TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, April 2,
History on the line
BRAIN BAILEY SHOW
Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW.
Brian's guests were ACC basketball official
Raymie Styons and ECU creative media
specialist Brian Meador. Eastern North Carolina's longest running
sports radio call-in show airs each Monday
night from 6:30-7:30 on Pirate Radio 1250 and
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Jeff Lebo, Maurice
Kemp, Miguel Paul and this East Carolina basketball program have treated
us all to a little taste of “March Madness” in Greenville.
A program sorely
lacking in hoops history has a chance to make some tonight in the finals
CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
No, it’s not the NCAA
Tournament. It’s not even the NIT.
It is, however, a
definite step in the right direction. The Pirates have played and beaten
some very solid programs over the last couple of weeks. They are playing
as well as any ECU team I have covered over the last 29 seasons.
They are also playing
above the rim, something we’ve never really seen before. Sure, Blue
Edwards was a sky-walker in his day. But these Pirates are throwing up
alley-oop slams left and right during this run in CIT.
Evansville never had a
their semifinal loss to the Pirates
in Greenville. The Purple Aces may have beaten Final Four member Wichita
State twice, but they didn’t have a chance against East Carolina on
“We played great,”
said a smiling coach Jeff Lebo. “That’s the best we’ve played all year.
It was a great time to do it. There was a lot of energy in the place. I
thought our kids were terrific both offensively and defensively. We
defended for 40 minutes against a tough team to defend. I thought we
were really good in transition as well.”
In his three seasons
to date Lebo has had his Pirates playing good basketball when it counts
in March. ECU got a bad draw in meeting the Golden Hurricane in Tulsa to
open the Conference USA tournament.
The Pirates then fell
behind by 15 points to Savannah State in the first round of the CIT.
slipped by the Tigers in that opener,
taking their first lead with 46.2 seconds to play. The Pirates' largest
lead in that game was by the single point they won by.
That set up a most
improbable series of wins that leads us into tonight’s finale.
happens,” said Lebo. “Sometimes you scrape through a game and then you
start to play better. We got that win and then we seem to have gotten
better each time out.”
Maurice Kemp has
blossomed into a star right in front of our eyes. He’s made
SportsCenter’s Top Plays twice in the last two weeks. He’s got one more
goal before he hangs up that purple jersey.
“Coach Lebo told us to
look up at the banners in Minges and there aren’t any,” Kemp explained.
“I know how much it would mean to everyone to bring one home.”
Kemp took one last
chance to thank the Pirate fans for a spring he’ll never forget.
“Pirate Nation has
been amazing,” he said with a huge smile on his face. “It has been an
amazing run. I definitely enjoyed my last game in Minges.”
Next up is tonight's
road challenge in Ogden, Utah, where the Pirates will lay it all on the
line for the CIT championship against a host Weber State team that has
30 wins on the season.
“Thirty wins is a lot
of wins,” said Lebo. “We will have our work cut out for us against a
really good basketball team. They are one of the most efficient
offensive teams in the country. They shoot over 50 percent as a team and
they shoot 41 percent from the three. They have really good size. They
have the best post offensive player that we have seen.
"They have terrific
shooters on the perimeter. Their offensive balance is something we
haven’t seen before.”
The Pirates are
playing basketball like we’ve never seen before. Who would have ever
thought that East Carolina would be playing a basketball game in April?
The NCAA tournament is
down to Syracuse, Michigan, Louisville and Wichita State. The NIT
features Maryland, Iowa, Baylor and Brigham Young. The CBI is down to
its championship with George Mason and Santa Clara.
Then there is East
Carolina versus Weber State.
There are some 350
Division I basketball programs in the country. Only 12 of those schools
are still playing basketball.
East Carolina is one
of those 12.
won the CBI tournament in 2010 and then went to the Final Four one
Simply put, winning is
contagious. This CIT run has been nothing but a huge positive for the
Best of luck to Coach
Lebo and the Pirates in this CIT finale. You’ve given us truly a March
It will be tough on
the road, but this East Carolina basketball team has put on a great show
in this tournament.
Now it’s time to take
that show on the road!
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04/02/2013 03:43 AM