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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
By Brian Bailey

Win was the perfect tonic for Pirates

By Brian Bailey
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It was just what the doctor ordered.

Desperate to end a seven-game losing streak before the start of conference play, East Carolina did just that by beating Division II Chowan 68-50 Saturday night in Greenville.

As bleak as things look at times, the play of the newcomers at least offers hope. Gabe Blair and John Fields, a pair of freshman, each picked up a double-double in the victory.

It was great to see Fields return to the floor. Fields had missed the last three games with a bum shoulder. He scored a career high 14 points and hauled in a career best 11 rebounds in compiling his first ever double-double.

For Blair, it was his second double-double of the season. He scored ten points and brought down 14 big rebounds.

Granted, you won’t confuse Chowan with N.C. State, Wake Forest or anyone from Conference USA. Still, a win does a lot for the attitude and general sanity of the players and the coaching staff.

East Carolina now hits the road to open league play. The Pirates opener is Wednesday night at Tulsa (8:00 p.m., CSTV.)

“I refuse to let this team lose like we have,” said junior guard Darrell Jenkins. “I think we all know we can play better and as a captain I have to show leadership.”

The Pirates play at Tulsa, and then come home for a three-game home stand.

“It’s exciting to start the league season,” said Pirate coach Ricky Stokes. “It’s a chance to renew some rivalries, and to go to some places that we don’t get to go to very often.”

Jeremy Ingram’s health is a concern as the C-USA season opens.

“The knee feels good,” said Ingram. “I haven’t seen a lot of film on Tulsa just yet, but I know they have a great tradition. We just need to go out and play Pirate basketball and come away with a win.”

Williams commits to ECU

Credit Skip Holtz and his coaching staff for another coup in landing J.H. Rose tailback Jonathan Williams.

Williams chose East Carolina over the likes of West Virginia, Maryland, Clemson and North Carolina. Williams was one of the top rushers in the state this season despite missing a couple of games.

Williams finished the season with 2,804 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns. He had 93 yards and three scores in Rose High's 26-12 win over West Charlotte in the NCHSAA Class 4-A title game. He was named most valuable player of that contest and was also the MVP of the Shrine Bowl.

Williams also has an “edge” to his playing style. He was disqualified from one playoff game this past year. He had at least a couple of “unsportsmanlike” penalties during the season. Some say that “edge” makes him a grittier player. Look for Holtz and the coaching staff, though, to get that “edge” under control rather quickly come August.

With Williams and South Central standout Tyrell Worthington, the Pirates reeled in by far the two most talented players in Pitt County. Both players are versatile.

Williams wants to play basketball at East Carolina, while Worthington will most likely have to decide between Pirate football and minor league baseball after this spring.

Holtz and his staff targeted the Pitt County pair early on. Relationships were established early, and those relationships will pay dividends on the national signing day in February.


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04/21/2008 07:06:02 PM


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