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Bombs-away ECU sinks Herd 86-79

By Staff, wire reports
GREENVILLE N.C. -- Miguel Paul scored 22 points, Maurice Kemp 21 and Akeem Richmond 18 as East Carolina used 10 3-point goals to down Marshall 86-79 in their regular-season finale Saturday at Minges Coliseum.The Pirates shot 52.2 percent from the floor and split 20 3-point tries, good enough to negate a career evening by MU's Robert Goff. The low-scoring senior big man scored 27 points on 12-of-19 shooting, reaching his former career high of 14 points in the first 13 minutes.Elijah Pittman had 21 points and DeAndre Kane had 20 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and five steals. But Kane shot too strong on a game-tying 3-point try with 36 seconds left, Kemp hit two free throws 10 seconds later and the Pirates made hit six more to seal the victory.Marshall (13-17, 6-10) finished tied for ninth in the Conference USA standings, tied for eighth when you remove postseason-ineligible Central Florida.The Herd will be the ninth seed in next week's C-USA tournament in Tulsa, Okla., playing No. 8 seed Tulane. The teams played Feb. 6 in New Orleans, with the Green Wave winning 91-75.That C-USA tournament game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday, with the winner playing 25th-ranked Memphis at 7 p.m. the next day.Mercifully, the Herd played its final "true" road game Saturday, going 1-11 in those and 2-14 away from Huntington.The Herd fell into large deficits in most of those losses and trailed 35-25 at the half in this one. ECU (18-11, 9-7) hit six 3-pointers in the first half, helping it take a 12-3 early lead and stay on top the rest of the half."We just beat them over the head [about 3-point defense]. We did a poor job on Richmond," said Herd coach Tom Herrion. "We went under some ball screens when we should have gone over them, and we didn't do a great job on Richmond, which disappoints me greatly because we emphasized that."Marshall took less than five minutes in the second half to wipe out ECU's lead, taking a 40-39 lead on a Pittman three-point play. With the game tied at 46, a Richmond 3-pointer started a 9-2 ECU run.The Herd tied it again at 59 on another three-point play, this one by Goff. Kane's layup gave the Herd a 61-59 lead with 6:58 left, and Goff added a free throw a minute later.The Pirates took the lead 63-62 at the 5:13 mark on two Paul free throws off a Kemp steal. Then Paul stole the ball from Kane, dashed to the other end and fired in a 3-pointer for a 66-62 lead. But with two consecutive Pittman 3-pointers, the game was tied at 68 with 4:08 left.Richmond then hit a jumper and Paul added two free throws with 2:58 left, and the Herd played a futile game of catch-up the rest of the way. "We didn't get enough quality stops when it mattered the most," Herrion said. "Our defense gave up 86 points, and that's not good enough. Our offensive execution, for the most part, was great."Indeed, the Herd scored 54 second-half points, shooting 55.6 percent from the floor and 10 of 12 from the line, committing just five turnovers. It finished at 49.2 percent for the game, 14 of 20 from the line.
  • Kane had 12 assists and Paul had 10, putting Kane ahead by seven in the battle for the league lead. Both have played 27 games.
  • Kane's five steals give him 128 for his career, 10th on MU's all-time list.
  • ECU was locked in as the fourth seed no matter what, getting one of five first-round byes next week. The Pirates will play No. 5 seed Tulsa at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. ECU, which posted its first winning league record since joining C-USA in all sports in 2001-02, was a 10th seed last year.
  • Marshall failed to put together a two-game winning streak in league play, and still hasn't done so since a three-game nonconference win streak that spilled into early December. As for the ninth seed in the C-USA tournament, Marshall hasn't been that low since 2006, its league debut.
  • MARSHALL (13-18, 6-10 C-USA) Min FG FT R A PDennis Tinnon 27 3-4 0-0 5 1 6Robert Goff 32 12-19 3-4 6 2 27
    Nigel Spikes 24 0-3 2-2 6 2 2
    Elijah Pittman 36 5-11 7-9 6 1 21DeAndre Kane 40 9-20 2-4 7 12 20Tamron Manning 7 0-1 0-0 1 0 0D.D. Scarver 18 1-2 0-0 0 0 3DeVince Boykins 14 0-1 0-0 1 1 0Yous Mbao 2 0-0 0-1 0 0 0Totals                      200  30-61  14-20  36  19  79East Carolina (18-11, 9-7) Min FG FT R A PMigel Paul 36 4-7 10-12 2 10 22Robert Sampson 35 2-6 3-8 12 0 7Maurice Kemp 40 6-13 8-9 6 1 21Ty Armstrong 18 5-6 3-5 3 0 13Paris Campbell 33 1-2 0-0 1 4 3Michael Zangari 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0Prince Williams 4 0-0 0-0 0 0 0Akeem Richmond 31 5-11 4-5 4 1 18Totals                    200  24-46  28-39  32  16  86Half: ECU 35-25. 3-point goals: MU 5-13 (Goff 0-1, Pittman 4-7, Kane 0-3, Manning 0-1, Scarver 1-2); ECU 10-20 (Paul 4-5, Sampson 0-1, Kemp 0-1, Campbell 1-2, Richmond 4-10). Technical fouls: None. Fouled out: Tinnon, Goff, Boykins. Attendance: 5,377. 
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