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College Basketball in the Carolinas

View from the East
Monday, January 14, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Pitino's Pending Visit Stirs McGuire Memories


This is a compelling week in college basketball in the Carolinas.

Maryland comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday night to play Duke in a rematch from last year’s national semifinals. The Terps have won on their last two trips to Durham and could give the Blue Devils more problems with their size and ability in the frontcourt. Maryland guard Steve Blake has also had some defensive success against Duke’s Jason Williams. Blake’s teammate Juan Dixon is one of the few college players who can approach Williams in terms of offensive explosiveness.

Rick Pitino, the former Kentucky and Boston Celtics coach, is on his way to Williams Arena. I can’t remember a higher profile coach ever bringing a team to Minges Coliseum, although Frank McGuire might compare. His South Carolina team came to Greenville during the 1969-70 season. McGuire had won an NCAA championship at North Carolina with an undefeated team in 1957 and later went to the NBA.

Former ECU basketball coach Earl Smith said ECU almost hired McGuire in the 1960s as basketball coach. The Philadelphia Warriors were moving to the West Coast and McGuire didn’t want to go. McGuire wanted a little more money than ECU was willing to pay, according to Smith and other sources. The amount of money is insignificant — comical practically — in terms of today's coaching salaries. McGuire was later hired at South Carolina.

Pitino has Louisville out to an 11-3 start. The Cardinals visit ECU on Wednesday night. This epitomizes the excitement of Conference USA basketball. It ain’t George Mason folks — and James Madison ... has left the building. Duke hasn’t left the No. 1 spot in the State Line Hoops Rankings, which follow:

State Line Hoops Report & Power Rankings©
— 01/14/02 —


1. Duke ... A week after a stunning 78-77 loss at Florida State, the Blue Devils were not entertaining any notions of an upset in Raleigh. Duke blitzed N.C. State with a decisive 17-0 first-half run. Mike Dunleavy was the Wolfpack’s primary tormentor with 22 of his career-high 27 points in the first half. The thorough win and Kansas’ loss at UCLA will likely return Duke to the No. 1 spot in the national polls. Carlos Boozer had 22 points for the Blue Devils, who host Maryland in a much-anticipated matchup at 9 p.m. on Thursday.

2. Wake Forest ... The Deacons used a 17-0 run to take a 33-14 lead at home against Clemson and Wake eventually subdued the Tigers, 96-55. Eastern North Carolina connections boosted Wake offensively. Antwan Scott, who grew up in New Bern, led the Deacs in scoring with 17 points and Craig Dawson, who is from Kinston, had 16 points. Homegrown Josh Howard, from Winston-Salem, had 15 points. WFU’s Lithuanian duo, Darius Songaila and Vytas Danelius, combined for 25 points and 19 rebounds. Wake is 13-3 overall and 3-0 in the ACC going into a Tuesday night game at Virginia.

3. N.C. State ... Never mind the 76-57 loss to Duke. That one tipped off at 8 p.m. and was over before the on-air folks on the 10 o’clock news had finished applying their make-up. The Wolfpack has to refocus quickly for a Tuesday night game at Clemson, where the Tigers won 72-69 over the Wolfpack last year. NCSU is 12-4 overall and 2-2 in league play. State needs to improve its offensive consistency after going almost nine minutes without a basket in the first half against the Blue Devils as senior guard Anthony Grundy had a sub-par effort.

4. South Carolina ... First-year Gamecocks coach Dave Odom was looking for a silver lining in a heartbreaking 51-50 loss in Columbia to traditional Southeastern Conference power Kentucky that dropped USC TO 10-5 overall and 0-2 in the league. The Wildcats came into the game 0-2 in the SEC but avoided their first 0-3 league start since the 1975-76 season.

“I can only imagine the disappointment that (Kentucky) has felt with two disappointing losses,” Odom said. “And I think there’s a lesson in that. They were able to go on the road and come out with a one-point win after being behind for 39 minutes in the game.”

Cliff Hawkins’ driving shot with 3.4 seconds to go won for Kentucky.

5. Charlotte ... East Carolina fans — 6,430 of them — got a first-hand look at the 49ers on Saturday as coach Bobby Lutz’ club took an 84-75 Conference USA win in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Noted shooter Jobey Thomas led the way with 20 points on 3-for-5 shooting from behind the arc. Cam Stephens had 19 points and 12 rebounds — his sixth double-double in the last eight games. UNCC led 43-35 on the boards. The 49ers, who visit Saint Louis on Tuesday night, got 20 offensive rebounds.

