Two days ago the Pirates men’s basketball team opened up conference play on the road against the Memphis Tigers. This game was disappointing for the Pirates as they started the game ice cold and went down double digits early; eventually resulting in a twenty point differential at half time.
The Pirates stayed focused and came out strong in the second half putting up 16 points in the first four minutes. At the final the Pirates had mounted an impressive comeback, eventually drawing within five points of the Tigers, but it was “too little, too late” as the Tigers would stay unbeaten at home against ECU.
Last season the Pirates struggled in conference posting a record of 5-11. This season the team has a chance to show fans that they can get those all-important conference wins, despite this early loss to Memphis.
East Carolina will have their next conference test tomorrow night Jan 12 as they will face UCF at home. The key word to in that last statement is “home”. Home is where the Pirates like to play and it is no secret as they have won eight of their last nine games at Minges. While none of these games were against conference opponents, this should play a factor into their game against UCF.
This game will be personal for the Pirates as they will look to exact some revenge against a Knights team who beat them in their Conference USA home-opener last season. However, UCF will be coming into Minges ready to play having just earned their first conference win against UAB earlier in the week.
UCF is a very talented shooting team; they lead C-USA in field goal percentage at 49.2, a percentage that ranks 14th in the nation. This game should be a high scoring affair as both teams are at the top of the conference in 3-point field goals made per game. Akeem Richmond is the Pirates deep threat averaging 2.5 three-pointers a game; while the Knight’s sophomore guard Kasey Wilson is shooting a C-USA best 56.1% from three-point range.
This game could come down to the wire, or the Knights could end up coming to Minges and leaving with a decisive win like last season. Whether the Pirates win will depend on if they come out fast and get up on this team early. UCF isn’t a team that has had to play from behind this season on many occasions; so if the Pirates come out firing they could throw the Knights out of rhythm and get an important conference win.
Tomorrow night’s game is going to be a nice chance for the Pirates to respond after dropping their first conference game in an ugly fashion. After a game like that fans should expect to see a fired up team hungry for a win. Follow @InsideECUSports on Twitter for live updates of the game tomorrow night; tip-off from Minges is at 7 p.m.