GAME NOTES: The East Carolina Pirates will try to pull out of a six-game skid as they travel to face the UAB Blazers in Conference USA action at Bartow Arena.
All six losses in the streak for East Carolina have been in conference play. The Pirates are 0-6 in Conference USA and occupy the last position in the standings. They are coming off an 84-67 thumping by Middle Tennessee.
UAB had won two games in a row, and five of the team's last eight. The Blazers find themselves 3-3 in the conference - two games back of Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech for the lead. UAB handled Old Dominion, 75-66, Thursday night in a conference tilt.
The Blazers have a solid 12-5 all-time series lead over the Pirates, including a 6-3 record in Birmingham. This is the first and only time these programs will meet during the regular season.
East Carolina spent seven minutes in the first half of Thursday's loss to Middle Tennessee searching for a basket, but couldn't connect for one. The Blue Raiders went on a 13-0 run that pushed their lead to 27-10 with over seven minutes to play in the first period, and continued to pile it on afterwards. Caleb White scored 18 points to pace the Pirates, while Petar Torlak added 13. Akeem Richmond and Prince Williams each netted 12, while Michael Zangari chipped in 10. East Carolina shot 41.4 percent from the floor in the game.
Richmond has been a force for East Carolina this season, although that hasn't been able to translate into wins for the Pirates recently. Richmond leads the team with 18.4 ppg on 39.5 percent shooting from the field. Paris Campbell is second with 13.1 ppg and a team-best 31 steals. Williams tops the squad in assists with 66 on the year, and Brandon Stith leads in rebounding with 8.4 rpg. The Pirates are averaging 77.9 ppg through the 21 contests they've played this season.
After trailing for the first 47 seconds of the game against Old Dominion, UAB quickly grabbed a lead and held onto it for the remainder of the contest. The lead stretched to 18 points in the second half for the Blazers, who got a solid contribution from guard Chad Frazier in the game. Frazier netted a game- high 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-8 from 3- point range. C.J. Washington chipped in 19 points and eight rebounds. The Blazers did turn the ball over 19 in the win, however, being outscored by the Monarchs 25-6 in points off turnovers.
Frazier's 27-point explosion helped boost his scoring average to 18.2 ppg on the year. Frazier is shooting 42.9 percent from the field through 20 games, and leads the team with 85 total assists (but has 89 turnovers as well). Washington is second on the team in scoring at 13.7 ppg and is tied for the team lead with 7.5 rpg with Rod Rucker. Rucker is third in scoring at 11 ppg. The Blazers are one of the top rebounding teams in the country, averaging 47 rpg.
With the way East Carolina has been struggling recently, and UAB's dominance on the boards and scoring in the paint, the Blazers shouldn't have much trouble taking this one.
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