Pirates snap skid at UAB

Published 1:09 pm Sunday, January 29, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Senior Darrius Morrow scored 24 points and Junior Miguel Paul made 6-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes as East Carolina survived a late charge from home standing UAB, 73-66, to earn its first Conference USA win of the season and end a six-game losing streak.

Morrow was nearly unstoppable, converting 11-of-15 shots from the floor and grabbing six rebounds. He was one of four Pirates to score in double figures with Paul adding 14, Erin Straughn 13 and Maurice Kemp 12. ECU shot a season-high 59.5 percent (25-42) from the field and made 7-of-12 from behind the arc.

The Pirates closed out the first half on an 18-5 run after trailing 21-18 with over six left until intermission. Straughn, Bowden and Kemp made three consecutive 3-point baskets to give ECU a four-point cushion. C.J. Whitaker drained a 3-pointer to cut the Pirates’ lead to one with 3:37 to play in the opening stanza. However, ECU held the Blazers scoreless the remainder of the half and scored nine unanswered to take a 10-point halftime lead, 36-26.

Morrow scored ECU’s first seven points and the Pirates made their first six shots before finishing the first half 14-of-22 (.636) from the floor, while holding its opponent to under 30 points in half for the first time in league play.

ECU made three consecutive 3-pointers to begin the second half, opening a 15-point lead in the first four minutes. The Pirates, which led by 56-39 with 9:30 to play, held a double-digit lead for the next 12 minutes.

The Blazers refused to go down without a fight as they put together a 25-11 run to pull within three points, 67-64, with 28 seconds to play.

Forced to foul, UAB sent Paul to the line where he sank calmly sank a pair of foul shots to push the lead back to five. Quincy Taylor then drove the lane for a quick two before Paul marched back to the charity stripe to stretch the lead out to five again with 10 seconds to play.

Taylor raced down the court and launched an errant 3 which was grabbed by Robert Sampson to secure the victory. Sampson then made two free throws for the final margin of victory.

Like the Pirates, UAB also had four players score double figures led by Preston Purifoy’s 17 points. Cameron Moore added 14 points and 13 rebounds in the loss with Jekore Tyler scoring 11 and Taylor adding 10.

The Pirates begin a three-game homestand on Wednesday, Feb. 1 against SMU. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.