Pirates Win C-USA Tournament Opener Over Rice 68-66

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Darrius Morrow scored 16 points and Erin Straughn had 13 points and 11 rebounds as East Carolina defeated Rice 68-66 Wednesday in the opening game of the Conference USA tournament.

With the victory, the 10th-seeded Pirates advanced to the quarterfinals where they will play second-seeded Southern Miss on Thursday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

Maurice Kemp, who had 10 points, put the Pirates (15-15) ahead to stay, 66-64, on a layup with 57 seconds left - the game's 13th lead change.

Miguel Paul's two free throws widened the margin to 68-64, but the seventh-seeded Owls (17-15) cut it to 68-66 on Arsalan Kazemi's dunk at the 19-second mark. Paul missed a free throw for East Carolina, but Lucas Kuipers couldn't hit a tying jumper for Rice with 4 seconds remaining.

ECU trailed 60-54 with 8:03 to play following a 10-3 Owl run. However, the Pirates answered with a 10-3 of its own and retook the lead, 64-63, on a bucket by Morrow with 2:23 to play. Tamir Jackson tied the game with a free throw with 1:44 to play before Kemp put ECU ahead to stay.

The Pirates never led by more than four points.

Rice started the game on a 13-4 run to take its largest lead of the game in the first 4:26. ECU proceeded to out-score the Owls 14-4 over the next 3:19 to take its first lead of the game, 18-17, scoring nine straight points on 3s, including back-to-back triples from Paris Roberts-Campbell.

Roberts-Campbell added 12 points for the Pirates, making 4-of- 9 3-pointers, while the team converted 10-of-24 shots behind the arc. ECU shot 42.6 percent from the floor and Rice connected on 51.9 percent of its shots, marking just the second time this season that the Pirates won when yielding over 50 percent shooting to its opponent.

After ECU took a one-point lead, Rice scored the next six points but the Pirates never allowed it to stretch the lead beyond two possessions and trailed by only one at halftime, 33-32, despite being out-rebounded by the bigger Owls, 20-14. East Carolina reversed fortunes in the second half and dominated the battle of the boards 23-10, scoring 13 second chance points and holding Rice to one offensive rebound.

Kuipers and Kazemi scored 10 points each for Rice, and Kazemi had 12 rebounds, for the junior's 44th career double-double.

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 7, 2012 at 10:23 PM
    ECU stinks!! I hate ECU and Greenville!
    • reply
      by Alex on Mar 9, 2012 at 10:16 AM in reply to
      Very original. Did you come up with that all on your own?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 7, 2012 at 03:19 PM
    the big east cares... oh wait... nevermind
    • reply
      by Anonymous Too on Mar 7, 2012 at 05:53 PM in reply to
      you say that as if the Big East had any relevance anymore. Stop living in the past.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 08:14 AM in reply to Anonymous Too
        and conference usa is relevant right...i said that to show how delusional ECU is to think a major conference would ever want them. They are a mediocre mid major at best.. and that is all ECU will ever be.
        • reply
          by No quarter on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:04 AM in reply to
          Ohhh. You tell the future?
        • reply
          by Sam on Mar 9, 2012 at 11:11 PM in reply to
          If ECU football has been known as mediocre, then Dook, Kurliner, Mooooooooo U, and Fake Forest has been horrible in their histories. None of them would ever stand to win a Conference USA Championship and the ACC should lose their AQ tag as they are overrated. At least ECU beat the 2008 ACC Champions, the Va Tech Hokies. None of the in-state ACC schools can beat their own conference champion. That's sad but funny at the same time that the school you look down to, which is ECU has accomplished that, along with several other great achievements. It takes ignorance to think ECU would be at best a mediocre mid-major at best. The triangle schools are basically nothing more than mid-major in football.
  • by tarheel on Mar 7, 2012 at 01:03 PM
    who cares
    • reply
      by TruePirate on Mar 7, 2012 at 03:16 PM in reply to tarheel
      Clearly you do by commenting on this story, go troll somewhere else fake tarheel fan, just curious what year did you graduate from UNC? Probably didn't even go there. Great win Pirates!!!
      • reply
        by tarheel on Mar 9, 2012 at 12:55 AM in reply to TruePirate
        no while you where in school,I was defending my country in the marines,so when you want to talk to me about going to school ill take you their
      • reply
        by Sam on Mar 9, 2012 at 11:05 PM in reply to TruePirate
        None of us believe that you would have ever served the Marines you self-proclaimed tarheel. That's not what a Marine stands for. They don't staqnd for classless acts like your "who cares" comment. I have a cousin who was in the Marines and one in the Air Force. They have respect. Stop pretending like you have been involved with the military and embarrasing the true veterans who have fought for my nation.
    • reply
      by no quarter on Mar 7, 2012 at 03:25 PM in reply to tarheel
      this guy!!! and all true pirate fans!
    • reply
      by JKL on Mar 7, 2012 at 04:29 PM in reply to tarheel
      I certainly don't. ECU basketball is and always will be a joke.
      • reply
        by joker on Mar 7, 2012 at 05:54 PM in reply to JKL
        Yeah, as much as a joke as UNC's athletic academic integrity.
      • reply
        by JR on Mar 7, 2012 at 06:18 PM in reply to JKL
        vc VCU is a joke right,last year final four ,I can ECU ,we are going in the right direction .I'ts easy to point fingers .
      • reply
        by SamIam on Mar 8, 2012 at 05:13 AM in reply to JKL
        JKL thanks again for commenting on ECU athletics and giving our story more hits and views it does make a differnece. Bless your heart.
      • reply
        by So is their football on Mar 9, 2012 at 05:28 AM in reply to JKL
        Don't fool yourself......
      • reply
        by Sam on Mar 9, 2012 at 11:06 PM in reply to JKL
        JKL is a joke to the concept of humanity.

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