Men’s Basketball Falls To ECU In CIT Semis


GREENVILLE, N.C. – A long and special ride came to an end on Saturday as the University of Evansville men’s basketball team
fell to East Carolina by an 81-58 final in the semifinals of the Tournament.

Leading from start to finish, the Pirates (22-12) led by as many as 27 points while shooting 55.4% from the floor. After shooting 50% in the first half, ECU hit 17 out of 28 second-half shots.

Colt Ryan was the lone Aces (21-15) player to register double figures, finishing with 12. The UE all-time scoring leader finishes his career with 2,279 points. Egidijus Mockevicius had one of his best overall games versus the Pirates, tallying 9 points and 5 blocks while tying his career mark with 13 rebounds.

“That first half, we had a hard time stopping guys and did not do a good job on the glass,” UE head coach Marty Simmons said. “We missed a bunch of open shots right at the rim. Give East Carolina credit, we knew they were very athletic.”

Simmons also commented on the seniors, who gave the Aces four great years.

“Our seniors have all been incredible. They had had great attitudes and have continued to work and work. We have done some things in the last 3-4 years that we have not done for a while,” Simmons continued. “It is a credit to our fans and the community who have supported these guys. You will not find six more guys who have given more to a program.”

Miguel Paul got ECU on the board on the opening possession hitting a three. Troy Taylor scored UE’s first point before the Pirates jumped out to an 8-2 edge in the opening moments of the game. That lead would grow for the Pirates as they would drain six of their first 10 shots while Evansville began the game hitting just 4 out of 17 attempts as ECU took a 17-8 lead midway through the opening frame.

Shots kept on falling for ECU as they knocked down 11 out of 16 to go up by a 31-15 tally 13 minutes in. Miguel Paul was responsible for 13 of those points as he knocked down all three 3-pointers. As hot as the Pirates were, the Aces were cold, knocking down just 7 of their opening 25 shots.

East Carolina slowed down a bit offensively, but still shot 50% in the half (14-28) on their way to a 40-26 lead. The Aces were just 10-of-39 in the first half of play as Ryan led the way for UE with six points. Evansville utilized a zone defense in the latter part of the period, which held East Carolina to just 3-12 in the final minutes.

Out of the break, the Pirates scored eight out of the first ten points to open up their largest lead of the game at 20 points. That lead grew to as many 25 points at 57-32 as the Pirates knocked down 7 out of 10 shots to open the half. The run marked a 17-6 spurt to begin the latter half.

Evansville cut into the deficit, cutting it down to 20 with about 12 minutes left, but the deficit proved to be too much. The Aces got within 16 points at 67-51, but an 11-0 stretch saw the Pirates push the lead to as many as 27 points before settling for the 81-58 win.

Ryan Sawvell came off the bench to post seven points and six rebounds while Lewis Jones chipped in six points and three rebounds. For the game, the Aces shot 31.8% (21-66); following a 10-of-39 first-half performance, the offense rebounded to hit 11 out of 27 attempts (40.7%) in the second half.

Maurice Kemp was one of four ECU players to finish in double figures as he led the way with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Miguel Paul tallied 19 while Ty Armstrong had 17.

The Aces finish their best season in 13 years with a 21-15 record. They also bid adieu to six seniors as Andy Chinn, Ned Cox, Lewis Jones, Colt Ryan, Troy Taylor and Brandon Williams have played their final games at UE