(Photo: ECU SID)
Coach Mack McCarthy wasn't concerned
about lack of talent after a
74-68 loss at Campbell on
Tuesday night dropped the East Carolina basketball team to 1-2. The
Pirates basketball mentor did address a lack of execution as the Camels
converted 20 ECU turnovers into 19 points.
"That's a big, big problem," McCarthy
said of the ball-handling miscues. "That's 20 times that we don't even
get a shot at the basket. That's unacceptable and will get you beat
against anybody that's as good as you."
Campbell paid specific attention to
Pirates point guard Brock Young, who scored a game-high 19 points but
who also committed nine of ECU's turnovers. Young, who was among the
national leaders in assists last season as a sophomore, had five assists
in Gore Arena at the Pope Convocation Center, the new facility in Buies
Creek that opened last season.
ECU attracted a record 2,778 to the new
arena, which dwarfs the old Carter Gym on the Campbell campus in terms
"Offensively, we got to standing around
watching Brock make plays and we can't do that," McCarthy said. "He can
make plays but we don't need for him to make them every single time."
Young made a play with three minutes
left. With the shot clock winding down, Young pulled up for a fadeaway
jumper from the right side under pressure that dropped through the net
for a 64-63 ECU lead.
The problem for the Pirates was that
Lorne Merthie quickly responded with a three-pointer at the other end to
start a decisive 11-2 Camels run.
"I don't know if we lost an assignment
or they just beat us down the floor, but he was wide open in the
corner," McCarthy said. "No question that was sort of the shot of the
game. It was still a one possession game ... at the same time that was a
huge, huge play.
"I thought we had taken the steam out
of them with that desperation shot (by Young). It wasn't a real high
percentage shot but it went down. I thought they might sag just a minute
but they really answered and that's a credit to them."
Campbell snapped an eight-game losing
streak in the series which the Pirates lead, 37-19. ECU's last loss to
the Camels came in 1994 in Fayetteville. Campbell had not hosted East
Carolina in Buies Creek since the 1946-47 season. Campbell's last win on
its campus in the series came in 1939-40.
"I see why people don't want to come
here," McCarthy said. "It's a tough place to play."
Campbell's previous facility, Carter
Gym, had 947 seats and its small size kept the Camels from bringing in a
lot of opponents.
The new facility has expanded
scheduling possibilities for Campbell, which hosts Virginia Tech on
Monday at 7 p.m. and Appalachian State on Dec. 30.
McCarthy didn't buy the theory that the
Pirates may have overlooked Campbell, their third game in six days, with
a trip to the Virgin Islands on deck.
"We were very focused for this game,"
said the Pirates coach. "I thought we did a good job of taking some of
the things away from them that they do well. We held (Jonathan)
Rodriguez (Campbell's leading scorer) to 3 for 13 (field goal shooting).
... We were really ready for this basketball game. They took our best
effort so far and beat us."
Jamming in Paradise
East Carolina faces No. 11 Tennessee in
the opening round of the tenth annual Paradise Jam at 3:30 p.m. on
ECU will face DePaul or Northern Iowa
in its second game of the event on Saturday. The Pirates complete play
in the Paradise Jam on Monday.
"It's a great trip," McCarthy said.
"We've got to prepare. We've had three games to start the season on
Friday, Sunday, Tuesday. It was not a distraction. We were very focused
(at Campbell) but we are looking forward to playing some quality
competition on a neutral floor.
"It's hard for us to get some great
teams to play us and there are a lot of great teams in this thing
Boston College, Purdue, DePaul, St. Joe's and Tennessee. Even South
Dakota State and Northern Iowa are picked to win their leagues. It
should be a really good experience for our kids. We better get better as
a basketball team, too.
"We get back and we've still got some
really tough road games before we finally get a home game."
ECU travels to UNC-Greensboro on Nov.
28 and visits Charlotte on Dec. 2 before beginning a four-game homestand
that includes Coker (Dec. 5), Clemson (Dec. 16), St. Andrews (Dec. 19)
and George Washington (Dec. 22).