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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 10, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Pirates playing well despite five-game skid

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

For teams like East Carolina, “March Madness” starts this week. Win and advance. Lose and all thoughts turn to next year.

Odds are certainly against the Pirates pulling off four wins in a row to extend their season. East Carolina opens with Tulane, and then would take on home-standing Memphis in game two.

The Pirates come into the tournament play riding a five-game losing streak. That’s the bad news. The good news is that this team played its best game in some time in Saturday night’s 74-71 loss at Central Florida.

“We played really, really hard,” said ECU coach McCarthy on the loss. “We hadn’t played well in a long time. We didn’t get the win but we put ourselves in a position to win. We came back after a week off and played like we can play.

"It came down to making a play down the stretch. They made one and we didn’t.”

The Pirates take on the Green Wave in the final game of the day on Wednesday in Memphis. East Carolina beat Tulane in Greenville 69-66, but lost to the Wave 73-64 down in New Orleans.

“I think it’s a tough match up,” explained McCarthy. “Their wing players are 6-6 and 6-7. Those guys are guarding (Sam) Hinnant and (James) Legan. They don’t let you score a lot of points. We like to score a lot of points. We got them in foul trouble here and they got us in foul trouble down there. It may come down to something as simple as that.”

The Pirates certainly don’t have history on their side.

“We talk about the 'firsts' that we’ve done this year,” continued McCarthy. “The first win over UCF, the first time we did this or that. We do want to break these kinds of streaks. Obviously we’ve never won a tournament game in Conference USA. I don’t feel any pressure, but I think our kids will put some on themselves.

"I think this team played well enough in our last two games to have more confidence then a team on a five-game losing streak should have.”

Prep regionals delivered

Everyone at East Carolina should be congratulated after another successful run for the Eastern Regional basketball tournament.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association should certainly take notice. Greenville has hosted the regionals now for 19 years.

Dr. Jimmie Grimsley and his army of workers had the event running smoothly from the first tip on Tuesday night to Saturday night’s finale. The girls' event at Rose was just as successful.

The boys' semifinals featured Bertie, coached by former ECU star Lester Lyons. Lyons looks like he could still average 15 points a game.

It was great to see Lester, and relive the memories of that 1993 ECU team that beat the odds and won the Colonial Athletic Association title. The Pirates went on to lose to eventual national champion North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Winston-Salem.

Bertie lost in the semifinals to eventual Eastern Regional champion Northern Guilford. Lester had tears in his eyes as he faced the media after the loss. You could tell by his eyes and with his words that he is an outstanding leader of men!

Busy time for ECU baseball

It’s another big week for the Pirates in baseball. East Carolina welcomes UNC-Asheville for a pair of games before hosting UCLA in a cross-country series.

Some of the luster of the three-game set with the Bruins has been lost with UCLA’s 2-10 record.

The Bruins opened their year with two wins over Cal Davis. UCLA dropped the third game of that series, then lost to Cal Santa Barbara, Cal Riverside, Rice in 10 innings, Baylor, Cal Irvine, and Pepperdine before dropping three close games to Oklahoma.

That’s 10 straight losses for a team that was ranked as high as 9th in the nation.

UCLA is still a very talented team. The Bruins have a played an extremely difficult schedule and come to Greenville thinking sweep.

The Pirates stumbled against a very good Georgia Southern team on Sunday for the squad’s second loss of the year. While the Pirates take on UNC-Asheville, UCLA has a couple of midweek games against Cal Santa Barbara and San Diego State.

The best case scenario for ECU is for the Pirates to take the series from UCLA, and then see the Bruins bounce back, win a bunch of games, and get back into the national rankings.

Despite the record, the series with UCLA will feature some outstanding baseball talent.


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03/10/2009 01:34:19 AM


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