GAME NOTES: The East Carolina Pirates hit the road for the first time this season, as they take on the Georgia State Panthers at the GSU Sports Arena on Monday.
Jeff Lebo's Pirates have yet to taste defeat in the early stages of this new campaign. East Carolina opened up with a four-game homestand and defeated Washington & Lee, Methodist, UNC Greensboro and most recently, Appalachian State (82-72).
Ron Hunter's Panthers began the year with back-to-back road losses at Duke and BYU, but have bounced back on their current five-game homestand, winning the first three games, with victories over Monmouth, Tennessee State and finally South Alabama (75-73).
East Carolina won the only other meeting between these two programs, that was an 88-79 decision back in 1974.
It was another impressive victory for East Carolina in the 10-point win over the Mountaineers last time out. Maurice Kemp posted a team-high 21 points and finished off a double-double with 11 rebounds. Robert Sampson was equally dominant, finishing with 17 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, while Miguel Paul added 14 points for the Pirates, who doled out 15 assists overall and recorded 10 steals in the game.
The Pirates have shown themselves to be a strong offensive team in the early going. ECU is averaging a healthy 79.2 ppg, enjoying a solid +17.8 scoring margin. Kemp and Paul have been a dynamic duo in the scoring column, averaging 19.3 and 19.0 ppg, respectively. Both are shooting over 50 percent from the floor, while Kemp is a key contributor on the boards as well (8.5 rpg). Depth comes in the form of Akeem Richmond (9.5 ppg), Sampson (9.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg) and Marshall Guilmette (9.0 ppg).
Manny Atkins and R.J. Hunter combined for 51 points against South Alabama, as Georgia State won its third straight game at home as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic subregional. Atkins led the team with 26 points, with five 3- pointers, while Hunter poured in 25 points, with three treys. Cameron Solomon provided solid minutes off the bench, tallying 10 points in 18 minutes of work.
The Panthers have a winning record despite a -4.0 scoring margin at this time. Offensive proficiency has not be a strength for GSU thus far, as the team is averaging a modest 62.6 ppg on just .427 shooting. Devonta White, who had just nine points in the win over South Alabama, still leads the team in scoring at 15.4 ppg. Hunter is next in line at 14.4 ppg, followed by Atkins' 11.6 ppg. The scoring pool dries up after that, as no other Panther is putting up more than 6.6 ppg (Solomon).
The Panthers have been a different team in their own building, but Kemp and Paul have been almost unstoppable this season. They should continue to lead the way for ECU, which in turn, will prove it can win on the road, as well as at home.
Game Date and Time