6. College of Charleston ... The Cougars avenged a 66-64 loss to Wofford on Jan. 2 as they topped the Terriers 73-61 in overtime on Saturday behind 29 points from Jeff Bolton. Wofford led 61-56 in the second meeting with 1:09 to play. Bolton hit a three with 51 seconds left and a 12 footer with just two seconds to go in regulation to get coach John Kresse’s club into the extra period. The Cougars are 12-3 overall and 2-2 in the Southern Conference going into a game at Furman on Monday night.

7. UNC Wilmington ... Delaware, coached by former Duke player and assistant coach David Henderson, did something few teams do. They went into the home of the Seahawks, Trask Coliseum, and they left with a win. The Blue Hens handed UNCW its first Colonial Athletic Association defeat. The Seahawks dropped to 9-6 overall and 4-1 in the league despite 20 points by junior guard Brett Blizzard.

“Coach Henderson’s kids were the best team,” said Seahawks coach Jerry Wainwright. “We didn’t lose this game; they beat us. There’s a big difference.”

UNCW visits William & Mary on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

8. UNC Greensboro ... The Spartans got a career-high 26 points from James Maye in a 79-67 Southern Conference road win over Georgia Southern on Saturday night. That stopped a six-game home winning streak for the Eagles and lifted coach Fran McCaffery’s Spartans to 9-5 overall and 3-1 in the league. Maye is hitting 44.3 percent of his 3-point attempts for UNCG, which will host East Tennessee State tonight. The Spartans meet cross-town rival N.C. A&T at the Greensboro Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

9. Clemson ... One of the problems the Tigers encountered against Wake Forest was foul trouble for muscular post player Chris Hobbs, who leads the team in scoring with a 12.5-point average. Hobbs scored just four points before fouling out on Saturday. Clemson managed to hit just 32.4 percent of its shots from the field and was out-rebounded 56-48. The Tigers were a plus-nine on rebounding going into the game. The Tigers have lost 12 straight on the road to the Deacons.

10. The Citadel ... Who let the Bulldogs out? They’ve bounded into the Top 10 with a 105-97 win at Western Carolina in two overtimes on Saturday, upping their record to 11-4 overall and 3-1 in the Southern Conference. Travis Cantrell is averaging 17.3 points and 2.9 assists. Cliff Washburn, a 6-foot-7 center, leads coach Pat Dennis’ club in rebounding with a 7.1 average. Georgia Southern visits The Citadel tonight and Chattanooga comes to Charleston on Saturday.


11. Davidson.

12. Gardner-Webb

13. North Carolina

14. Wofford

15. East Carolina ... The Pirates will be concerned about several facets of play as first-year Louisville coach Rick Pitino brings the Cardinals to Greenville on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. tipoff. Coach Bill Herrion wants his team to shoot better. The Pirates are hitting just 38.7 percent of their field goal attempts and 31.2 percent of their threes.

Herrion felt the defensive performance was good enough to win in a 63-54 loss at UAB last week but ECU made just nine of 31 field goal attempts in the second half (29.0 percent). They were a dismal two of 14 behind the arc for 14.3 percent.

ECU made just nine of 24 field goal tries in the first half against UNC Charlotte, 37.5 percent. ECU trailed by 12 points at the half and got no closer than five points in the second half after trailing by as many as 16.

The Pirates will have to improve on the defensive glass where Charlotte converted 20 offensive rebounds into 26 second-chance points on Saturday.

Little fault could be found in the play of sophomore Erroyl Bing of the Pirates, who had a game-high 24 points on nine of 11 shooting from the floor. Bing also had nine rebounds.

Gabriel Mikulas has had 16 points in both games since his return. Mikulas hit 12 of 12 free throws against the 49ers.

The Pirates travel to Saint Louis for a game on Saturday. The Savvis center was the site of a 90-54 ECU loss to the Billikens last season.

16. Furman

17. Appalachian State

18. Western Carolina

19. South Carolina State

20. Winthrop

21. UNC Asheville

22. Elon

23. High Point

24. Campbell

25. Charleston Southern

26. Coastal Carolina

27. N.C. A&T

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02/23/2007 12:58:22 AM

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