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03/31/2013 12:57 AM EDT
East Carolina routs Evansville 81-58 in CIT semis
EAST CAROLINA 81, EVANSVILLE 58

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- East Carolina jumped out to an early
lead and cruised into the finals of the CollegeInsider.com
tournament.



Maurice Kemp had 20 points and 12 rebounds in the Pirates' 81-58
victory over Evansville on Saturday night.



"That was fun and maybe the best we've played all year," coach
Jeff Lebo said. "We played terrific tonight with a lot of
energy. Defensively, we were alert, and did a great job at all
spots."



Robert Sampson added 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Miguel
Paul scored 19 points and handed out 11 assists - giving him 230
for his career to break Brock Young's school record. Ty
Armstrong also had 17 points for the Pirates (22-12), who will
take on Weber State (30-6) in the championship game Tuesday
night.



The Purple Aces (21-15) pulled within one at 9-8 and then East
Carolina went on a 22-7 run over a span of 7:19 to take a 31-15
lead - and never looked back.



Colt Ryan, who ranked 13th in the nation in scoring with 20.4
points per game, was held to just 12 for Evansville.



"Everybody played a hand in this one," Lebo said. "Our crowd was
unbelievable. I heard we had to turn people away. That stuns
me."



Paul got the sellout crowd going by drilling a 3-pointer to open
the game as the Pirates scored eight of the game's first 10
points. The Pirates limited Evansville to 25.6 percent shooting
in the opening half, while connecting on 50 percent of their
field-goal attempts en route to a 40-26 halftime lead.



"That first half, we had a hard time stopping guys and did not
do a good job on the glass," Evansville 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."



The Pirates' lead grew to 20 inside the first three minutes of
the second half and then ballooned to 25 on a vicious dunk by
Kemp, who jammed over 6-foot-10 Egidijus Mockevicius, sending
Pirates fans into a frenzy.



Evansville made a run to get within 16 with 5:41 left, but the
Pirates scored nine unanswered to thwart any comeback attempt by
the Aces.



"That's something me and Miguel have talked about countless
times, we wanted to make a name for East Carolina basketball,"
Kemp said. "That's been our main goal. We all focused and spent
this whole season grinding it out and were able to make history
this year. It's something to be very proud of. I'm proud of my
teammates, my coaches, but (by) the same token, we have another
game to play.



"We look to bring a championship back to Greenville."

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