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Don't miss Al Myatt's profile of ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the current Bonesville Magazine.

View from the East
Friday, February 18, 2005

By Al Myatt

ECU fighting for life after the regular season

©2005 Bonesville.net

Maybe East Carolina was supposed to have beaten Marquette on Saturday night. Fate certainly seemed to make amends in the ensuing games for each club.

The Pirates, of course, got deadly at the free throw line down the stretch to stun host UAB 67-64 on Wednesday night.

The Golden Eagles, who were so clutch in coming back in Greenville to nip ECU 71-69 in overtime, got a dose of their own medicine in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on Thursday night. Louisville closed with a 14-0 run to subdue Marquette 64-61. Francisco Garcia hit a 3-pointer with under three seconds left to provide the winning margin for the Cardinals.

Marquette senior guard Travis Diener, who torched ECU for 31 points and the game winning jumper in the extra period, couldn't keep the magic going in Milwaukee. He got a good look at a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that would have sent the game to OT, but it was short.

Diener obviously didn't pull on his jersey and yell at the fans following the game — as he did in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum — after going 2-for-16 from the field against the Cards.

What goes around comes around ...

Young Bucs do some growing up

UAB coach Mike Anderson shared his emotions after the Pirates won for the first time in five games against the Blazers.

"I'm very disappointed and frustrated," said Anderson, whose club knocked Kentucky out of the NCAA Tournament last year.

Those are emotions that ECU coach Bill Herrion has known only too well this season, but the sneaker was on the other foot in Birmingham despite some remarkable circumstances. The Pirates committed 26 turnovers and finished the game without their top two scorers.

Unlike the woeful adventures at the line against Marquette, ECU hit 10 of 10 foul shots in the final 5:15 to boost its chances of making the Conference USA Tournament in Memphis. Corey Rouse, who seemingly couldn't buy a free throw against the Golden Eagles, going 4 of 12, bounced back to drop 6 of 7. The Pirates made 22 of 27 for the game, a splendid percentage of 81.5.

Moussa Badiane, ECU's imposing shot blocker and lone senior, was on the floor for just 18 minutes before fouling out. Leading scorer Mike Cook had a collision in the second half and left the game with a facial cut.

"A great win for our kids," said Herrion, whose club prevailed for the first time on the road this season at an opportune time.

ECU improved to 3-9 in league play and pulled into a tie for 12th in the league standings with South Florida, which hosts the Pirates on Saturday. The top 12 teams in the C-USA standings among the 14 basketball-playing schools qualify for the league tournament.

"We are battling like crazy trying to get into the Conference USA Tournament," Herrion said. "This is a good win for us and a good step. It's in our hands now."

Freshman Tom Hammonds led ECU with 16 points and Rouse, a junior playing significant minutes for the first time this season, had his league-leading ninth double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Cook was released from the hospital on Wednesday night and is expected to play against USF.

Pirate Armada to set sail

The Greater Charlotte Pirate Club and Friends of ECU baseball will caravan across the state for the first game at Clark-LeClair Stadium on March 4.

Plans call for the group to leave McDonald's at University Place in the Queen City with Pirate flags flying at 5:15 a.m. that Friday. The Armada will stop at the Rest Area just beyond exit 135 on I-85 to incorporate Triad support around 6:30 a.m.

Another stop is planned around 8 a.m. at Lowe's Home Improvement in Knightdale. Folks in eastern North Carolina can join the force as it rolls eastward on Highway 264. The Armada will leave from Colonial Mall on Greenville Boulevard for the new field at 10 a.m.

Each vehicle is asked to donate $20 or more to the Catfish Hunter ALS chapter on behalf of Keith LeClair, the former ECU coach who has been battling the affliction since the spring of 2002. Plans call for the funds to be presented at the game and a total announced.

ECU meets Michigan at 11 a.m. in the opener of the Keith LeClair Invitational, the first game at the Pirates' state-of-the-art new $10 million baseball stadium.

Another active chapter

The Durham/Orange Chapter of the Pirate Club has several gatherings coming up. The group will present athletic director Terry Holland and new football coach Skip Holtz at a banquet at the Durham Sheraton Imperial on Wednesday, April 27. There will be a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner. Cost is $25 per person in advance and $35 at the door.

The chapter is also planning Pirate Night at the Durham Bulls game on Friday, May 13, and a golf tournament at Croasdaile Country Club in Durham on Monday, June 20.

For more information on these activities, contact John Bland at (919) 401-5433 or (919) 451-2520 or e-mail at JBland@nc.rr.com.

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02/23/2007 12:33:04 AM
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