Students mix it up with roundball
Bill Herrion said he has always been able to nurse the roundball into the
basket, so he said he didn’t embarrass himself playing “H-O-R-S-E” with a
group of selected students at “Late Night with the Pirates” in Williams
Arena at Minges Coliseum on Friday night.
“I had no athletic ability but I could always shoot,” Herrion said.
The occasion developed in lieu of a “Midnight Madness” session to start
practice in mid-October.
“The students were on fall break so that was kind of an oversight on my
part in regard to the start of practice,” said the Pirates coach. “But we
wanted to have a night to get students, fans and season ticket holders
It was estimated that about 700 fans came out to get a preview of the
2002-03 Pirates team.
“The turnout was more than I anticipated,” Herrion said. “We were
finishing up practice when they started letting people in so we only
scrimmaged about 10 minutes. The night before we had scrimmaged 2 1/2 hours
Fans were treated to a dunk contest that produced co-winners Devon Boddie
and Moussa Badiane. Boddie, a sophomore guard, was something of a surprise
in that competition.
There was some fan involvement as well with ECU assistants teaming with
students in a 3-point shooting contest. That was won by ECU assistant George
Stackhouse and student Chad Hicks.
One student emerged from the “H-O-R-S-E” competition with a chance to win
tuition and books for the spring semester with two attempts from halfcourt.
But he missed.
Herrion was pleased with the degree of interest shown in the team and
feels encouraged about preseason workouts.
“We have to be careful about being too optimistic,” he said. “But the
attitudes have been good and the kids are competing hard. We’re stronger
physically from top to bottom. We have to go on the road and win early and
we get a chance at Middle Tennessee the first game (Nov. 22)."
The Pirates return to Greenville to play their first home game against
Ole Miss on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 2 p.m.
For those wanting another chance to take a preseason glimpse at the
Pirates, the team will be on display this Saturday with a scrimmage at 11:30
a.m. in the basketball arena.
From 1 to 2 p.m., fans can “Meet the Pirates” at the Murphy Center and
get autographs. Tickets for lunch at the Murphy Center are $7. Call (252)
328-4530 for more information.
ECU has upcoming exhibitions at home against the Marine Corps at 7 p.m.
on Nov. 7 and the EA Sports All-Stars at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12.
Deflating loss, inflated ball
ECU took its first football loss in Conference USA play, 44-20, at
Louisville on Saturday with quarterback Paul Troth struggling with
pinpointing his passes. Troth completed 14 of 36 for 211 yards with no
touchdowns, one interception and one sack.
“I was reading fine,” Troth said. “I was just a little inaccurate.”
Back-up Desmond Robinson completed 2 of 5 for 18 yards with no scores and
no picks but he was sacked twice.
One factor that might explain ECU’s 39.0 completion percentage was the
air pressure of the new Wilson model footballs which the Pirates use. Coach
Steve Logan said the Pirates like 12.5 pounds of air pressure in the balls,
which he said is legal, but Logan said the game officials took the ECU game
balls and increased the air pressure to 14 pounds.
Taped replays also showed that the officials took away a touchdown by
ruling receiver Richard Alston was out of bounds when he actually got both
feet down in the end zone.
It wasn’t a good game for the Pirates on either side of the ball or on
the scoreboard. ECU’s running game, which had been averaging 129.7 yards,
was limited to a net of 68. Art Brown was held to 56 yards, less than half
his average coming into the game.
On the other hand, Louisville rushed for 204 yards despite averaging just
102.4 previously, a C-USA low. And Cards QB Dave Ragone had an exceptional
day as he completed 23 of 32 with five touchdowns, no interceptions and
It was a flashback to last year when ECU’s defense allowed an average of
261.0 passing yards per game, the highest in C-USA. It was a better effort
for Ragone than in Louisville’s 39-34 win in Greenville in 2001, when he was
22 of 34 for 292 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
ECU worked to improve its pass defense in the offseason with schematic
and personnel changes. The Pirates had improved their average passing yards
allowed to 189.5 going into the Louisville game.
Logan may buy graduation presents for Ragone and Cards defensive end
Dewayne White, the league defensive player of the year in 2001 who had two
sacks on Saturday against ECU. The Pirates coach will be glad when the duo
moves on to the NFL and who could blame him?