East Carolina men’s basketball remained undefeated while playing in Minges Coliseum after beating the Hampton Pirates 68-48 Tuesday evening.
The first half started with both teams trading buckets back-and-forth. Junior ECU guard B.J. Tyson led ECU (6-2) in scoring, getting a third of the Pirates’ points in the first half with 12. Hampton’s freshmen guard Jermaine Marrow led his team in scoring also getting 12 in the first half.
ECU led at halftime 36-28, but ECU could’ve been up more if not for the 13 turnovers it committed in the first half alone.
“We didn’t have a great first half taking care of the basketball,” said ECU head coach Jeff Lebo. “We turned the ball over too much and missed some easy shots. We’re not a good ball handling team, we’re a good passing team.”
At the start of the second half both teams came out playing with high intensity. Two minutes into the second half, under ECU’s basket, Hampton’s Marrow and ECU’s senior forward Clarence Williams got into an altercation after getting tied up. Both players were given a technical, which led to a spark in the play for the Pirates.
The Pirates went on to hold Hampton’s top scorer Marrow to zero points in the second half, as ECU’s defense held Hampton to only 28 percent shooting from the field.
“Defensively I thought we were good, particularly the second half,” said Lebo. “In the last 13 minutes they only had one field goal. We did a good job defensively on Marrow, who only shot 5-of-23.”
Tyson ended up leading ECU in scoring with 17 points, which was one point shy from 1000 career points.
“I was told before the game that I had to score 18 points to reach 1,000,” said Tyson. “I really forgot about it while playing the game, but when toward the end I looked up and saw I was at 16 and was at the free throw line I made the first one. Then I was like ‘Oh snap, one more’ and I got nervous and ended up missing.”
Graduate transfer Andre Washington had another monster game down low for the Pirates. Washington was the second-leading scorer with 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked five shots. His size down low made the Hampton players second guess driving through the lane.
“I like blocking shots,” said Washington. “It’s something I like to do, because it’s intimidating. If I block one of their shots and they come in again, they’re going to be scared. It’s really about being a presence.”
ECU saw the comeback of senior forward Michel Nzege from injury to make his first appearance of the season. Though only playing eight minutes, Nzege still managed to grab four rebounds during his time on the court.
“I was hoping to play him just two minutes each half,” said Lebo. “He’s only practiced for one day. He’s a senior and I knew when I put him in we need a jolt of energy. We need someone who could defend and rebound and he did that.”