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College Sports in the Carolinas
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View from the East
Monday, February 4, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Pirates Show Former Players They 'Have Game'

©2002 Bonesville.net

It seems strange to be writing about basketball on football’s biggest day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday, but East Carolina did on Saturday what much of the world watched the New England Patriots do on Sunday — beat St. Louis.

Actually, the hoops Pirates beat the Saint Louis University Billikens, while the Pats stunned the St. Louis Rams to win the Lombardi Trophy.

Good shooting was instrumental in ECU’s second Conference USA men’s basketball victory and it came on a day that brought many former Pirates cagers back to campus for an alumni gathering. Among those introduced at halftime were Sonny Russell, a star player from 1949-53; Blue Edwards, who went on to a solid career in the NBA; and Garrett Blackwelder, who was a senior in Coach Bill Herrion’s first season at ECU in 1999-2000.

“It was a great finish to a great day here at East Carolina,” Herrion said. “We had our first alumni game today, which really kind of boggles my mind — a school like East Carolina, they’ve never had an alumni game. So Matt Maloney from the Pirate Club, we put it together. We had a great turnout. It was a special day.”

After the alumni game on Saturday afternoon, a reception for the former players was held on the club level of the north side of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

“I think the people that came back felt really good to be back,” Herrion said. “I think they felt wanted. You know what? I’m just glad we won tonight because I think now they can really feel good. They probably played great this afternoon. They probably think they’ve still got some game. I want them to see that we’ve got some game here.

“We’ll probably have it here again next year. It’s just a great day for East Carolina basketball.”

It was a significant day in other sports as well. The baseball team had “Meet the Pirates” day in a huge tent adjacent to Harrington Field, where it was announced that over $3 million had been raised privately in the $6 million drive for a new baseball stadium.

Walter Williams, a recent inductee into the ECU Hall of Fame for his generosity in supporting Pirate athletics, and Jim Ward, whose son, Bryant, was the leading hitter for the baseball team last season with a .366 average, are co-chairing the fund-raising effort.

Naming rights for the field and stadium, which are valued at $2.5 million, could be announced in the near future.

In football, Leonard Henry played his last game on the college level and helped the South team, directed by new Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier, to a 45-28 win in the Hula Bowl in Hawaii. Henry ran just twice for eight yards but had two catches for 69 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter that made the SportsCenter highlights on ESPN on Saturday night.

On to business as usual and the State Line Hoops Report©:

JUMP TO AL MYATT'S EAST CAROLINA HOOPS CAPSULE...

State Line Hoops Report© — 02/04/02

THE TOP TEN

1. Duke ... The spat between Clemson coach Larry Shyatt and Dahntay Jones of the Blue Devils looked like a bad WWF script. Jones taunted Tony Stockman of the Tigers late in Duke’s 98-88 win at Clemson on Saturday night and Shyatt had to be restrained as he went onto the court toward the Duke bench in response. Jason Williams had 28 points in the win, which followed an 87-58 Duke triumph at North Carolina on Thursday, the Tar Heels’ largest margin of defeat ever in the Smith Center. Duke is 20-1 overall and 8-1 in the ACC with an opportunity to avenge its only loss when Florida State visits on Thursday night.

2. Wake Forest ... The Deacons (16-6, 6-3) have quietly moved into sole possession of third place in the ACC with an 82-81 win at N.C. State on Wednesday and an 89-80 victory at Florida State on Saturday. Good free throw shooting was a consistent theme in both games as Wake hit 24 of 28 at the line against the Wolfpack and 18 of 19 in the second half at Florida State. Deacons guard Broderick Hicks made 12 of 13 foul shots as he led Wake past the Seminoles with 23 points. Darius Songaila contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds. Wake Forest hosts North Carolina on Wednesday at 9 p.m.

3. Charlotte ... The 49ers’ 83-68 win at Houston on Saturday night set the stage for a C-USA showdown with Cincinnati in Charlotte at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Both clubs are 8-1 in the league, as is Marquette, which upset the Bearcats 74-60 on Saturday. Jobey Thomas scored a game-high 26 points for Charlotte (14-6) at Houston and is averaging a team-best 19.1 points per game. He’s hitting 91 percent of his free throws and 43.3 percent of his three-point attempts. Cam Stephens provides a solid post presence with a 13.2 scoring average and a 9.4 rebounding rate.

4. N.C. State ... The Wolfpack fell to 16-6 overall and 5-4 in the league with an 89-73 loss to Maryland in what projects to be the last game between the teams at Cole Field House. State, played the Terps evenly until a 16-2 run by Maryland midway through the second half. “We knew we had to take better care of the basketball,” said State coach Herb Sendek. “Our goal was to have 10 or fewer turnovers. The 21 turnovers was hard to overcome.” The Pack lost its 13th straight game at Cole Field House despite 19 points from Anthony Grundy.

