ECU Men's Basketball

The East Carolina University men’s basketball team fell to Southern Methodist University 77-58 last night.

After the 109-58 blowout the University of Houston handed East Carolina University on Sunday, the Pirates return home tonight to face the University of Tulsa on Senior Night.

The Pirates (10-17, 4-12 AAC) are on a three-game losing streak as they prepare for their final game at Minges Coliseum. The Golden Hurricane (17-11, 10-6 AAC) enter the game coming off an eight-point loss to the No. 11 University of Cincinnati, 82-74. In the last matchup between ECU and Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane prevailed 79-53 in both teams first conference game on Dec. 28.

Senior forward Junior Etou killed the Pirates in the first meeting, recording a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Etou is averaging 15.6 points per game and is the Golden Hurricane’s go-to scoring option. Two other Tulsa players are averaging double figures, junior guard Sterling Taplin (12.0) and junior forward DaQuan Jeffries (10.3). However, this doesn’t bother ECU, as interim head coach Michael Perry says the team is in a good place.

“We do not have the same pressure on our shoulders like some of the other teams have,” Perry said. “We can be loose and play loose, and that is the way to go into the AAC tournament.”

One of the biggest issues ECU will face is replacing junior forward Kentrell Barkley who was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 21. Since then, the Pirates have failed to score more than 60 points in their matchups against Southern Methodist University (Feb. 21) and Houston (Feb. 25). Barkley was averaging 12 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his 25 appearances this season while also guarding the oppositions primary forward.

Fortunately for ECU, the Golden Wave are just 3-5 in conference games on the road. While the Pirates are just 2-6 in conference games at home, the possible electricity Senior Night could provide may help ECU snap the losing streak. More importantly, ECU must shoot better than its season average of 43.3 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from the three-point line.

With Barkley now absent, redshirt freshman guard Shawn Williams knows the team needs a boost to finish the season strong.

“We just really need to get back to playing the way we were,” Williams said. “With Tulane and USF, we were actually playing better than before. We started shooting better and started clicking. When we played SMU, we got distracted.”

ECU will look to win out as it has two more games before the American Athletic Conference tournament starts on March 8 in Orlando, Florida.

“Right now we are going to focus on Tulsa, they are a really good team,” Tyson said. “That is a team that we can come out and probably beat, and we have to come with the mindset of playing like we are the underdog in the conference.”

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