East Carolina shooting guards Paris Roberts-Campbell and Akeem Richmond recaptured their rhythm against the North Carolina A&T Aggies Saturday at Minges Coliseum.
Each of them supplied 21 points apiece less than a week removed from shooting 4-of-19 combined against Mount Olive to lead the Pirates (9-2) to a comfortable 84-71 victory over the Aggies (3-7).
“It felt really good to get that bad taste out of our mouths because we really didn’t play well against Mount Olive,” said Richmond. “We had a whole week to get in the gym and get up a lot of shots … and I’m glad we came back and played really well tonight.
Roberts-Campbell finished a point shy of tying his career-high, dished out six assists and grabbed five rebounds. Meanwhile, three other players scored into double-figures as the Pirates shot 50 percent from the floor (24-of-48).
Junior point guard Antonio Robinson started his first game of the year, but got into foul trouble early on – he committed his third personal at the 8:16 mark of the first half. In his absence, sophomore Prince Williams stepped in for 12 points, five assists and five rebounds.
“(Robinson) has been playing better and he’s earned the start. Then he’s sitting with three fouls in three minutes. One of them was a tough call for the kid,” said ECU coach Jeff Lebo. “They do play together some and with us only playing seven guys, we’ve got to get them playing well together.”
The Aggies jumped out in front 6-4 in the game’s opening moments, but the Pirates responded with a 13-0 run and never looked back. ECU led by as many as 19 points in the first half behind Richmond’s 15 first-half points. The score at halftime was 44-27.
All of Zangari’s 10 points were scored in the first 20 minutes. And although he struggled in the second half, Saturday’s game ended a streak of three consecutive sub-par outings for him and is a performance Lebo hopes the 6-9 sophomore can build off of.
“He’s not a confident kid. He’s still trying to figure it out,” said Lebo. “I talked to him and said ‘you’re going to have to play through your mistakes. This is a great opportunity for you to gain confidence because you shouldn’t be worried about getting the pull.’ We got nobody else down there.”
In the second half, Roberts-Campbell caught fire to put the game out of reach. In fact, he had a hand in eight straight ECU points – culminating with a lay-up – that gave the Pirates their largest lead of the game at 71-43.
A&T remains winless on the road despite its two leading scorers Lamont Middleton and Richaud Park doing their part. The duo combined for over half of the team’s scoring with 36 points. The Aggies shot just under 40 percent from the field (8-of-24).
ECU will return to action Thursday, Dec. 19 against Virginia Military Academy. Tip-off time is set for 7 p.m. at Minges Coliseum.