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View from the East
Saturday, January 10, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Mission to end road futility begins

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East Carolina's basketball team has never won a road game in Conference USA and the chances of the Pirates breaking that 0-for-16 drought that spans their first two seasons in the league will indeed be tough in Charlotte’s 9,105-seat Dale F. Halton Arena tonight.

Coach Bobby Lutz of the 49ers said earlier this week that he expects a sellout with an appearance by recording artist Clay Aiken, a recent Charlotte graduate. Free Aiken Bobble Head dolls are expected to boost fan interest. Tipoff was pushed back one hour to 8 p.m. so that the schedule conflict with the Carolina Panthers’ NFL playoff game at St. Louis will be reduced.

“East Carolina fans always support their team here,” Lutz said in regard to the anticipated crowd.

ECU (8-3, 0-1 C-USA) has hopefully gotten past the disappointment of a 71-68 loss to UAB on Wednesday night.

“We’ve got to take a shower and wash this one away,” said senior forward Erroyl Bing, who went over the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring against UAB. “We’ve got 15 conference games left. We can’t let one game tear down what we’ve worked so hard to build.”

The Blazers exposed some of the Pirates’ ball handling problems with their relentless fullcourt pressure. Freshman point guard Japhet McNeil was hounded into six of ECU’s 22 turnovers.

Pirates coach Bill Herrion was especially disappointed that his team let an opportunity to win at home slip away. ECU had won its first seven home games this season but had not faced an opponent with the depth and athleticism of UAB, which reached the final of the C-USA Tournament last season.

“In this league if you don’t win home games you’re in a lot of trouble,” Herrion said Wednesday. “We gave one away here today. You can’t play in this league and make 22 turnovers and expect to win.”

The UAB loss will continue to haunt ECU in another manner. Every league team that sees the difficulty that ECU had in developing an offensive flow with the ball pressure that Carldell “Squeaky” Johnson applied on McNeil will try to do the same thing if their personnel is capable.

The major redeeming factor in ECU’s performance on Wednesday night was its rebounding effort where the Pirates dominated 48-24 on the glass. Bing snatched 11 rebounds and Derrick Wiley grabbed 10.

That effort came in front of ECU’s supportive fan base in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

Given ECU’s road woes and tonight’s venue, evening the league record will require a great deal of determination, focus and effort. Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins was asked if the league’s ranked teams — No. 10 Louisville, his 11th-ranked Bearcats and No. 23 Marquette would dominate C-USA this season.

“Have you ever been to Charlotte?” Huggins replied. “Everybody will struggle there.”

The 49ers beat the Bearcats 74-64 at home last season but had their own problems on the road, going 2-11. In contrast, Charlotte has had what it takes to be successful on the road thus far this season, going 5-2 in its 9-3 start with a victory at defending NCAA champion Syracuse and opening league play by winning 75-70 at DePaul.

“If we don’t turn it over we can put it in the basket pretty well,” Lutz said.

The 49ers coach said his program has the best inside-outside balance it has ever had. Charlotte added its first-ever top 10 recruit, 7-foot freshman Martin Iti, an Australian who played at Mount Zion in Durham, the same program that produced Tracy McGrady of the Orlando Magic.

Vanderbilt transfer Brendan Plavich hit 10 shots from behind the arc for the 49ers against Syracuse. Guard Demon Brown scored a career-high 34 points at DePaul. Sophomore forward Curtis Withers leads the team in scoring and rebounding. The 49ers have a number of guys who can beat you.

The Pirates could have put the confidence and momentum that a win over UAB would have provided to good use. The upcoming schedule is very difficult. ECU comes back from Charlotte to face Louisville at home on Thursday at 9 p.m. That’s followed by trips to Houston, Saint Louis and Cincinnati.

Unless the Pirates can solve their problems on the road, an 0-6 start in C-USA is not only possible but likely.

“We need to play like we’re down 10 coming out of the gate,” Bing said. “We need to shoot better and not turn it over as much. ... We can’t be timid. We have to go out there and go after people whether it’s in Minges or on the road.”

Al Myatt: View from the East - 01.10
Mission to end road futility begins
Al Myatt: 2003 Carolinas football wrap & honors - 01.10
Nuggets: Notes from ECU and beyond - 01.10

Greg Vacek: Daily Web Headlines Roundup - 01.10
Denny O'Brien: Pirate Notebook No. 168 - 01.09
Coming of age a painful process
Nuggets: Notes from ECU and beyond - 01.09
Pirate Radio 1250 Audio: Miller Lite Sports Bar - 01.09
Host Jon Ellerbe with Allen Thomas & Tony Catusas
Pirate Radio 1250 Audio: John Thompson Call-In Show - 01.09
Host Jeff Charles
Cable 7 Audio: On Campus with Jeff Charles - 01.09
Guests Erroyl Bing, Gabe Mikulas & Sharon Baldwin-Tener
Bonesville Bytes Audio: ECU-UAB Post-game Comments - 01.09
Bill Herrion, Erroyl Bing, Derrick Wiley, UAB's Mike Anderson

