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College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Monday, January 27, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Rebounding, defense keep Pirates in C-USA mix

Duke cemented as Carolinas' No. 1; Wolfpack leaps four spots



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East Carolina senior point guard Travis Holcomb-Faye said was he was frustrated after a 59-53 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

“We've lost four straight games,” he said. “We haven't won a game since I came back (from an academic suspension by Coach Bill Herrion).”

Pirates junior forward Erroyl Bing took some personal emotion into Saturday night's home game with South Florida as well. Bing is from Largo, Fla., and the Bulls had shown some interest in him coming out of high school.

“They toyed with me,” Bing told the Tampa Tribune of South Florida's recruiting approach.

Holcomb-Faye alleviated his frustration and a highly-motivated Bing exacted a measure of revenge for his treatment as a high school recruit as the Pirates rallied past South Florida 68-62 for a double overtime Conference USA win in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

Holcomb-Faye scored a career-high 28 points and Bing tied a school record with 24 rebounds as ECU overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half. Bing's 12 offensive rebounds tied a C-USA record.

Holcomb-Faye matched his career high in rebounds with nine and Gabriel Mikulas also snared nine. ECU’s 71 rebounds set a C-USA record but it was looking a lot like the Pirates might take a 5-game losing streak into an 8 p.m. game on Wednesday night at Marquette, the only C-USA team ECU had beaten previously this season.

“At halftime, my concern as a coach was whether I had lost these kids,” said Pirates coach Bill Herrion. “It did not look like we were playing with a lot of emotion, a lot of fire, a lot of energy. We did not really get on them at halftime, we just challenged them.”

Although the Pirates still haven't solved their recent difficulties shooting the basketball, they got on a roll that dissolved the Bulls' 14-point lead. ECU began to hit some shots against South Florida's zone defense and strong offensive rebounding gave the Pirates numerous second chance opportunities.

“When the ball goes in the basket it is amazing how much confidence it gives your basketball team,” Herrion said.

Still, the Pirates didn't lead until the second extra period, which was marred by some pushing and shoving along with the ejection of Bulls coach Seth Greenberg with 12.4 seconds left after Greenberg charged official Michael Kitts.

“Reggie Kohn got fouled, and it wasn’t called,'” Greenberg said. “I apologize. I shouldn't have done that. I didn't act properly, and (Kitts) didn't like my reaction to it."

Two players on each team received technicals for their roles in the ensuing scrum.

“It started with a no call, and then people started bumping each other,” Kohn told the Tampa Tribune.

The Bulls were missing 6-foot-11 center Will McDonald, who was leading the team in scoring (16.8) and rebounding (7.7). McDonald was arrested on Friday and charged with false imprisonment and domestic battery in an incident that apparently involved a former girl friend.

“They played without McDonald tonight but they are very athletic and anytime you play without your key player, other guys step up,” Herrion said.

The guy who stepped up for the Bulls was 6-5 junior swing man Jimmy Baxter, who scored 25 points.

“He's a handful,” Herrion said. “He is a tremendous wing player. I thought Derrick Wiley defensively had some big stops on him (Baxter) late in the game. I think collectively we had some big stops. Our defense has been tremendous the last three games. If we ever start scoring, if we ever start putting the ball in the basket, we have a chance to be a pretty good team.

“It is amazing that we won the basketball game shooting 25 percent. How we won the basketball game I don't know. I think it was a lot of guts, a lot of character, and a lot of pride.”

A crowd of 6,038 kept ECU on pace to eclipse the school record average of 5,980 set in the 1994-95 season.

“Great crowd tonight,” Herrion said. “The fans really got behind us. I am really proud of the crowd.”

The win improved ECU to 2-4 in its bid to make the league tournament for the second straight season. The C-USA Tournament, March 12-15 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. will take the top 12 of the league's 14 teams based on their C-USA records. The Pirates are currently 11th, a half-game behind a logjam at 2-3 that includes DePaul, Charlotte, South Florida, Southern Miss and Memphis.

Saint Louis, Tulane and TCU are all 1-4. With Saint Louis and TCU each getting their first league wins on Saturday, it was important that ECU beat the Bulls to maintain its position in terms of the league tournament.

“This is a huge win for us if you look at the conference race,” Herrion said. “Our goal right now is to get to the conference tournament at the end of the year and right now that was a big, big win. It would have been a really tough loss.”

