Pirates ruin Miller’s debut with 71-62 win over Spartans
For interim head coach Wes Miller's post-game press conference, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C.—East Carolina used a full-court press to spark a 15-0 run late in the second half on its way to a 71-62 win over UNCG, spoiling the debut of Spartans interim head coach Wes Miller on Friday at Greensboro Coliseum.
Miller, who was tabbed to replace former head coach Mike Dement on Tuesday, was matched up with fellow UNC alum and East Carolina head coach Jeff Lebo. The Spartans appeared to be on their way to victory before faltering.
Sophomore swingman Trevis Simpson almost single-handedly gave UNCG a 10-point lead midway through the second half. Simpson scored 13 straight points for the Spartans (2-9), turning a 39-35 deficit into a 48-40 advantage with 12:09 to play.
A Korey Van Dussen basket gave UNCG its biggest lead at 50-40 with 11:19 left and, after an ECU (5-4) three-pointer by Miguel Paul cut the lead to 50-43, Simpson gave UNCG a 52-43 advantage with a basket at the 10:36 mark.
But the Spartans wouldn't score again for more than four minutes, as the Pirates unleashed a full-court press which resulted in five UNCG turnovers during the same span. ECU converted those five turnovers into 13 points and when UNCG finally scored again at the 6:21 mark, the Pirates owned a 58-54 lead.
UNCG never got closer than four points the rest of the way, and East Carolina was 5-of-6 at the free throw line in the final minute to seal the victory.
Simpson finished with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-21 shooting. He was 3-of-10 from three-point range and added a season-high seven rebounds.
Van Dussen chipped in with 11 points for the Spartans, while Aaron Brackett had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Paul led the Pirates with 17 points, while Darrius Morrow and Maurice Kemp scored 13 each. Morrow added a game-high 13 rebounds.
UNCG shot 38 percent from the field and was just 5-of-8 at the free throw line. ECU shot 43 percent and made 18-of-32 at the stripe.
Both teams grabbed 40 rebounds. ECU turned 18 UNCG turnovers into 26 points. The Pirates committed 14 turnovers.
The Spartans next visit No. 7 Duke, 7 p.m., Monday in Durham, N.C.