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College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Monday, January 13, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

No time to fret over Queen City disappointment

Fortunately for Pirates, looming battle with Louisville is at home

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The road is long, as the song says, with many a winding turn. The East Carolina men’s basketball team knows the meaning behind that song well.

After an 83-62 loss at Charlotte’s Halton Arena on Saturday night, the Pirates have played nine road games in Conference USA and are still looking for their first win.

Charlotte, which doesn’t have a football team, took a two touchdown lead on ECU (14-0) and won by three TDs (21 points).

The time looked right on Saturday night for an ECU breakthrough outside the supportive confines of Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The 49ers had dropped four straight and after an 80-59 loss at home to Louisville, appeared extremely vulnerable.

A sizeable contingent of ECU fans were on hand and Charlotte may have resented the intrusion. One 49ers player said ECU’s support helped motivate the hosts.

The outset looked like a the start of a drag race. The 49ers hit the gas on green. The Pirates were left groping for the gear shift.

“Coming out like that early, they didn’t know what to do,” 49ers point guard Curtis Nash told The Charlotte Observer. “Nobody expected us to come out like that. We had told ourselves that all this stuff about young, small — let’s throw all that out the window.”

ECU had no points and three turnovers to show for its first six possessions.

Charlotte had also started fast against Louisville but this time the 49ers would not be overtaken. Their first-half lead swelled to 26 points. ECU did make a run to get within 16 points in the second half but it was much too little and much too tardy.

Proximity makes the Pirates and 49ers a natural rivalry within the geographic expanse of C-USA but a rivalry indicates a higher degree of competitiveness. Pirates coach Bill Herrion was left to ponder why the energy and intensity that has characterized the Pirates in league showdowns at home can’t be generated on the road.

Senior point guard Travis Holcomb-Faye, who returned after a five-game absence due to an academic suspension imposed by Herrion, came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points. He was 6 of 10 from the field and was also second on the team with six rebounds but he also had a team-high with six turnovers.

“Nobody said much when we got in the locker room,” said Holcomb-Faye on Herrion’s coach’s show on Sunday on WITN-7. “It’s always going to be touch on the road in the conference but coach is a little disappointed. I don’t think we played as hard as we could play tonight. But we can’t hang our heads too long. We’ve got to get back to Greenville and get to practice tomorrow and get prepared for Louisville.”

The good news is that ECU faces the Cardinals (10-1, 2-0 C-USA), who have won nine straight, at home. Louisville’s only loss was 86-84 at Purdue on Nov. 30, the same day the Pirates were losing 24-7 in football at Southern Miss. Reece Gaines leads coach Rick Pitino’s team with a 17.9 scoring average.

“We’re going to bounce back,” said freshman guard Belton Rivers. “We’re going to be all right. We just have to stay together and everything’s going to be all right.”

There will likely be a sellout crowd for the Thursday night’s 9 p.m. tipoff on ESPN 2. A year ago to the day, Jan. 16, 2002, the Pirates stunned the Cards 87-77. That was at home, of course. It will be difficult to do it again but the challenge for the Pirates in the bigger picture will be a Sunday game at DePaul. And starting Jan. 29, ECU plays six of its next nine league games on the
road.

Carolinas pecking order

This week’s rankings are based sequentially on the team’s standings in Sunday morning’s Sagarin ratings. The computer rankings were the basis for the most part for the Carolinas Division I ratings last year. We tweaked the rankings a bit from the Sagarin standings last week but reverted to last year’s basis for this week even though there are some inconsistencies. UNC moved up. The Tar Heels didn’t lose as decisively on Saturday as did N.C. State and ECU.


