Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
By Brian Bailey
Hoops season here for
WHERE TO BUY...
• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact
• INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again
• HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS
• STEVE BALLARD:
New Leader Takes Charge
• SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door
• KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams
• BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate
Tuesday's Brian Bailey Show, featuring
special guest Sharon Baldwin-Tener:
Basketball tips off for the Pirates today at high noon, as East Carolina
takes on Pepperdine in the
The Pirates will have to play ‘left handed’ after losing Moussa Badiane
one-game suspension for playing in
that league that wasn’t sanctioned through the NCAA.
The ironic part is that Coach Bill Herrion was already preparing for a
couple of games without Moussa because of
Badiane’s bad thumb.
“We knew about this back in June,” explained Herrion. “We just didn’t get
an answer until late last week. I’m going to be anxious to see how we play
without Moussa in there. I think it was good that we played that first
exhibition without him to help us prepare.
"Mike Castro, Corey Rouse, Jonathan Hart, all of our front court players
are going to have to step up.”
Herrion doesn’t seem all that concerned with playing without Moussa for
one game. He is, however, perplexed at how his team has been timid on the
boards during the preseason.
“I’m really concerned with our rebounding,” said Herrion. “Both with
Moussa and without him, we just didn’t do a very good job in the preseason
games in rebounding the basketball. We’ll have to do a much better job on
the glass if we are to have any success against Pepperdine.”
East Carolina drew a tough first round opponent in the Waves. This
Pepperdine team was 9-5 in the West Coast Conference last year and they
return 3 starters and 11 other players. They have an up-tempo style that
East Carolina will have to deal with from the opening tip.
“They are a very talented basketball team,” said Herrion. “They are well
coached. Paul Westphal was a great NBA player and a very successful coach in
the pros with the Phoenix Suns and the Seattle Supersonics. They really play
up tempo and average over 80 points per game.”
Herrion says the Pirates will especially miss Moussa’s presence around
the basket. Still, it’s just for one game, and the tournament provides a
trio of games to open the season.
J.T. stands by 3rd down call
The East Carolina postgame shows and message boards were hopping after
the Pirates' football loss to South Florida on Saturday night.
One of the key topics of discussion was ECU coach John Thompson’s
decision to accept a holding penalty in the fourth quarter.
With just over 11 minutes to play, Thompson had the option of taking the
penalty, which set up a 3rd and 24 situation, or force South Florida to punt
at 4th and 5.
Thompson seemed surprised when I told him that so many people had vented
about the call.
East Carolina was trailing 24-10 with just over eleven minutes to play
when the Pirates elected to take a penalty and force a 3rd and 24. The
Pirates could have declined the penalty, which would have given South
Florida a 4th and 5 at about mid-field.
“It was all about field position,” Thompson said. “We picked up 20 yards
on that play. That’s two first downs. We just had to make a play on 3rd and
24 and we didn’t’ do it.
"I don’t regret that decision at all. I regret that we misplayed the long
pass. That was ridiculous. That’s where the frustration comes. But I was
looking at it as two first downs and twenty yards of field position.”
The problem with this theory is that on 3rd and 24 you’re giving that
offense another chance to make a play. The Bull’s were ahead by 14, had
nothing to lose, and just fired up a ‘hail mary.’ If the ball had been
intercepted, it would have been just like a punt. The Pirates also could
have been called for holding, or interference, giving South Florida a first
Maybe with a better defense you do play the field position game. Maybe
Thompson’s defenses at Southern Mississippi in the 90’s could make that kind
of play. But this Pirate “D” hasn’t been a good defense in some time. You’re
not supposed to convert many 3rd and 24’s, but before the play, I was
thinking that South Florida had a 50-50 shot to get it. And they did!
Many in the Pirate Nation say that John Thompson is squarely on the ‘hot
seat,’ that decisions like this one could cost him his job.
“Having the ball at the 20 and having the ball at the 40 is a big, big,
difference,” said Thompson. “I stand by that decision and if I had to do it
over again, I’d make the same decision. We just have to do better playing
I still think that too many things can go wrong to give the offense
another play, especially with this defense. Giving the opposition another
play came back to really bite the Pirate coach.
The heat is on, for a very different case of “Purple Fever.”
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