College Sports in the Carolinas
Don't miss Al Myatt's
profile of ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the 2004
from the East
Friday, November 12, 2004
By Al Myatt
Two solid halves the mission
for USF game
WHERE TO BUY...
PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact
INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
Tracking the Classes
NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again
HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS
New Leader Takes Charge
SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door
KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams
BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate
What happens at halftime can often be the difference between success or
failure at game's end.
The second half made a big difference in the last outing for the East
Carolina football team.
The football team played a solid first half at Houston last Saturday and led
17-14 before the Cougars got their offense rolling in the second half and
topped the Pirates 34-24.
"There was a lot of positive energy in that locker room at halftime," said
ECU football coach John Thompson.
But on the first possession of the second half, Houston quarterback Kevin
Kolb, whose running ability will not be confused with Michael Vick's,
scrambled for a first down on a third-and-12. That set the tone for the
second half at Robertson Stadium.
"That was a big play," Thompson said after the game.
"That was a big play," said ECU athletic director Terry Holland as time
wound down in the fourth quarter.
Houston didn't score on its initial series of the second half but Kolb's
scramble helped swing field position in favor of the hosts.
Another defensive breakdown by the Pirates led to Houston's go-ahead score.
East Carolina had apparently forced a field goal attempt by the Cougars deep
in Pirate territory, but ECU had too many players on the field and had to
burn a timeout.
"That was a mistake that just shouldn't happen," Thompson said.
During the timeout, the Houston players pleaded with Cougars coach Art
Briles to go for it on fourth-and-two.
"The players decided and I have confidence in my players," Briles said.
Houston picked up the first down, then scored a go-ahead touchdown on the
following play and the Cougars didn't look back.
"Our team was ready to play, played well in the first half, controlled the
first half, dictated in the first half, handled their business and did so
many good things," Thompson said. "We had a couple of interceptions (in the
first half). We kept them off balance.
"We kept Kevin Kolb from running the show on their offense and then in the
second half the exact opposite happened to us."
Young teams are often characterized by inconsistency and ECU is no
exception. Houston got its ground game going in the second half as the
Cougars appeared to wear down the ECU defense.
ECU's problems on offense ranged from bad breaks on three of James Pinkney's
four interceptions to an offensive line decimated by injuries. Pinkney was
hit while throwing once, another pick was tipped by a defender and another
went through the hands of a receiver into the clutches of a Cougar.
Still, a game at South Florida at 7 p.m. on Saturday offers an opportunity
for the Pirates to show more progress as well as pick up momentum for
remaining games with Memphis and N.C. State.
2nd half no problem for hoops team
ECU couldn't pull away from Division II Barton until the second half in a
hoops exhibition in Greenville on Thursday night. The Bulldogs trailed 35-27
at the half in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum and that prompted some
oratory from Coach Bill Herrion at the half.
The margin at the break was a surprise considering the Pirates rolled to a
exhibition win over Newberry a week
"We needed a game like this," Herrion said. "It's so tough to simulate time
and score. I think what got to us at the beginning with these kids is that
we're so young. We 're so young and we won by 45 points last week that I
think these kids thought it was supposed to be like that every game.
"I think you have to give Barton some credit. They really competed. We told
our kids at halftime that we weren't really competing hard enough or tough
enough around the basket. The kids responded positively."
ECU began the second half with a 26-6 run and
"We got some breathing room, but it was a good test," Herrion said.
Barton outrebounded ECU 47-43. The Pirates were led on the boards by junior
college transfer Mike Castro, who grabbed nine rebounds.
"We're concerned about rebounding," Herrion said. "We've held both teams
we've played to around 30 percent shooting and we're making steals."
ECU had 15 thefts against Barton.
But if ECU struggles on the boards against the Bulldogs, what will happen to
the Pirates against the powers in Conference USA? Herrion didn't attribute
ECU's subpar rebounding night to the absence of 6-10 freshman post player
Charles Bronson or the fact that Moussa Badiane is less than 100 percent due
to recent thumb surgery.
"I'm concerned right now about team rebounding," Herrion said. "We got beat
to a lot of what I would call 50-50 balls. It's not what one guy isn't
there; it's got to be really a collective team effort."
Mike Cook led ECU with 27 points and Japeht McNeil added 11. Cook was eight
of 15 from the field.
"Japhet has really concentrated on getting stronger and that's really
helping him right now," Herrion said. "With Moussa out, we've really
concentrated our emphasis on perimeter play. We don't have a back to the
basket guy like Gabe Mikulas, who you could lob into and he'd get a shot up
or get fouled. We're not lobbing it inside nearly as much.
"The thing with Japhet McNeil has been physical strength and playing
physical. He's worked on improving his strength and it's flowing back into
ECU will abandon Division II opposition for the time being and will meet
Pepperdine at the RBC Center in Raleigh at noon next Wednesday in the first
round of the BCA Invitational. The Waves are coached by former NBA player
and Phoenix Suns coach Paul Westphal.
"Because of our youth, they probably don't know that to expect from us,"
Herrion said. "They're more of a veteran team than we are. If we can get
them going up and down, that will be a goal for us. We have some quickness.
I feel like we're better if we can get them running and going up and down
the floor. I feel like we're stronger in transition."
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02/23/2007 12:46:50 AM