Coming into this game ECU had just earned two big conference wins against UCF and Houston. The key thing to note is that both these wins came in the friendly confines of Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates have struggled all season long on the road and this game against Marshall was a chance for them to prove they can get their first conference road win.
The Pirates started the game giving up easy points. The Herd got out to a 12-0 start before ECU had scored their first bucket; which eventually came five minutes into the game. From then on the Herd took it to the Pirates building as much as a 25-point lead at one point in the half.
Turnovers leading to easy points killed the Pirates; they quadrupled the Herd’s number of turnovers by 12-3 in the first half. The team also struggled from the field, shooting just 9 for 31 overall and 1 for 7 from behind the arc. Paul led the Pirates in scoring in the first half with 13 points and Sampson showed up with 11 rebounds; but the Herd would lead 43-23 at halftime.
The second half started with a 6-0 run by ECU; similar to how they came out firing against Memphis three games ago after being down 20 at half on the road. However; Memphis let the Pirates come within six points, while Marshall never let the Pirates pull within 14. The second half was hard to watch at times because every time ECU would show signs of life the Herd would build the lead back up; leading as much as 29 points at one point.
The scoring came in droves for Marshall; they had four players in double figures. DeAndre Kane led the way for the Herd with 22 pts and 8 assists; while the Pirates leading scorer was Miguel Paul, he fouled out with 2:25 remaining in the game. Paul had 17 pts and 5 asists. Robert Sampson finished with 10 pts and 17 rebounds; one rebound away from his career high.
Akeem Richmond hit three 3-pointers in under three minutes in the second half; but didn’t end up scoring his first points until under seven minutes left in the game. Kemp, who had 30 points last game, was very quiet for his standards as well. These two scorers will be a key if the Pirates plan to turn it around on the road.
ECU lost 77-56, their largest margin of loss this season. The team shot 33% overall in this game; a field goal percentage that won’t cut it if they plan on winning more games. This loss moves the Pirates to 2-2 in C-USA and an alarming 1-5 on the road.
It’s the same old story just a different game for East Carolina. They have yet to prove to fans that they can go on the road into a hostile environment and get a statement conference win. With a couple days off to lick their wounds the team will need to start preparing for their next home conference test; which will come Wednesday Jan 23 at UAB. The Pirates can choose whether to shake this one off or let it beat them twice. Follow @InsideECUSports on Twitter for live updates.