TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, January 8,
Pirates stare into
the Tigers' den
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East Carolina wrapped
up its non-conference hoops slate with Saturday afternoon’s
dismantling of North Carolina Wesleyan.
The Pirates now venture into league play in Conference USA.
And up first is
“Great,” joked ECU
coach Jeff Lebo when asked about the C-USA opener. “ I’ve watched them
play a few games already. Their talent level, their quickness and their
speed is all hard to simulate. They are terrific.”
East Carolina heads to
Memphis tomorrow night after winning nine of 13 games. The most
disappointing of the four losses came this past week, when Campbell came
to town and
took out the Pirates in overtime.
ECU trailed the Camels
by 15 with 3:45 to play when Akeem Richmond led a comeback. Much like he
did against North Carolina last month, Richmond sizzled in bringing the
The Camels finally
played a little defense on Richmond on the game’s last play of
regulation, and then controlled the overtime period to give ECU the loss
at home at Williams Arena.
What we have learned
from Coach Lebo through his first two seasons is that the basketball
season is a process. Lebo wants his team playing its absolute best in
March, and you can see that this team is on schedule for that. Barring
injury, this should be Lebo’s best Pirate team when tournament time
First, though, ECU has
to find success in its league games. It all starts with the Tigers
“They have more of a
mature group of players now,” said Lebo. “A lot of these guys are
juniors now that were highly touted freshman. Their emotions are in
check. They look relaxed. They play better with each other. They have
lost three games. They have lost to Louisville at home. They lost to
Minnesota and they lost to VCU.”
The Tigers had a big
win in Knoxville Friday night in their final tune up before tackling the
“They won at Tennessee
without (Tarik) Black. Black is a beast and I am anticipating he’ll be
healthy for us,” Lebo said with a smile on his face.
The Pirates will face
a much bigger and stronger team in the Tigers in this league opener.
Maurice Kemp has played huge so far for ECU, but he’ll likely get pushed
around a little against Memphis. Still, Kemp has a certain knack for
doing things that most big man can’t do, and that could offset the
Ty Armstrong had a
nice game against Wesleyan Saturday afternoon.
“Things are coming to
me,” said Armstrong. “I still feel that I have a long way to go,
especially with the level of competition that’s coming up next. I think
I’m getting prepared and I’ll be ready when the time comes.”
That time is coming
quickly. Coach Lebo knows it’s a very tough opening night assignment in
“That place is always
a tough place to play” said Lebo. “Hopefully we’ll be excited and play
well in that environment.”
There are three
inner-seasons within the basketball calendar. The non-conference slate
was an overall success for Lebo and company. Conference play tips off
tomorrow night, leading up to March and tournament play.
Get ready for part two
of the basketball campaign.
E-mail Brian Bailey.
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01/08/2013 02:36 AM