Savannah State (19-14) at East Carolina (18-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 19, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum (8,000) -- Greenville, North Carolina. Television: None. CIT Record: Savannah State 0-0, East Carolina 0-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: The Savannah State Tigers and the East Carolina Pirates will meet up in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Tuesday night.
The second round matchup for the winner will be determined based on results from the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday's first-round contests.
Coming out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is Savannah State which sports a 19-14 record overall but lost four of its final six games including a 64-61 overtime setback against Morgan State in the conference Tournament. A win on Tuesday would give the Tigers their second 20 win campaign in as many seasons after the team failed to do so in its first nine seasons at the Division I level.
Representing Conference USA is East Carolina which had won four of five contests before falling to Tulsa, 79-72, in the first round of its league tournament. The Pirates would need two more wins to reach 20 victories for this season which would be the first time they have accomplished that feat in their 47 seasons at the Division I level.
This contest marks the first time these teams have been matched up in the regular or postseason.
Savannah State had a chance to tie the game with Morgan State and force a second overtime last time out but failed to get off a shot in the last seven seconds of overtime. Deven Williams led three Tigers in double figures with 20 points while hitting all four of their shots from 3-point range.
Scoring as been the problem for Savannah State this season. The Tigers are one of the 10 worst teams in the country in points per game (56.5) this season while netting 41.9 percent from the floor. However they have been able to combat that lack of offensive success by really tightening up on defense. Opponents are scoring just 55.2 points per game on 39.1 percent shooting against the Tigers. Each of those marks is among the 30 best in the nation. Rashad Hassan (12.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Preston Blackman (11.9 ppg, 3.5 apg) and Arnold Louis (8.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg) are the primary contributors for the Tigers.
Despite holding an eight-point lead early in the second half and shooting at a 55.2 percent clip in the period, the Pirates were still bested by Tulsa, 79-72, last time out. East Carolina allowed the Golden Hurricane to net 62.1 percent of their shots from the floor in the second half and were outscored 13-4 from the free-throw line during the frame.
Maurice Kemp (18.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg) was sensational yet again for the Pirates as he hung up 24 points and 11 rebounds for his eighth double-double this season. The 6-foot-8 forward has really turned it up down the stretch as he has scored at least 20 points in four straight contests and eight of the last 10. Miguel Paul (13.2 ppg, 6.9 apg) is an excellent playmaker with his ability to score and distribute, while Akeem Richmond (11.3 ppg) really brings a spark off the bench. With such talented scorers the Pirates have been one of the better offensive teams in the country this season ranking among the 20 in points (77 ppg) and assists (17.4 pg).
This is a classic matchup of strong defense versus powerful offense. This time around offense will win out as the Pirates have too many scoring options for Savannah State to match.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: East Carolina 72, Savannah State 62
03/19 10:40:06 ET