TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
January 10, 2012
Pirates get a
breather after stiff trials
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Central Florida came to
Greenville and put a physical beat down on East Carolina on Saturday.
The Knights were bigger
and stronger. Their lineup featured a couple of fullbacks and
linebackers, and the Pirates never had an answer in
the 81-63 drubbing.
East Carolina was
outrebounded 46-29. It was a rare instance when Jeff Lebo’s Pirates were
just totally outplayed.
“We just got whipped,”
said Coach Lebo after the loss. [View
postgame audio replay page in a new window.] “There’s no
way to sugarcoat it. Physically (we) weren’t even in the area code
tonight. I give them credit. They are big. They are physical. We
obviously had matchup problems tonight.”
Lebo knew going into the
UCF game that his team didn’t match up well with the Knights.
“We are light and small at
the four position with (Maurice) Kemp and (Robert) Sampson,” Lebo
explained. "We got our shots blocked a lot. We had a lot blocked or
deflected inside. They are big. We got it inside in the first half and
just didn’t finish.
"We haven’t been very
aggressive to start games. They shot it at a high rate and when they
missed they got 16 offensive rebounds.”
East Carolina rallied in
the second half and finally latched on to some momentum. Then Pirate
Miguel Paul was whistled for a technical foul, and things went south
“You have to be
disciplined as a basketball player to keep your mouth shut,” said Lebo.
“That hurt us. We had a little bit of momentum at that point. It just
demoralizes the team when something happens that is very unintelligent
and undisciplined. It is very frustrating.”
East Carolina now gets set
for a little bit of an early conference season break this week. The
Pirates don’t have a midweek game and get back after it this Saturday
with a home game against Tulsa.
The Pirates opened the
conference slate with a pair of very different losses. East Carolina was
an underdog in both games. The Pirates
battled Southern Miss to the buzzer,
falling 78-76. Saturday’s loss was a bit more demoralizing.
Tulsa comes to town this
weekend. Then the Pirates hit the road for the Lone Star state, playing
at UTEP and then at Houston.
That upcoming road trip
really makes the Tulsa game that much more important.
If there is a silver
lining, East Carolina has played two excellent Conference USA teams.
Southern Miss and UCF are a combined 4-0 in league play and a combined
Tulsa will come to
Greenville with a losing record. UTEP and Houston are both hovering
around the .500 mark.
Lebo had hinted a while
back that he had found that year two in rebuilding projects is usually
more difficult than year one.
Last year Lebo inherited
an experienced team that finally found success after buying into the new
This year all of the new
faces have come together to struggle at times. The problems scoring the
basketball resurfaced in the loss to UCF.
The last time the Pirates
had a break in the schedule, the team ran off a five-game winning
streak. That streak started after the Pirates took their ten day exam
This time it’s basically a
six-day break. Lebo will find better matchups over the next couple of
weeks, and it all starts with Tulsa.
E-mail Brian Bailey.
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01/10/2012 03:39 AM