STATE LINE HOOPS REPORT©

The Top Ten

  1. Duke (11-0, 2-0 ACC) ...The Blue Devils began to pull away late in the first half in a showdown of the last two unbeaten teams in Division I and beat Wake Forest 74-55. Dahntay Jones scored 16 points in the win while Chris Duhon scored 14 and had nine assists. Duke hosts Virginia on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and plays at Maryland at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
  2. Wake Forest (10-1, 0-1 ACC) ... Wake was limited to 34.4 percent field goal shooting in its 74-55 loss at Duke and made just 4 of 18 from 3-point land, 22.2 percent. Duke outscored Wake 31-12 on points off of turnovers. The Deacons host Maryland at 9 p.m. on Wednesday and play another Sunday night tilt at 6:30 p.m. against Georgia Tech at home.
  3. North Carolina (9-5, 1-1 ACC) ... The Tar Heels have struggled inside since Sean May, who was averaging 12.1 points and a team-high 8.6 rebounds went out of action in late December with a broken bone in his foot. After a 5-0 start, the Heels have dropped five of their last nine games. On Saturday, Virginia led 48-30 at the half but Coach Matt Doherty was encouraged that UNC was able to close within six points in the second half. Rashad McCants scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half and leads the team with an 18.5 average. He’s hitting 44.3 percent behind the arc as the Heels are shooting more three-pointers without May. The Heels host Clemson on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and try to continue their perfect mastery over the Tigers in Chapel Hill. Connecticut provides a non-conference challenge at the Smith Center on Saturday at 5 p.m.
  4. UNC Wilmington (8-4, 2-1 CAA) ... The Seahawks bounced back from a 67-57 loss at Old Dominion on Wednesday to win 88-86 in overtime at Drexel on Saturday as senior guard Brett Blizzard scored 33 points, 12 above his average. Blizzard had four assists and just one turnover. He was 8 of 15 from the field, including 5 of 8 behind the arc, and 12 of 14 at the line. UNCW offset Drexel’s 36-28 rebounding advantage by hitting 48 percent (12 of 25) from 3-point land. The Seahawks are on the road this week — at James Madison at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and at Delaware at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
  5. Clemson (10-1, 0-1 ACC) ... The Tigers had six days to get ready for Morris Brown after an 89-71 loss to Duke last Sunday, their first setback. Clemson got a 7-for-7 field goal shooting effort and a season-high 15 points from Ray Henderson in dropping the Wolverines to 1-13 with a 75-52 pounding at renovated Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday. Clemson will need to improve its 2 for 14 shooting from behind the arc as it travels to North Carolina at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and hosts Virginia at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
  6. N.C. State (8-3, 1-1 ACC) ... The Wolfpack has looked somewhat ragged on the road, losing its last three outside the RBC Center, including an 85-61 thrashing at Georgia Tech on Saturday in which the Pack disintegrated in the second half after trailing 32-31 at the break. Sophomore Julius Hodge leads the NCSU scoring (19.2) and rebounding
    (6.7) and is dealing out an average of 3.8 assists. State is at home against Boston College at 7 p.m. on Thursday and returns to ACC play at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Florida State.
  7. East Carolina (10-3, 2-1 C-USA) ... The Pirates continue to struggle on the road in Conference USA, falling to 0-9 over two seasons with an 83-62 loss at Charlotte on Saturday. ECU needs more production from junior forward Errroyl Bing, last year’s leading scorer and rebounder, than his scoreless performance in 21 minutes at Charlotte. ECU hosts Louisville at 9 p.m. on Thursday night (ESPN 2) and plays at DePaul at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
  8. Appalachian State (8-3, 2-0 Southern) ... The Mountaineers have recovered from a 2-3 start that included a 101-78 loss at Marquette to win five of their last six with a 91-60 defeat of UNC Greensboro in Boone on Saturday. Guard Shawn Hall is just 5-foot-8 but leads ASU with a 20.5 scoring average with 37 points in a 108-94 win over East Tennessee State last Monday. ASU plays at Georgia Southern at 7:30 p.m. tonight, hosts Gardner-Webb at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and goes to Chattanooga for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday.
  9. South Carolina (7-5, 1-1 SEC) ... After winning their league opener 55-49 at home over Ole Miss on Wednesday, the Gamecocks fell 62-55 at Kentucky on Saturday after trailing 32-19 at the half. Sophomore forward Carlos Powell leads USC with a 16.3 scoring average. Coach Dave Odom’s second-year club hosts Auburn at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Florida at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
  10. Davidson (8-4, 2-0 Southern) ... Following a 79-64 loss at UNC on Wednesday, the Wildcats returned home to down Western Carolina 83-66 on Saturday as Davidson shot 54 percent from the field and got 24 points from Wayne Bernard. The Cats are at Chattanooga for a 7:30 p.m. tip tonight and host Furman at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
The Not-So-Sweet 17

11. Charlotte
12. College of Charleston
13. Coastal Carolina
14. Wofford
15. Charleston Southern
16. High Point
17. UNC Greensboro
18. UNC Asheville
19. Winthrop
20. Western Carolina
21. South Carolina State
22. Furman
23. Gardner-Webb
24. The Citadel
25. Campbell
26. Elon
27. N.C. A&T

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02/23/2007 12:40:19 AM
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