ECU set for ACC road trip
By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Friday, November 16, 2018
East Carolina’s basketball team scrimmaged Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Wake Forest and N.C. State during the preseason.
Tonight’s game at ACC member Georgia Tech will count toward the Pirates’ win-loss record.
ECU (2-1), which has one win ever against an ACC team when it beat NCSU in Greenville in 2007, will tip off against Ga. Tech in Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. The ACC Network will broadcast the game.
The Pirates are 1-3 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, but ECU’s 66-64 win in 1979 came before the Jackets joined the ACC.
“You have to start strong and you can’t start off weak against an ACC team,” said Pirate freshman forward Jayden Gardner, who was named the American Athletic Conference rookie of the week after 30 points and 10 rebounds Sunday in an 84-78 win over Lamar. “We have to come out and get going from the start.”
Gardner is averaging 14.0 points and 7.7 rebounds through three games. Seth LeDay, who spent one year at Virginia Tech before transferring to ECU, is the team’s leading scorer with a 16.3 average.
Guard K.J. Davis (11.3 ppg) is 8-of-19 from 3-point range.
ECU needed overtime to defeat Lamar, which came two days after James Madison hit a buzzer-beater for a 73-72 win over the Pirates. East Carolina began coach Joe Dooley’s second stint in Greenville by routing Delaware State.
The Yellow Jackets are 1-1, starting their season with an 88-69 victory against Lamar before falling 66-53 at Tennessee on Tuesday.
“We’ve already seen what the ACC looks like, and James Madison was very athletic,” Dooley said. “Those things help. I do think that Tech is young, also, and they have a young roster and (coach) Josh (Pastner) is trying to figure out who his rotation is.”
The Jackets’ top scorer so far is 6-foot-5 senior guard Brandon Alston, who is at 16.5 ppg and went 8-for-8 at the free throw line versus Tennessee. Their roster features seven sophomores.
Tonight will serve as one of the marquee games on the Pirates’ schedule. The teams haven't played since 1994.
ECU’s only nonconference road trips are against Georgia Tech, UNC Wilmington and Charlotte.
“We have to get to the point with our program that some of these games are at home,” Dooley said of ACC matchups. “We are in a big-boy conference and we need to get our RPI to where we are an attractive opponent for people to play (in Greenville) for out of the conference.”
The first day of the recruiting early signing period saw Dooley and East Carolina sign three guards on Wednesday in Logan Curtis, Tyrie Jackson and Tremont Robinson.
Jackson is a transfer from Northwest Florida State College and Robinson is currently attending Garden City (Kan.) Community College, while Curtis is a senior at Calvert Hall College (Md.) High School.
Like current Pirate forward LeDay, Jackson is a former Virginia Tech Hokie. He averaged 7.2 minutes per game in 28 contests at Va. Tech last year and will have two years of eligibility remaining at ECU.
Robinson, who is redshirting this season at Garden City, will have three years of eligibility available. He is a 6-foot-1 point guard originally from Little Rock, Ark.
“I’m excited about it and I think they add a lot of athleticism,” Dooley said before Wednesday’s practice. “We need some toughness, too.”
Curtis, a 6-foot-4 guard from Baltimore, averaged 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists his junior prep season.
“He’s got a lot of upside and he’s off to a great start this year,” Dooley said in a release. “His high school coach has bragged about what a great leader he’s been and how hard he’s been working.”
Contact Ronnie Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.