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CIT Championship: East Carolina claims title on buzzer-beater

The Pirates fell Weber State on the road for a postseason championship.

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

OGDEN -- In front of a raucous road crowd, the East Carolina Pirates (23-12) stole away the CollegeInsider.com Tournament championship, beating Weber State 77-74 when Akeem Richmond buried a fade-away three at the buzzer.

The basket was just the second field goal for Richmond on the game, but the swish silenced the 10,583 faithful in attendance in an all-too-familiar scene.

This was the site of the Anthony Johnson game, after all.

In the last five minutes, Weber State (30-7) got to the rim often. A pair of consecutive dunks by Kyle Tresnak -- a putback dunk and a facial served while being fouled -- put the Wildcats up 71-65 with 2:55 remaining and had the Dee Events Center twisting at the hinges.

Just 14 seconds later, East Carolina's Robert Sampson grabbed the Pirates' first offensive rebound of the game, kicking it out to Maurice Kemp who drained a three, cutting into Weber's lead. Kemp finished with 20 points on 7-12 shooting.

With 1:19 left, the Pirates tied the game at 72-72 on a missed goaltending call. After Miguel Paul, who scored 23 points and dished six assists, missed a floater off the glass, Sampson stuffed in the putback with the ball still clearly in the cylinder.

But in the end, free throws made the game for ECU and dismantled it for Weber. The Wildcats shot only 9-19 from the free-throw line, including a 3-9 stretch in the final five minutes. East Carolina converted 11-14.

Scott Bamforth led Weber State with 19 points in his final college contest. The senior shot 7-13, including 4-8 from deep. Frank Otis and Davion Berry added 16 points in the loss.

With a school record in wins, Weber State caps a two-year run of a 55-14 record -- with zero championships, regular-season or otherwise.