Carolinas pecking order

Duke bounced back from a rare two-game losing streak to defeat Georgia Tech 91-71 on Saturday and the Blue Devils remain on top of the rankings for Division I teams in the Carolinas. That’s nothing new. It seems the Blue Devils have been No. 1 the entire time this poll has been on over the last two seasons.


The Top Ten

  1. Duke (13-2, 4-2 ACC) ... Freshman Shelden Williams scored a career high 18 points in the 91-71 win over Georgia Tech in Durham on Saturday. Dahntay Jones led Duke with 21 points as the Blue Devils bounced back from road losses to Maryland and N.C. State. Duke hosts Butler at 7 p.m. on Thursday and visits Florida State on Sunday at 8 p.m.
  2. Wake Forest (13-2, 3-2 ACC) ... Josh Howard scored 24 points, including seven straight in an 11-4 run that put Wake ahead 51-43. Vytas Danelius,who didn’t start because he was late for a morning shooting practice, had 18 points. The Deacons visit Clemson at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and play at North Carolina at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
  3. N.C. State (11-4, 4-1 ACC) ... Sophomore Julius Hodge scored a career-high 30 points as the Wolfpack defeated visiting North Carolina 86-77 on Sunday. The win, on the heels of its upset of Duke earlier in the week, propelled State's leap from No. 7 in the previous State Line Hoops Rankings. Hodge scored 23 in the second half as the Pack got its third straight win over UNC. NCSU trails Maryland by a half-game in the league standings and visits the Terps at 9 p.m. on Thursday. State hosts Clemson at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
  4. North Carolina (11-7, 2-3 ACC) ... UNC freshman point guard Raymond Felton scored a career-high 28 points and equaled the school record with eight three-pointers. The Tar Heels trailed 66-64 with 4:52 left but an NCSU run over the next two minutes pushed UNC’s deficit to 10 points. UNC plays at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Georgia Tech and hosts Wake Forest at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
  5. UNC Wilmington (12-4, 6-1 CAA) ... The Seahawks obliterated Virginia Commonwealth 81-50 in Richmond on Saturday after pounding Towson 85-53 on Wednesday. Senior guard Brett Blizzard scored 48 points in the two wins and is averaging 20.6. UNCW plays at George Mason at 7 p.m. tonight and hosts Drexel at noon on Saturday.
  6. Clemson (11-4, 1-4 ACC) ... The Tigers lost 52-47 to Maryland at home on Saturday for their fourth loss in the last six games. Edward Scott is averaging 17.2 points for Clemson, which hosts Wake Forest at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and visits N.C. State at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
  7. Charlotte (7-9, 2-3 C-USA) ... The 49ers were topped 83-79 at Cincinnati on Saturday despite Demon Brown’s scoring effort that included 20 of his 22 points in the second half. Brown is averaging 17.8 points for Charlotte, which hosts Saint Louis at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and plays at South Florida on Saturday at noon.
  8. Appalachian State (12-4, 5-1 Southern) ... The Mountaineers won 85-68 at VMI on Friday as 5-foot-8 Shawn Hall scored 20 points. Hall is averaging 21.5 for ASU, which hosts Furman on Monday at 7 p.m., plays at Gardner-Webb at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and meets The Citadel at home at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
  9. South Carolina (7-8, 1-4 SEC) ... The Gamecocks fell 64-48 at Mississippi State on Wednesday for their fourth straight loss. Carlos Powell is averaging a team high 14.3 points for USC, which returns to action at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Tennessee and then hosts Kentucky at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
  10. East Carolina (11-6, 2-4 C-USA) ... Derrick Wiley is averaging 13.7 points for the Pirates, Gabriel Mikulas is averaging 12.3 and Travis Holcomb-Faye is averaging 10.8 after scoring a career-high 28 in a 68-62 double-overtime win over South Florida in Greenville on Saturday night. The Pirates trailed by 14 points early in the second half but Wiley scored with 20 seconds left in regulation for a tie at 54. Holcomb-Faye blocked a shot by Reggie Kohn with time running out in regulation. The Pirates trailed by four points in the first overtime but Erroyl Bing (24 rebounds) had a three-point play with 46 seconds left for a tie at 60. The outcome ended a four-game losing streak for the Pirates, who play at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at Marquette and at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Tulane. ECU will expedite travel with a charter flight to Marquette, which the Pirates defeated 73-70 at home on Dec. 30. The Golden Eagles won their fifth straight over DePaul, 72-51, on Saturday. Dwayne Wade is averaging 23.2 for Marquette (13-3, 5-1 C-USA).
The Not-So-Sweet 17

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

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02/23/2007 12:40:22 AM

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