East Carolina seeks to string together consecutive wins for just the second time this season and the first time since entering conference play. It won’t be easy, though, as the Pirates host Memphis—a team that beat them 70-58 less than two weeks ago.
ECU (10-13, 3-7 American) is coming off a 67-49 win over Central Florida over the weekend. Caleb White scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead his team to victory. Terry Whisnant and B.J. Tyson—ECU’s other leading scorers—combined for another 21 points.
The Pirates continued to play well on the defensive side, too. UCF’s leading scorer, B.J. Taylor, was held to just 10 points and ECU kept its opponent from breaking the 50-point marker for the second time in three games.
The Pirates’ defense has come together as the team gains chemistry and better understands its 2-3 zone. Memphis (14-9, 6-4) may struggle to find offense as leading scorer Austin Nichols, who scored 21 last time the two met, suffered a sprained ankle in a 61-60 loss to Temple on Saturday.
Trashon Burrell and Avery Woodson are two players that will aim to fill the void left by Nichols. The two combine for about 17 points a game.
ECU’s game at Memphis on Jan. 28 was one of six games thus far that saw the Pirates make 10 or more shots from beyond the arc and still come up short. They made 13 treys, but only scored 58 points. Since then, though, ECU has found ways to score elsewhere.
Last time out versus UCF, ECU scored 44 of its 67 points in the paint, even though the Knights had two players standing at least 6-foot-10. The Pirates won’t be quite as undersized against Memphis, as the Tigers don’t have a player taller than 6-foot-9.
That said, Michael Zangari’s status for Tuesday is unknown. Zangari, who scored 10 points Saturday against UCF, was helped off the court in the second half after suffering what appeared to be a leg injury.
That leaves Michel Nzege and Marshall Guilmette as ECU’s go-to players at the rim. The two combined for six points and seven rebounds against the Knights.
Another place ECU has been looking to score is the free-throw line. The Pirates only attempted three shots from the charity stripe last time they played Memphis. They showed marginal improvement in that regard against UCF—due in part to getting better at finding offense inside.
Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. in Minges. Follow the action on ESPNU or the Pirates IMG Network.