Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ESPN3, 7 pm: Hampton Pirates hit the road to face East Carolina

GREENVILLE, North Carolina – The Hampton University men's basketball team will end a string of five straight games away from home on Tuesday, taking on the Pirates of East Carolina at 7 p.m. in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

Live Video: ESPN3.
Radio: WHOV 88.1 FM.

The Series: The Pirates are 0-1 against East Carolina, with the only meeting between the two teams coming in the 2003-04 season. East Carolina won that game 77-53 in Greenville, N.C.

Pirates Against the AAC: The Pirates are 3-4 against schools currently in the American Athletic Conference, going 2-0 against Central Florida, 0-1 against Connecticut, 0-1 against East Carolina, 0-1 against South Florida, 0-1 against SMU, and 1-0 against Tulsa. Hampton has never faced Cincinnati, Houston. Memphis, Temple, or Tulane.

Pirates on the Road: In head coach Edward Joyner Jr.'s first seven-plus seasons at the helm, the Pirates are 43-62 on the road, including an 8-7 mark last season. Hampton has won at least eight road games in three of its first seven seasons under Joyner – and in all three of those seasons, the Pirates made the postseason (2011 and 2016 NCAA, 2015 CBI). Hampton's best road mark came in 2010-11, when the Pirates were 8-5 in true road games.

Scouting the Pirates: East Carolina (5-2), in its seventh season under head coach Jeff Lebo, is coming off a 2015-16 season in which it went 12-20 and finished tied for ninth in the American Athletic Conference with a mark of 4-14. The Pirates return two starters and six letterwinners this season, and senior guard Caleb White leads three Pirates in double figures with 16.0 points per game. Sophomore swing man Kentrell Barkley leads the team in rebounding (7.6 rpg), and his 13.1 points per game are third on the team.

Pirates Picked to Finish Third: Despite winning back-to-back MEAC titles, the Pirates were picked to finish third in the conference this season in a poll conducted by the league's head coaches and sports information directors. Hampton, which returns just one starter from last season, picked up two first-place votes and racked up 250 points in the poll. Howard was tabbed the preseason favorite, while South Carolina State – which fell to the Pirates in last season's MEAC Tournament championship game – was picked to finish second.

Cooks the Only One: Lawrence Cooks is the lone returning starter for the Pirates, and he comes into 2016-17 as the team's top returner in scoring (7.8 ppg), rebounding (3.7 rpg), assists (47), and steals (19). He is also the only player on this year's team that isn't a freshman, sophomore, or junior – though he does have two MEAC championship rings and NCAA Tournament appearances to his credit. Cooks dropped a career-high 22 points at Winthrop last season, a campaign in which he scored in double figures 11 times. Cooks had 10 points in Hampton's season opener against Rider.

Wilson-Fisher Looking for a Bigger Role: Charles Wilson-Fisher was a key role player in the Pirates' run through the MEAC Tournament in 2015, and he was a key reserve down low for the Pirates last season. 2016-17 could figure to be a breakout season for the Los Angeles native with the graduation of Jervon Pressley, and Wilson-Fisher will be looking to improve on his scoring and rebounding averages (2.7 and 2.5, respectively) this season. He tied his career high in points with 10 last season against Northern Arizona, and this past Friday against Rider, he set new career highs in rebounds (15) and blocks (two).

Strong Start for Marrow: Six games into his collegiate career, freshman Jermaine Marrow leads the Pirates in scoring, averaging 13.7 points per game. He opened his career with 13 points against Rider, before dropping 11 points on Nov. 17 in an overtime win over Chowan and then scoring 15 points at Kansas State and dropping 16 at Richmond. He dropped a season-high 25 points this past Saturday against Stony Brook, and Marrow has scored in double figures in five of his first six games. The Heritage High graduate from nearby Newport News, Va. was 4A East State Player of the Year last season, proving to be one of Virginia's best scorers – averaging over 25 points a game in 2015-16.

Astroth Making an Impact: AJ Astroth was key in Hampton's win over Chowan on Nov. 17 – not just because he poured in a season-high 18 points and nine rebounds in just his second game with the program, but because it was his layup in the closing moments that gave the Pirates the lead. Astroth is second on the team in scoring, averaging 9.3 points per game.

For more information on Hampton University basketball, please call the Office of Sports Information at (757) 727-5757, or visit the official Pirates website at www.hamptonpirates.com.


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