Pirates stampede Buffaloes

Published 10:19 pm Friday, November 11, 2011

East Carolina point guard Miguel Paul (0) goes up for a basket during the Pirates’ 101-45 season-opening win over Milligan on Friday night in Greenville. Paul scored a game-high 19 points. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

GREENVILLE — East Carolina second-year coach Jeff Lebo could not ask for a better start to the 2011-12 season as the Pirates had six players reach double-digit scoring totals in their 101-45 romp over Milligan on Friday.
The ECU assault was led by a host of new faces as Missouri transfer Miguel Paul poured in 19 points while dishing out a eight assists, both of which were game-highs.
Austin Steed, a senior forward who transferred from South Carolina, and Maurice Kemp, a junior forward transfer from Miami Dade College, each recorded double-doubles as the Pirates (1-0) stampeded the NAIA Buffaloes (2-3).
Kemp erupted for 15 points and 11 boards in 24 minutes, while Steed was sturdy with 11 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
For Paul, who had to sit out all of last season due to NCAA transfer rules, the wait was worth it.
“We worked hard and I finally found a place where I can play and show my full talents,” Paul said. “It was a pretty good win but the page has turned and we’re looking forward to Campbell.”
After the game, Lebo said he was impressed with the play of Paul, his junior point guard.
“I thought he was very solid and very efficient,” Lebo said.
Heading into the season opener Lebo was concerned about the team’s perimeter shooting, but on Friday the Pirates consistently buried shots from beyond the arc where they made 13 of their 21 attempts.
Freshman Paris Roberts-Campbell and junior Shamarr Bowden, a transfer from Chipola College, flashed silky-smooth jumpers and scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. Campbell hit four of his five three-point attempts, while Bowden was 3-for-3 from downtown.
Bowden had been trying to find consistency with his jumper throughout training camp but looked sharp against Milligan on Friday.
“It was nice to see Shamarr Bowden shoot the ball,” Lebo said. “He’s been struggling in the preseason and it was nice to see him make some shots. He really works hard on his game.”
East Carolina jumped out to a fast start and took a 14-2 lead after Erin Straughn hit consecutive three-pointers less than five minutes into the game.
Straughn would go on to score 10 points and the Pirates would take a 49-18 lead at halftime.
In the second half, East Carolina continued to cruise past Milligan as Lebo used his bench early and often in the rout.
Senior center Darrius Morrow played only 16 minutes and scored six points, while fellow starter Robert Sampson tallied four points and five rebounds in 15 minutes.
Paul said that despite the comfortable lead, Lebo continued to urge his players to play hard.
“He doesn’t like to see complacency, he wants to keep improving,” Paul said. “Don’t ever look at the scoreboard because if you do he’ll take you out in a heartbeat.”
The Pirates 56-point win was the largest margin of victory in school history and was the most since they beat Louisburg J.C. 83-27 in the 1939-50 season.