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View from the 'ville
Thursday, November 19, 2009

By Al Myatt

Much to fix before Paradise Jam

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

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 of capacity.

"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 Friday.

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).

E-mail Al Myatt

Al Myatt Archives

11/19/2009 03:18 AM


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