These two teams opened up C-USA play just three weeks ago at FedEx Forum with an unexpected thriller. Memphis started hot and built a punishing 27 point lead in the 1st half. ECU would cut into that deficit slightly as the Tigers led by 20 going into the break, 39-19.
The Pirates opened up the second half with a furious 21-0 run and slashed the Memphis lead to 6 in a span of less than five minutes. The lead would never drop further than 5 points though, as the Tigers went on to win 67-54.
Joe Jackson led Memphis with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Shaq Goodwin chipped in 12 points and 8 boards. D.J. Stephens stuffed the stat sheet with 6 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals.
ECU had 4 players in double figures, two of which are likely to be missing tonight in Robert Sampson (knee) and Shamarr Bowden (suspension).
As the 16-3 (5-0) Tigers travel to Greensville, N.C. to take on 12-7 (3-3) ECU, they can expect another fight from the short-handed Pirates.
Memphis Tigers vs. East Carolina Pirates
TV: None (Streaming online via GoTigersGo All-Access)
Head Coach: Jeff Lebo
2011-12 Record: 15-16 , Conference: 5-11
2012-13 Record: 12-7, Conference: 3-3
2012-13 RPI: 115
Kenpom: 125 ranked in offensive efficiency, 254 in defensive efficiency, 181 overall, Memphis win 75-68
Last Year: 70-59 Memphis win on the road; 70-47 Memphis win at home
This Year: Memphis home win 67-54
Home vs. Road:
- ECU is 10-2 at home with overtime loss to Campbell and a 1 point loss to UTEP on a 3 at the buzzer.
- Memphis is 3-0 on the road.
- Marshall Guilmette - 6’10″ 240 Fr. Faveraging 16.5mpg, 5.4ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.1apg
- Maurice Kemp - 6’8″190 Sr. F averaging 31.4mpg, 17.3ppg, 7.8rpg, 2.3apg, 21.2% 3pt
- Ty Armstrong - 6’8″ 235 Jr. averaging 18.1mpg, 8.4ppg, 4.9rpg
- Miguel Paul - 6’1″ 170 Sr. G averaging 30.7mpg, 13.2ppg, 2.1rpg, 6apg, 33.8% 3pt
- Akeem Richmond - 6′ 180 Jr. G averaging 14.5mpg, 8.7ppg, 1.4rpg, 0.8apg, 43.5% 3pt
- Paris Roberts-Campbell - 6’2″ 180 So. G averaging 20.8mpg, 5.3ppg, 1.1rpg, 1.4apg, 31.7% 3pt
- Petar Torlak – 6’1″ 185 Jr. G averaging 9mpg, 5.3ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.8apg, 42.9% 3pt
- Yasin Kolo - 6’10″ Fr. F averaging 8.3mpg, 3ppg, 3rpg, 0.3apg, 0% 3pt
- Corvonn Gaines - 6’4″205 Sr. G averaging 17.3mpg, 2.3ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.3apg, 27.8% 3pt
- Robert Sampson - 6’8″ 210 Jr. F averaging 28.6mpg, 9.6ppg, 9.2rpg, 20.8% 3pt (Doubtful due to knee injury suffered against UTEP)
- Shamarr Bowden - 6’4″ 170 Sr. G averaging 18.7mpg, 5.8ppg, 2apg, 36% 3pt (suspended for punch thrown in UTEP game)
- Akeem Richmond is likely to fill in for the suspended Bowden. He is the team’s top three-point shooter connecting on .435% from distance. Over 80% of his shots take this season have been from downtown, so the Tigers D has to be aware and ready.
- Maurice Kemp and Miguel Paul will likely be carrying the load for ECU, especially with the Pirates potentially down two starters.
- Kemp will play both forward spots tonight, and he can hurt you from all over the court. He’s the team leader in points per game (17.3) and free throw attempts (116 FTA, making 72%). Though he will shoot them, Kemp is not a great outside shooter. His aggressiveness on offense is geared towards getting to the basket for high-quality looks.
- Paul is a set-up man who can also do some scoring of his own. He’s second on the team in scoring with 13.2 points per game, and he leads the team with 102 assists on the year (5.37/gm).
Keys to the game:
- Memphis’ bigs must stay on the floor. Foul trouble has been a problem for both Shaq Goodwin and Tarik Black. With the lack of front court depth, the Tigers could be in trouble if either or both have to sit early.
- Crash the glass and gang rebound. Even if Sampson doesn’t play, ECU is a decent rebounding team. So the Tigers must hit the boards hard and they must do so as a collective unit.
- Avoid offensive lulls. Far too often this season, the Tigers offense disappears for big stretches of the game. Such occurrences lead to big runs by the opposition, and thus turn runaway games into nail bitters. The first game with ECU was a perfect example. Memphis must keep the pedal to the floor and not get complacent with an early lead.