5. South Carolina ... After knocking off Georgia 80-67 at home on Wednesday, the Gamecocks lost 91-74 at Kentucky on Saturday despite 25 points and seven assists from Chuck Eidson. Next up for USC (13-8, 3-5 SEC) is a visit from Florida at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Jamel Bradley leads coach Dave Odom’s club with a 14.6 average and he’s hitting 44.4 percent behind the arc. Aaron Lucas is averaging 10.1 points and 4.2 assists. The Gamecocks host Tennessee at 7 p.m. on Saturday with the Volunteers looking to avenge a 94-60 pounding in Knoxville on Jan. 23.

6. College of Charleston ... The Cougars stopped a two-game losing streak by beating Furman 62-45 on Saturday to improve to 16-5 on the season and 6-4 in Southern Conference play. Coach John Kresse’s club is tied with Chattanooga for first in the league’s Southern Division going into the Cougars’ game at The Citadel at 7:15 p.m. tonight. Jeff Bolton continues to lead C of C in scoring with a 17.2 average while teammate Leighton Bowie averages 11.2 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds.

7. UNC Wilmington ... The Seahawks (14-7, 9-2 CAA) won 78-54 at home against Hofstra as Craig Callahan scored 20 points and Anthony Terrell grabbed 13 rebounds. Coach Jerry Wainwright’s club leads the league by 1 1/2 games over Drexel (11-10, 8-4) and hosts the Dragons at 7 p.m. tonight. Junior guard Brett Blizzard leads UNCW with an 18.0 scoring average and is hitting 41.5 percent of his threes. Ed Williams is the Seahawks’ top rebounder at 6.2.

8. UNC Greensboro ... The Spartans won their third straight, 80-75, over Western Carolina on Saturday despite a 34-point outburst from Kevin Martin of the Catamounts. Jay Joseph stepped up for UNCG with 21 points while David Schuck and James Maye added 16 each. Maye leads UNCG (14-7, 7-3 Southern Conference) with a 14.4 scoring average. The Spartans visit Davidson (15-6, 8-2) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a matchup of the top two teams in the Northern Division.

9. Davidson ... The Wildcats head into their showdown with UNCG with wins in eight of their last nine games, including an 82-72 victory at Appalachian State on Saturday in which 7-foot-2 Martin Ides of the Czech Republic had 15 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots. The Wildcats hit 50 percent of their field goal attempts while limiting the Mountaineers to 34.5 percent.

10. Clemson ... The loss to Duke dropped the Tigers to 11-11 overall and 2-7 in the ACC going into a home game with Georgia Tech at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. It was the Blue Devils’ 13th straight win over Clemson, which trailed 50-35 before rallying to lead 67-66. The Tigers were within a point, 77-76, with 5:24 left before a 10-0 Duke run. Of the incident with Jones, Shyatt said, “I probably didn’t treat it as I should have. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing.” Edward Scott and Tony Stockman scored 20 points each in the loss.


THE NOT-SO-SWEET 17

11. The Citadel
12. North Carolina
13. Gardner-Webb
14. Furman

15. East Carolina ... Pirates coach Bill Herrion saw some good things in a 2-3 zone in a 75-48 loss at Cincinnati on Jan. 29 and used the alignment to subdue Saint Louis 69-63 on Saturday night in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Freshman Moussa Badianne, sophomore Gabriel Mikulas and soph Erroyl Bing played on the backline for the Pirates with Travis Holcomb-Faye and Kenyatta Brown out front. Badianne blocked three shots within a three-minute span late in the game to establish a defensive presence for the Pirates as the Billikens struggled with their shooting in the second half, hitting just 2 of 15 from behind the arc.

“We didn’t have any answers for the zone,” said Saint Louis coach Lorenzo Romar.

Brown hit 8 of 11 field goal attempts to lead ECU with 19 points. Mikulas added 17, putting the Pirates ahead to stay at 53-51 on one of six assists for Holcomb-Faye. ECU (8-13, 2-7 C-USA) hit 22 of 41 field goal attempts for 53.7 percent. When ECU shoots well, it can compete in its new league.

“We’ve won two games in Conference USA now, which is probably two more than a lot of people thought we would win,” Herrion said.

The Pirates visit Marquette (19-3, 8-1) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and DePaul (8-12, 1-7) at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Bing, who had 13 points against Saint Louis, leads ECU in scoring (14.5) and rebounding (8.6).

16. Wofford
17. Western Carolina
18. Winthrop
19. Appalachian State
20. South Carolina State
21. UNC Asheville
22. Elon
23. N.C. A&T
24. Campbell
25. Charleston Southern
26. High Point
27. Coastal Carolina

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 12:57:59 AM
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