Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, January 28, 2005
By Brian Bailey
Smiles hard to come by against
Coach Bill Herrion sat before the media to talk about East
Carolina’s 60-53 win over Saint Louis on Wednesday night. It looked like the
weight of the world had been lifted off of his shoulders.
He opened the news conference by using his hands to
physically make himself smile. He joked that his face had been frozen for
the past couple of months. That’s what an 0-6 start in league play does to a
The gesture was so simple, but it said so much. Even
something as simple as a smile doesn’t come easy at East Carolina.
“Obviously there has been a tremendous amount of frustration
surrounding this basketball program,” Herrion said. “You can feel it. No one
has talked to me for about a month and a half in this town. I’ve been on my
The Pirates' winning formula combines spirit, grit,
determination and effort. East Carolina doesn’t shoot the ball all that
well, but it surely can rebound.
Experience has shown that the team can win only if it
outworks its opponent. The Pirates did that against the Billikens,
especially in the second half.
“The key to the game was only being down by five at the
half,” said Herrion. “Moussa (Badiane) and Corey (Rouse) were in big foul
trouble, but we hung tough.
“I told the guys at halftime that we had to guard them. They
shot 58 percent from the field in the first half, so we had to do a better
ECU vaulted out of the gate with a 12-0 run to start the
second half. Give credit to the students, alias the Minges Maniacs, who did
their part to give the Pirates a home court edge that they would certainly
need down the stretch.
Also give credit to each one of the Pirate players, who
contributed as necessary in that second half to finally get the monkey off
of the program’s back.
Herrion really liked the play of Mike Cook. Cook is the one
guy on this team that can create his own shot. He doesn’t protect the
basketball well enough at times, but when he plays well, so do the Pirates.
“I thought Mike Cook played his best game of the year,” said
Herrion. “He did a good job all the way around.”
Rouse, who along with Moussa was in foul trouble early,
controlled the glass in the second half.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game with that many fouls
away from the ball that quickly in the first half. It seemed like every
screen was an illegal one. Funny, but either the Pirates learned how to
screen at halftime, or the officials decided to start looking the other way.
Despite the 1-6 league start, I still say the future is
bright for Pirate basketball. Next year’s league makeup will certainly help,
as will a couple of players — David Bell and Jeremy Ingram — that are
Freshman Josh King is only going to get more comfortable
with his role. He can shoot the lights out and gets better every time he’s
in the game.
Badiane is all set to break the all-time record for blocked
shots in Conference USA. Badiane needs just two blocks against Charlotte to
break former Cincinnati great Kenyon Martin’s all-time mark.
The 49ers come comes to town on Saturday. Ironically, both
Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Cincinnati’s Bob Huggins have said that
Charlotte may be the league’s most talented team. Thus, the season of tough
opponents continues for Bill Herrion.
“Our schedule in the league has been brutal,” Herrion said.
“When you’re playing the Cincinnatis, the Louisvilles, the DePauls, the UABs,
it’s hard. You have to play so well and so hard and so over your head just
to stay with these guys.”
The Pirates will be home underdogs against the 49ers, so it
will take a great effort to put another smile on Bill Herrion’s face on
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