GREENVILLE — Striving to build off the momentum of its 2012-13 season, the East Carolina men’s basketball team released its 2013-14 schedule Thursday highlighted by the program’s first appearance in the NIT Season Tip-Off, a November postseason tournament.
The Pirates return two starters and eight additional lettermen from last year’s 23-12 team that captured the CIT title. They will play a minimum of 17 homes games (nine non-conference, eight Conference USA) and are not scheduled to play a non-conference game outside the state of the North Carolina.
Three opponents – Middle Tennessee, North Carolina A&T and North Carolina State – participated in the NCAA Tournament last season. Conference USA foes Charlotte, Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss competed in the NIT.
Tulane and Tulsa also gained postseason invitations in 2013 participating in the CIT and CBI, respectively.
The Pirates will open their 82nd season on Nov. 8 against North Carolina.
St. Augustine’s: Coach Michael Costa was impressed with the attitude of the veterans during the first Saint Augustine’s practice of the season at SAU Stadium on Wednesday night.
“It was a good practice,” said Costa, who led the Falcons to two winning seasons in the past three. “From what I’ve seen from the older guys, they have not missed a beat. They were real hungry, and I like that.”
The Falcons ran drills in helmets, T-shirts and shorts during the brisk two-hour workout.
It was the first step toward preparation for the season opener on Sept. 7 against N.C. Central in Durham.
Duke: Senior Yaroslav Merkulov and junior Turner Southey-Gordon as well as graduates Michael Muehr and Julian Suri will be in action Monday through Aug. 18 at the U.S. Amateur Championship in Brookline, Mass.
Merkulov posted a 4-under 140 at Lagrangeville, N.Y., to secure a spot.
Southey-Gordon advanced after posting a 4-under 140 in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., in mid-July.
Muehr, a PGA Tour pro in 2001-02 and 1994 Duke graduate, won a three-way playoff to claim one of two qualifying positions in Hunt Valley, Md.
Suri, a 2013 Duke graduate, qualified at Gainesville, Fla., by firing an 8-under 132.