East Carolina (13-15) at Tulane (15-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 3, 8:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Fogelman Arena (3,600) -- New Orleans, Louisiana. Television: Local. Home Record: ECU 10-7, Tulane 12-4. Away Record: ECU 2-8, Tulane 2-10. Neutral Record: ECU 1-0, Tulane 1-0. Conference Record: ECU 4-11, Tulane 3-12. Series Record: Tulane leads, 9-5.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Conference-USA teams close out the regular season tonight in the Big Easy, when the Tulane Green Wave play host to the Pirates of East Carolina at Fogelman Arena.
East Carolina managed to stop a five-game losing streak in thrilling fashion on Wednesday night, notching a 69-68 overtime verdict against Marshall. The win pushed the Pirates to 13-15 overall on the year, but earned the club only their fourth victory against C-USA foes.
As for Tulane, it has to be happy to see the calendar flip over to March, as February was not kind at all to the Green Wave. The club went 1-8 over the 29- day span, finishing things off with a six-game skid that includes an embarrassing 82-53 setback at Houston on Wednesday evening. The Green Wave dropped to 13-15 overall during their recent woes, and the club owns a meager 3-12 mark in league play.
Tulane owns a 9-5 edge in terms of the brief history between the two programs on the hardwood.
The Pirates overcame a halftime deficit for the first time all season when the squad claimed its overtime win against Marshall on Wednesday. The Thundering Herd led by just two, 34-32, heading into the break, but maintained the advantage through the first 7:24 of the second stanza. The two squads traded the lead four times over the next three minutes and change, however, but Marshall pulled away with an 8-2 run with just over five minutes left in regulation. But the Pirates continued to claw back, scoring the next six points to earn a four-point cushion with two minutes remaining on the clock. Marshall scored the last four points of the stanza, however, and forced an extra session. The Pirates were held to without a field goal in overtime, but went 6-for-13 at the foul line, which was enough to preserve a one-point win. The Pirates shot 46.2 percent from the field overall during the contest, and although the club was outrebounded by a 40-25 margin, ECU made up for the deficit by forcing a game-high 20 turnovers. Darrius Morrow poured in a game- high 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the way for the Pirates, while Maurice Kemp chipped in 10 points to go with eight boards from off the bench. The majority of the Pirates' success, albeit limited, this season has come from a rather stingy defense that has limited the opposition to 65.1 points per game on a 43.3 percent shooting clip. At the other end of the court however, the Pirates too own a meager 43.3 team shooting mark, and net 68.7 ppg. The club is hitting only 34.2 percent of its opportunities from three-point land, and has struggled even at the foul line (68.1 percent) as well. Paul Miguel currently leads ECU in scoring with a 15.3 ppg tally, and he is joined in double figures only by Morrow, who nets 13.7 points to go with 6.1 rebounds per contest.
Tulane converted a lackluster 32.2 percent of its attempts from the floor during the loss to Houston, a mark that included just 5-of-21 from long range. The Green Wave were beaten on the glass by a 41-27 margin as well, and allowed the Cougars to shoot at a blistering 60.3 percent pace. On a bright note, the Green Wave did force a a game-high 12 turnovers while being guilty of just nine miscues themselves, but the squad really took a beating down-low, with a 46-26 scoring difference in the paint. Josh Davis finished with a double- double of 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the way for Tulane in the loss, representing the only player to achieve double figures during the contest. What flash Tulane lacks on offense, the club makes up for on defense, where opponents have been allowed to net a mere 61.1 ppg up to this point. The Opposition has been stifled to the tune of 42.0 percent from the field, and the Green Wave have forced 421 turnovers through 29 tests. Despite an underwhelming 65.1 ppg tally themselves, Tulane boasts four players that currently own a double-figure scoring average, beginning with Ricky Tarrant and his 15.2 ppg. Kendall Timmons follows (13.6 ppg), while Jordan Callahan has been responsible for 11.9 ppg. Davis rounds the squad out, chipping in 11.0 points to go with a team-leading 9.4 rebounds per contest.
This should be a low-scoring affair, and the type of matchup that comes down to the final seconds. Give the homecourt edge to Tulane, but don't be surprised if ECU earns a rare road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulane 69, East Carolina 67
03/03 10:43:43 ET