The Pirates and 49ers will meet for the second time of the young season on Wednesday night when Charlotte comes to Williams Arena-Minges Coliseum. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Since suffering a 74-63 defeat to the 49ers in the second round of the Charleston Classic on November 19, East Carolina (5-2) has won three straight. The Pirates improved to 4-0 at home on Saturday with an 81-53 blowout of in-state foe UNCG. First-year coach Jeff Lebo felt it was as well as his club has played all season–on both ends of the court.
Some of the highlights of that victory were Darrius Morrow managing to deliver what was easily his best performance of the season. Morrow, who was publicly challenged by coach Jeff Lebo after his lethargic effort against Lenoir-Rhyne, responded by posting 21 points and five boards. Another bright spot was a sound defensive effort. The Pirates limited a team that had been averaging more than 76 points to just 53. They also held a commanding 41-25 advantage on the boards.
The first match-up between these teams was a tale of two halves. Charlotte clung to a two-point advantage at halftime, but gradually pulled away from the Pirates after the break when ECU missed shot after shot. They concluded the game 3-of-23 from behind the arc and were 0-for-12 in the second half. Charlotte’s entire starting five scored in double figures. Shamari Spears, who is now indefinitely suspended, tallied 15 to lead the 49ers. Guard Derrio Green knocked down three triples and finished with 14 points. He also dished out eight assists. The Pirates were paced by Darrius Morrow, who finished with a double-double by scoring 13 points and pulling down ten rebounds.
The 49ers are led by the backcourt combo of Jamar Briscoe and Derrio Green. Briscoe averages 16.4 points per game and 2.4 steals. Green puts up 12.3 points and 4.9 assists. Without Spears, the frontcourt is going to be led by Braswell, Jones, and Wilderness. The trio combined for 30 points and 21 rebounds in the first meeting.
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East Carolina features a very balanced scoring attack that features six players producing 6.8 points or more. Senior guard Jontae Sherrod scores 12.9 points to lead three Pirates averaging in double figures. Fellow senior Jamar Abrams, who averages 10.6 points and 4.6 rebounds, is the team’s top three-point threat. The left-hander has knocked down 16-of-34 attempts from long range.
Charlotte has won ten of the last 11 meetings between these programs and took a 74-63 victory over the Pirates less than two weeks ago. However, the 49ers must now come to Minges and without its top scorer Shamari Spears. East Carolina is coming off its most complete effort of the season in its 28-point win over UNCG and playing much better defense than in recent years. Expect the Pirates to shoot it better this time around and improve to 5-0 at home–matching their home win total from last season in the process.