rim more and finished with 22 points in the paint.
In general, ECU played each possession better in the second half. Nearly a quarter of first-half possessions resulted in a turnover for the Pirates. Their second-half turnover percentage was only 8.8. Furthermore, they only scored .667 points per possession and improved to 1.32 points per possession in the second.
Even so, the story has remained consistent. Middle Tennessee simply overpowered the depleted Pirates.
ECU kept up with the Blue Raiders through the first six minutes of the game. Then Middle Tennessee opened up the game with a 25-5 lead over a span of just over 10 minutes. Shawn Jones, who led Middle Tennessee in scoring with 22 points and had a double-double, had six of those points.
The Blue Raiders never looked back.
Neiko Hunter and Kerry Hammonds II—the other two members of the Blue Raider senior trio—also made significant impacts. Raymond had eight points, seven rebounds and two assists. Hunter had another eight points and two rebounds. In total, Middle Tennessee had 10 players score and had 23 of its points come from the bench.
ECU had a sort of second wind in the second half of the game, which is rare. Recently, the trend has been that the Pirates get fatigued and allow the game to slip away after halftime. Such was the case against Southern Miss. ECU led 42-38 with 13:25 left in the game before the Golden Eagles went on an 18-1 to secure the win.
Even so, ECU wasn't even able to come within single digits of Middle Tennessee. All the Blue Raiders had to do was remain consistent.
The Pirates looked better in this loss than they have in others recently. They shot 41 percent from the field—including 50 percent in the second half. Last week, ECU recorded two season low shooting percentages against Tulane and Southern Miss (36 percent on Thursday then 32 on Saturday).
The Pirates will have some more time on the road to contemplate their most recent loss. They'll be trying again for their first C-USA win at UAB. That game is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m.