Pirates can’t keep up with TigersPublished 7:26pm Thursday, January 31, 2013
By ECU Sports Information
GREENVILLE — East Carolina junior Ty Armstrong scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but Memphis guard Joe Jackson torched the nets for 26 points as the Tigers’ won their 11th straight game with a 75-68 victory over the Pirates.
The Pirates (12-8, 3-4) trailed by 11, 71-60, with 1:02 to play, but reeled off eight straight points to cut the lead to three, 12. Akeem Richmond buried a 3, Armstrong made a jumped in the lane and Prince Williams converted a traditional 3-point play.
Forced to foul, ECU sent Memphis junior Chris Crawford to the free throw, where he promptly sank a pair of free throws to put the Tigers (17-3, 6-0) ahead by five with 14 seconds to go.
Richmond misfired on the ensuing possession and Memphis grabbed the rebound. Jackson made two free throws to complete the scoring.
Richmond was one of four Pirates to score double figures, netting 12 off the bench. Miguel Paul added 15 points and Maurice Kemp had 13, playing all 40 minutes.
The Pirates played without the services of senior Shamarr Bowden, who was serving a one-game suspension, and junior Ralph Sampson, who was nursing a knee injury.
The start of the game was a struggle for both teams. Memphis made just 1 of its first 10 field goal attempts, while the Pirates converted just 3 of their first 15 shots. After 10 minutes of play, ECU held a slim 10-8 lead.
Eventually, both teams found their rhythm and began to score. Richmond gave the Pirates a 13-9 lead with his second of four 3-pointers with 9:11 left in the half. Jackson then gave Memphis its first lead of the game, 16-15, with his first of four 3-pointers.
The two teams traded the lead five times in the final seven minutes before Adonis Thomas scored four straight points to put the Tigers ahead by three with 1:16 left before intermission. Paris Roberts-Campbell sored to cut the lead to one and the first 20 minutes ended with Memphis ahead by one, 28-27.
The game remained a two-possession contest for the first six minutes of the second half until the Tigers made four consecutive 3s, two by Jackson and one each from Crawford and Geron Johnson, to push their lead to 12, 49-37.
A breakaway dunk by Kemp and two free throws from Paul, after a technical foul on Shaq Goodwin, brought ECU back within four. However, Memphis scored the next six points to push its lead back to double figures with 6:37 to play.
The Tigers matched their largest lead of the game, 12, with 2:00 to go.
Johnson added 13 points for Memphis and Crawford had 11. Goodwin grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers, who out-rebounded the Pirates by 16.
Memphis’ biggest advantage came at the free throw line, making 19-of-28 compared to the Pirates’ 8-of-14.
After shooting just 32.4 percent in the first half, Memphis connected on 58.3 percent of its attempts in the second.
The Pirates shot 47.1 percent after halftime, but couldn’t find its much needed 3-point stroke. ECU went just 2-of-10 behind the arc in the second half and finished just 4-of-18 (.222) for the game.
Time and time again, Memphis seemed to erase the Pirates shots in the lane. The Tigers blocked 10 shots, including four from D.J. Stephens.