Gameday Central: East Carolina vs. UTEP

GREENVILLE, NC Feb. 5, 2014

• With its first Conference USA victory under its belt, East Carolina will look for back-to-back wins as they host UTEP for the final time Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 9:02 p.m. and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.
•The Pirates will also be trying to snap a four-game losing streak at home. ECU is 6-5 at home this season, but hasn’t won on its own floor this calendar year.
•UTEP enters the contest on a six-game winning streak. The Miners currently own a share of first-place in Conference USA with a 6-1 record.
•The Miners have the league’s best defense, holding opponents to 38.0 percent shooting. They also have the top field goal percent defense in conference play, allowing their opponents to shoot just 39.3 percent; they also have the highest field goal percentage in league games at 47.5 percent.
•Both teams have three players averaging double figures. ECU’s Akeem Richmond (2nd), Paris Roberts-Campbell (16) and UTEP’s Julian Washburn (9th) rank among the top 20 in the conference in scoring.

East Carolina Pirates men's basketball

•ECU will be wearing their black uniforms at home for the first time this season as the game has been designated a “Blackout” with all fans being encouraged to wear black.
•The first 1,000 students will receive a free black headband from Coca-Cola.
•The ECU football team will be recognized at halftime for winning the 2013 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. Fan can get their picture taken with the trophy starting a 7:30 p.m. near Gate 3 of Minges Coliseum.
•On-campus residents are encouraged to meet at Todd Dining Hall at 7 p.m. for presume festivities and then #MarchtoMinges for the game. Those students who participate will have the opportunity to register for a chance to win free room and board for a semester or a $200 book voucher.

• Prior to UTEP joining Conference USA in 2006, the Pirates and Miners had never met on the basketball court. Thursday night’s game will mark the ninth meeting in the series, which UTEP leads 6-2.
•The Pirates are 2-2 at home against the Miners, but winless in El Paso (0-4).
•ECU won its only C-USA game of the 2007 season as it defeated UTEP, 79-78, with senior Courtney Captain hitting a 3 with 8.3 seconds left in his final home game.
•Jamar Abrams scored 25 points and Jontae Sherrod poured in 21 points in the Pirates’ 83-76 win in Greenville in 2011. ECU was 35-of-45 at the free throw line.
•McKenzie Moore sank a 3-pointer from just inside midcourt as time expired to help UTEP edge ECU, 68-67, at Minges Coliseum last season just after Miguel Paul had a driving layup with 4.4 seconds left to give the Pirates a two-point lead.

• Senior Akeem Richmond needs five 3-pointers to break his own school record for most 3s in a season. He made 105 as a junior and had made 101 through 23 games this year.

• ECU will be back in action at home Saturday against Conference USA newcomer UTA at 5 p.m. It’ll be the first-ever meeting between the Pirates and Roadrunners.
• The Pirates will be back on the road next week for games at Tulsa (Feb. 13) and North Texas (Feb. 15). Both games are scheduled for 8 p.m. EST.