College Sports in the Carolinas
Don't miss Al Myatt's
profile of ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the 2004
from the East
January 13, 2005
By Al Myatt
Pirates turn up the heat but
come up short
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
GREENVILLE Bill Herrion is a prodigious perspirer. Part of his postgame
routine involves changing out of his soaked dress shirt into an East
But Herrion wasn't the only coach sweating in Williams Arena at Minges
Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins arrived in the postgame interview area looking
like he was ready to appear in one of those overly-moist Gatorade
commercials. His shirt looked like he had just gotten one of those
celebratory Gatorade showers from a mischievously-upturned drinking cooler.
That wasn't the case, of course, as the Bearcats managed to hang on for an
84-78 Conference USA win over ECU in what was likely their last trip to
Any Cincinnati player who would have attempted to gleefully douse Huggins
after the nation's No. 13 team improved to 14-1 overall and 3-0 in the
league would have been putting his scholarship and physical well being at
Huggins spent about as much time on the court as his players and divided his
wrath pretty evenly between the officials and his team.
With the combined body heat of 6,191 fans and unseasonably warm weather, the
arena felt like a front porch on a breezeless August night. The conditions
and the Bearcats, too, were pretty oppressive as ECU trailed 57-37 with 15
But then the Pirates warmed up to the challenge with a 14-2 run over five
minutes that trimmed Cincinnati's lead to 59-51. The crowd, which had been
about as involved as stage props since an 11-2 first half run by the
Bearcats, became energized again.
The Pirates got within 78-74 with 1:32 to go but Cincinnati, which went the
last four minutes without a field goal, closed the deal by hitting four of
its last four free throws.
ECU outrebounded the physical Bearcats 47-32 as Corey Rouse, who moved to
small forward to give the Pirates a bigger lineup, responded with 21 points
and 13 boards.
ECU also hit 46 percent from the floor against Huggins' club. That's pretty
impressive when one considers that No. 1 Illinois only managed to shoot 39.3
percent from the floor in Cincinnati's only loss.
"If you had told me we would outrebound them by the margin that we did and
shoot that percentage, I would have thought we would have a chance for the
upset," Herrion said.
The ECU coach felt the opportunity to stun Cincinnati was severely
jeopardized when ECU made 14 turnovers in the first half and allowed the
Bearcats to score 20 points off of the miscues.
"We've been down this road before," Herrion said. "Tonight had nothing to do
with a lack of effort. If you don't bring your lunch pail against them,
you're going to get exposed. ... We're really playing pretty good basketball
right now. I know the losing affects a lot of people in this area but the
margin for error in this league is microscopic.
"A game you have a chance to win like last week against South Florida is
like a piece of gold. You look down the schedule and you don't know when
you'll have a chance to win again. It's a tough feeling. It's a tough
position to be in. ... You can play well in this league and not win. It's a
hard position to be in."
Herrion challenged his players at the half.
"We've had enough," he said. "We've been stepped on enough. We're a young
team but if you don't step up in this league, you'll get exposed."
Rouse at small forward, an effective zone defense and a good transition game
helped make ECU competitive down the stretch. The Pirates made Huggins
The key for the Pirates is to sustain the level of effort and performance
from the outset of games that allowed them to make a stretch run against a
"At this level, you need to play for 40 minutes," said the ECU coach.
"If we take that approach coming out of the locker room, we can beat a lot
of teams," said ECU sophomore guard Mike Cook, who scored 19 points.
The Pirates now take aim on UAB at 1 p.m. at home on Saturday.
"I know a lot of the crowd came to see Coach Huggins and Cincinnati,"
Herrion said. "But now they need to come back for UAB. Our guys need to
prepare to handle pressure. If our guys thought they saw pressure tonight,
just wait and see what UAB brings."
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02/23/2007 12:33:59 AM