Pirates dethrone Monarchs

Published 10:20 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2012

East Carolina’s Marshall Guilmette dunks the ball during the Pirates 87-51 win over Methodist on Tuesday in Greenville. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

GREENVILLE — Ice-cold perimeter shooting couldn’t stand in the way of the Pirates winning their second straight game on Tuesday as they topped Div. III Methodist 87-51 despite shooting a frosty 15.4 percent from downtown.
East Carolina (2-0) connected on only four of its 26 three-point attempts, but were able to coast past the Monarchs (0-1) thanks to a superior edge in athleticism.
“It was a win, but it was an ugly offensive performance,” ECU coach Jeff Lebo said. “It’s hard to look good offensively when you shoot it as poorly as we did from the perimeter. Luckily we did get some offensive rebounds. The only ones that seemed to go in were the ones that we dunked.”
Senior 6-8, 180-pound forward Maurice Kemp led the dunk-athon as he produced a game-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while 6-8, 210-pound junior Robert Sampson recorded his third career double-double by tallying 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Monarchs, who only have two players on their roster bigger than 6-6, had no answer for the Pirates down low as ECU outscored them 60-24 in the paint and held a 47-36 rebounding advantage.
“I thought that Kemp and Robert did a nice job on the offensive glass on a lot of those missed shots,” Lebo said. “They were both very active.”
The Pirates played their second straight game without senior point guard Miguel Paul, who served the last of his two-game suspension for violating team rules on Tuesday, and were also minus senior guard Erin Straughn, who is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Senior guard Shamarr Bowden picked up the slack in the passing department as he dished out a career-high nine assists on Tuesday.
“Shamarr shot it poorly (2-8, 5 points) but he played well, I thought,” Lebo said. “He made the right plays. He had nine assists and one turnover and he had four assists and no turnovers in the first game. That’s a pretty strong assist-to-turnover ratio there.”
After falling behind 2-0 in the opening minute, the Pirates pounced on Methodist and took a 16-5 lead after a bucket by Akeem Richmond (6 points, 2 assists).
The Monarchs, who were led by Bryan Hockaday’s 15 points, went into halftime trailing 36-24 and got run over in the second half as ECU pieced together a 14-7 run to extend its advantage to 50-31 after freshman Marshall Guilmette scored down low.
Guilmette would finish the game with nine points, while fellow center Ty Armstrong scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds.
The Pirates held a 36-point lead three times and were never seriously challenged by the Monarchs, who were playing in their season opener.