ECU hits the road to take on Tulsa

Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The ECU men’s basketball team is coming off wins in two of their last three games, and will be looking to continue that streak Thursday on the road against Tulsa (11-12, 6-3 C-USA).

The defensive effort certainly isn’t where the Pirates hoped it would be at this point in the season, but the offense, led by guard Akeem Richmond, is firing on all cylinders, averaging 68 points per game in February.

Richmond, who was named the C-USA Player of the Week for his 31-point performance against UT-San Antonio, dropped to second in the NCAA in three-pointers made last week after Oakland’s Travis Bader hit 10 in a loss to Cleveland State.

The conference’s most prolific shooter moved to No. 19 all-time in three-point baskets, passing NBA sharpshooter Kyle Korver with his final two three’s against UTSA.

ECU’s offense has new life behind their shooting guard, but they face a tough opponent in Tulsa tomorrow evening, which has strung together a solid conference record after beginning the season 1-6.

The Golden Hurricanes feature two dual scoring and rebound threats in guard James Woodard and forward Rashad Smith. Woodard is leads his team in scoring and rebounding, while Smith is averaging 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

The Pirates will counter with their big man, Michael Zangari, who is coming off a nine-rebound, 11-point performance. The sophomore forward has given the Pirates valuable and much-needed defensive minutes this month, and will need to continue that trend if his team is going to leave Oklahoma with a win.

ECU is currently positioned at 13th in the C-USA. In order for the team to secure a place in the conference tournament, a 12th-place finish is needed. With a 2-7 conference record, making the C-USA tournament, along with getting better as a team, have become the top priorities in Greenville.