East Carolina’s basketball game at Saint Louis ended around
4 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday. A 56-42 loss to the Billikens pushed the
Pirates’ Conference USA road record to 0-14 over two seasons and added to
the frustration of Coach Bill Herrion at his team’s struggles away from
Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
The Pirates flew back commercially from St. Louis to Memphis
and then from Memphis to Raleigh-Durham. The bus from RDU got into
Greenville around 2 a.m. on Sunday.
Herrion may not be pleased with his team’s road performance
but the Pirates keep working to keep pace in C-USA. There was a practice
Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
The good news for the Pirates is that Derrick Wiley was back
for the workout on Sunday after missing the Saint Louis game because of the
death of an uncle in Durham.
“The uncle helped raise him and they were very close so he
had to be there for his family,” Herrion said.
Wiley leads ECU with a 13.0 scoring average. He scored 17 of
his game-high 21 points in the second half as ECU came from nine points down
in the last 8 1/2 minutes in a 60-57 home win over Southern Miss in the
Pirates’ previous game.
Wiley’s sense of family obligation is certainly admirable,
but the unfortunate timing of the situation didn’t help the Pirates, who
managed to ring up only one point on the Savvis Center scoreboard over the
last 11:07 of the first half.
“That’s been our downfall on the road,” Herrion said. “We
have these stretches where we don’t score and now you’re playing from
behind. We’re not good enough to do that, particularly on the road — to dig
a hole and try to win a game. I’m very frustrated and very confused with the
fact that we’re not putting the ball in the basket.”
Herrion said opponents are routinely double-teaming Gabriel
Mikulas in the low post.
“Teams are taking him out of the offense and they’re saying,
‘Get it out of his hands and make somebody make a jump shot’ and right now
we’re not shooting it well enough,” Herrion said.
The Pirates haven’t shot as high as 40 percent from the
field in their last nine games. Improving perimeter shooting was an
offseason objective in recruiting but the Pirates are hitting only 27.3
percent behind the arc. That compares to 31.0 percent last year.
“Saint Louis has Marque Perry, Marquette has Dwyane Wade,
Louisville has Reece Gaines and Charlotte has Demon Brown,” Herrion said.
“All of those teams have go-to guys on offense. We don’t have a go-to guy.
We missed Wiley from that standpoint. He does a lot offensively for us.
“I know it’s redundant but we held Saint Louis to 56 points,
we held Tulane to 67, DePaul to 55 and Cincinnati to 59. We’ve played good
enough defensively and we’ve rebounded well. We’ve just had an unbelievable
time scoring. Saint Louis is 10-12 but they’ve beaten some good basketball
teams — Dayton, West Virginia, Memphis and Louisville. They’re a good
The Pirates will get another shot at the Billikens in their
regular season finale on Saturday, March 8, at 11 a.m.
ECU plays at home this week against DePaul at 7 p.m. on
Tuesday (WITN-TV 7) and Charlotte at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Pirates are 0-3
in C-USA play against both of this week’s opponents.
Leadership in the ACC was to be decided Sunday night but
Mother Nature said it wasn’t happening. Two feet of snow in the College
Park, Md., area resulted in the postponement of the Wake Forest-Maryland
game, which was tentatively reset for this afternoon.
Virginia might have wished its game on Saturday night with
Duke in Charlottesville had been postponed as the Blue Devils regrouped with
an impressive 78-59 win. Wake stays No. 1 for the third straight week in the
Carolinas Division I poll after topping the Blue Devils 94-80 in
double-overtime last week.
There’s some shuffling elsewhere in the Top 10 and down
below as well in the Not-So-Sweet 17.