Aaron Bacote had 13 points for the Monarchs and Dimitri Batten Richard Ross each added 12 points. ODU's scorers worked efficiently en route to the 21-point win, but ECU's defense performed better than it did last time the two squads met.
For one, ODU didn't score 81 points on ECU this time around. Since their last meeting, the Pirates have realized that with such a depleted roster and lack of size, running a zone defense is the best option.
It worked, too. Not only have the Pirates incorporated the zone defense into their strategy, but they've also had plenty of time to adjust to the new defensive system. They managed to hold the Monarchs to 13 fewer points, but they also played a lot better down lot. ODU also only scored 36 points down low, compared to the 50 scored in the paint when ECU hosted the showdown.
Paris Roberts-Campbell made an impact for ECU for the first time in a few games. He's been working through an injury, but seemed to return to form in Norfolk. In his last two games, he had four points in 42 minutes of game time when he had been the team's third highest scorer. He returned to form by reaching double digits against ODU with 10 points, which just barely trailed behind Caleb White's 12 points.
What hurt the Pirates was that they were led by a 12-point scorer. While White is the team's second best scorer, senior Akeem Richmond didn't carry his weight. The team's leading scorer went 1-for-7 from the field with all of those being three-point attempts. He finished with six points by adding three free throws to that one made trey.
That one three pointer was enough to put him at 400 career made treys, though.
On top of that, ECU couldn't compete with ODU down low. ODU outscored ECU in the paint 36-17, which isn't as bad as the 50 points in the paint the Monarchs had to ECU's 24 back in January. It was, however, enough to win the game.
The Monarchs also out-rebounded the Pirates 36-29. While the margin isn't huge, what hurt ECU is that ODU's rebounding was distributed among its players while a lot of ECU's rebounding was concentrated among a few players. Roberts-Campbell led the Pirates with seven rebounds, Brandan Stith had six and Michael Zangari had five. ODU distributed rebounding. Denzell Taylor and Richard Ross each had six rebounds. Aaron Bacote and Keenan Palmore also added four rebounds apiece, too.
ECU's defense performed better down low, but Richmond couldn't lead the offense to the kind of performance that would lead the Pirates past the Monarchs. Even though they held ODU to less points and held them out of the paint better, their top scorers didn't deliver the kind of performance to carry them to a win in their final game of the season.