GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Miguel Paul scored 22 points and handed out 10 assists as East Carolina defeated Marshall 86-79 Saturday night in their final game before next week's Conference USA tournament.
Maurice Kemp added 21 points for the Pirates (18-11, 9-7), who posted a winning conference record for the first time since joining in the 2001-02 season.East Carolina will have a bye into the tournament quarterfinals Thursday. The Thundering Herd (13-18, 6-10), who defeated the Pirates 77-56 in their regular-season meeting, will play a first-round game Wednesday.Paul's two free throws gave East Carolina an 84-79 lead with 12 seconds left. The Pirates made 27 of 33 free throws in the second half to Marshall's 10 of 12.Akeem Richmond scored 18 points and Robert Sampson had 12 rebounds for East Carolina.Marshall had three players with 20 or more points. Robert Goff scored 27, Elijah Pittman 21 and DeAndre Kane 20.