Henry Hinton: Henry's Highlights - 01.08
Here's to wisdom for ECU and N.C. leaders
Bonesville: AFCA backs non-BCS schools - 01.08
Bonesville: Blazers escape town with win - 01.08
Nuggets: Notes from ECU and beyond - 01.08
Pirate Radio 1250 Audio: Live@5 Segment - 01.08
Troy Dreyfus, Jon Ellerbe & special guest William Shelton

Ron Cherubini: Reflections - 01.07
Note to conspiracy theorists: Count me in
Brian Bailey: From the Anchor Desk - 01.07
UAB game has big implications
Nuggets: Notes from ECU and beyond - 01.07
Letter to the Editor: Jon Rogers, Alexandria, VA - 01.07
Cable 7 Audio: Midweek Tip-Off - 01.07
Henry Hinton, Mike Steele, guests David Garrard, Bill Herrion
Pirate Radio 1250 Audio: Live@&5 Segment - 01.07
Troy Dreyfus, Jon Ellerbe, guest Bill Herrion
Pirate Radio 1250 Audio: Sportsline Segment - 01.07
Patrick Johnson, guest Denny O'Brien

Denny O'Brien: Pirate Notebook No. 167 - 01.06
Showdown with Blazers is Herrion's biggest
Bonesville: BCS needs major surgery - 01.06
Bonesville: Final AP & Coaches football polls - 01.06
Bonesville: AP basketball poll - 01.06
Nuggets: Notes from ECU and beyond - 01.06
Cable 7 Audio: Brian Bailey Show - 01.06
Guest Greg Herenda
Pirate Radio 1250 Audio: From The Locker Room - 01.06
Kevin Monroe & Sean Farmer
Pirate Radio 1250 Audio: The Press Box - 01.06
Troy Dreyfus, Brian Bailey, Jody Jones & Jim Gentry
Al Myatt: View from the East - 01.05
'Great night for purple and gold'
Bonesville: USC shares glory - 01.05
Bonesville: BCS looks to hoops for answers - 01.05
Nuggets: Notes from ECU and beyond - 01.05
Letter to the Editor: P. Jeff Martin, Akron, OH - 01.05
Bonesville: Presidents say no, no, no to playoff - 01.04
Bonesville: Rebs scuttle Pirates - 01.04

Nuggets: Notes from ECU and beyond - 01.04

Foster’s status

ECU coach Bill Herrion is still hopeful of getting freshman forward recruit Keith Foster involved with the program this season although Foster’s current status is that of a non-qualifier. Foster will apparently get another shot at an academic evaluation by the NCAA that could raise his status to partial qualifier and that would allow him to participate in practice this season.

New coaches

Although there has been no official announcement about former Washington Redskins quarterbacks coach Noah Brindise joining ECU’s football staff as offensive coordinator or Robert McFarland coming in as offensive line coach from Central Florida, the expected additions are apparently getting involved in the program.

“I hope they’ll be on the staff,” said one source. “They’re driving ECU courtesy cars.”

ECU coach John Thompson may be waiting to introduce Brindise and McFarland to players after the holiday break before an official announcement is made.

Baseball Pirates No. 43

Durham-based Baseball America has ECU ranked No. 43 in its preseason college poll. The rankings, with last season’s records in parentheses:

Baseball America’s Preseason Top 50

Rank Team (2003 Record)
1. Rice (58-12)
2. Louisiana State (45-22)
3. Miami (45-17)
4. Cal State Fullerton (50-16)
5. Georgia Tech (44-18)
6. Stanford (51-18)
7. South Carolina (45-22)
8. Texas (50-20)
9. Long Beach State (41-20)
10. Tulane (44-19)
11. Clemson (39-22)
12. Auburn (42-21)
13. Baylor (45-23)
14. Wichita State (49-27)
15. North Carolina (42-23)
16. Arizona (35-23)
17. Mississippi (35-27)
18. Arizona State (54-14)
19. Notre Dame (45-18)
20. Florida (37-21)
21. Texas A&M (45-19)
22. Florida State (54-13)
23. Florida Atlantic (47-16)
24. Nebraska (47-18)
25. North Carolina State (45-18)
26. California (28-27)
27. Houston (37-30)
28. Southern California (28-28)
29. Southern Mississippi (47-16)
30. Minnesota (40-22)
31. Mississippi State (42-20)
32. Ohio State (44-21)
33. Coastal Carolina (45-18)
34. Pepperdine (36-25)
35. Washington (42-18)
36. Alabama (38-24)
37. Oklahoma State (34-24)
38. Boston College (33-21)
39. UC Riverside (41-17)
40. Vanderbilt (27-28)
41. UNC Greensboro (39-21)
42. South Alabama (42-19)
43. East Carolina (34-27)
44. Richmond (48-15)
45. Wake Forest (29-24)
46. Tennessee (31-24)
47. Florida International (36-23)
48. Va. Commonwealth (46-13)
49. Lamar (40-18)
50. Stetson (41-24)

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02/23/2007 12:44:50 AM

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