Maurice Kemp scores 23 points for Pirates in 72-63 victory.
From wire and staff reports
TULSA, Okla. Feb. 20, 2013 – Maurice Kemp scored 23 points and East Carolina rode a game-ending 21-7 run to a 72-63 victory over Conference USA foe Tulsa on Wednesday night.
The win snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Hurricane and was the Pirates’ first on the Tulsa campus. It also propelled the Pirates into a tie for fifth-place with Tulsa in the Conference USA standings at 6-6. The top five seeds in next month’s C-USA tournament get a bye into the quarterfinals.
“It was kind of an odd game, but I was really proud of my team at the end,” ECU Head Coach Jeff Lebo said. “We’ve lost some heartbreaking games with runs, but we actually won this one. We were aided by Tulsa’s rough night from the foul line, but it was a big win for us on the road.”
Kemp, who came in averaging a conference-leading 18 points per game, was 9 of 14 from the floor for the Pirates (15-10), recording his 10th 20-point game of the season. Akeem Richmond added 17 points off the bench, sinking five 3-pointers. Ty Armstrong scored 13 and Paris Roberts-Campbell nearly posted his first career double-double, but finished just shy with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Scottie Haralson had 20 points for the Golden Hurricane (14-12), who led 56-51 after Haralson’s jumper with 6:41 to play. After Roberts-Campbell made 1-of-2 free throws, Richmond scored nine straight points on three 3-pointers to put East Carolina ahead to stay as part of a 10-0 run. The Pirates had reserved the margin in 2:11 and led 61-56 with 4:30 to play.
“Richmond can get it going from outside the 3-point line,” Lebo said. “He’s been shooting the ball really well the last few games. He isn’t afraid to step up there and take the shot. He has a green light, even if I said it was yellow. It would still be green.”
East Carolina made 7-of-7 free throws over the final 1:50 to hold off the Hurricane and capture its’ first win in the series since the team’s initial meeting as C-USA foes in 2006.
Tulsa’s Haralson opened the game with a 3-pointer and the Hurricane was up one-point at 5-4 before Kemp’s 3-pointer gave ECU a 7-5 advantage at the 17:51 mark and it didn’t relinquish the lead the remainder of the first half. The Pirates took their largest lead of the half, 31-17, as Richmond buried a with 4:15 left before intermission.
After Kemp made his second 3 of the half to make it 34-20, the Pirates were held scoreless for the final three minutes. Tulsa closed out the opening 20 minutes on a 9-0 run. TU had scored three straight points before Kemp was whistled for a Flagrant One foul for swinging his elbows, which TU turned into a four-point play. D’Andre Wright then dunked the ball to cap the run and trim the Golden Hurricane’s deficit to five, 34-29, at halftime.
Tulsa connected on just 6-of-19 free throws, compared to 18-of-24 by the Pirates.
The Pirates played the game without the services of senior guard Shamarr Bowden, who sustained a shoulder injury in practice Tuesday. He is not expected to play Saturday either, when the Pirates travel to Dallas to take on SMU.