ECU men's basketball set to face rival UNCW
Longtime rivals ECU and UNCW will square off Tuesday night at 7 p.m. inside Trask Coliseum on the UNCW campus. This will be the 66th meeting in series history which began in 1963 with the Seahawks holding a 36-29 advantage.
This will be the sixth consecutive season the former conference rivals have played since the rivalry was renewed in 2013. UNCW has won three of the last five meetings and five of nine since ECU departed the CAA following the 2000-01 season.
ECU posted a 93-88 overtime victory against UNCW at home last season. Four players scored in double figures for the Pirates led by senior B.J. Tyson's 30 points. Isaac Fleming (21), Shawn Williams (15) and Dimitrije Spasojevic (10) combined for 46 in their first ECU-UNCW rivalry game.
The home team has won each of the last four meetings after the road team won the previous two games.
The Pirates (4-3) are coming off a 55-52 loss to High Point Saturday after being out-rebounded for just the second time this season, 42-37. Freshman Jayden Gardner led ECU with 18 points while sophomore Shawn Williams added 11.
ECU scored over 70 points in each of its first three games, but has been held under the mark in each of the last four games and limited to less than 55 points twice.
"We've got to find an offensive identity," ECU Head Coach Joe Dooley said. "We think our defensive stats and our defensive numbers have been good enough to win some games. I understand we've got a lot of new guys playing different roles, but we've got to get an offensive identity… We need to play with a little more pace."
Gardner leads the team in scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.4) and ranks among The American Top-10 in both categories. Junior Seth LeDay is also averaging double figures scoring (12.4 ppg) and sophomore Shawn Williams has scored double digits in each of his first two games back from suspension.
UNCW (3-4) is fresh off a 2-1 weekend at the inaugural VisitCurrituckOBX.com Battle In The Blue Ridge in Asheville. The Seahawks defeated Eastern Illinois in the third-place game Sunday after falling to Gardner-Webb in the semifinals Saturday. They opened the tournament with a win over Arkansas State.
Senior forward Devontae Cacok, who led the NCAA Division I ranks in rebounding last year, leads the nation in rebounding again this season with 12.7 rebounds per game. He is one of two players to average double digit points per game (16.7) for UNCW along with Jeantal Cylla (12.0 ppg). Three additional players are averaging more than 9.0 points per game.
"Cacok is a great player and Cylla is coming off a great weekend, so we've got some things we need to work on." Dooley said. "[Cacok] is terrific. He's got a high motor. We're going to have to put more than one guy on him… We'll have to find him and throw multiple bodies at him."