News Nuggets, 03.29.05
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NOTES FROM ECU AND BEYOND...
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Compiled from staff reports
and electronic dispatches
East Carolina southpaw takes Conference USA honor
helps Heels seal the deal over Badgers ... Scintillating
finishes supercharge TV ratings ...
Illini mount monumental rallies to reach Final Four ...
Terrapins dump TCU to win Garden date with South Carolina
... Sunday preview: North Carolina vs. Wisconsin ...
State bite the dust; Heels survive ... Louisville, WVU
rumble for spot in Final Four ... Fires plague Morgantown
after tourney win ... Players nabbed for passing fake
named to powerful USA Basketball panel ... ECU fans to have
rooting interest in NIT semis ... Triangle's Sweet 16 teams
converge at RDU ... Another DUI charge embarrasses
Memphis whips Vandy to advance to Garden ... NIT: Maryland
overcomes big Davidson lead ... Big East hops on replay
win over UNLV extends Stokes' ties to USC ...
Davidson-Maryland NIT matchup set for TV ... Activists file
suit over 'Chief Illiniwek' ...
over for East Carolina football team ... Frogs in NIT
quarterfinals after overtime win ... CBS reaping ratings
bonanza from tourney ... Baseball America & Collegiate
Baseball Polls ...
straps on visor, gets down to business ... NCAA Tourney
Sweet 16 pairings & schedule ... Tournament's TV ratings up
over 2004 ...
proves it still has Bearcats' number ... Memphis zaps
Hokies, starts thinking NIT title ... Davidson tames Bears,
turns focus to Terps ... Preview: (4) Louisville vs. (5)
Georgia Tech ...
leads Wolfpack to comeback win over 49ers ... Louisville
escapes upset bid by Ragin' Cajuns ... Preview: (7)
Cincinnati vs. (2) Kentucky ... Preview: (11) UAB vs. (3)
East Carolina hurler Ricky Brooks
barely missed out on a no-hitter this past weekend but he didn't miss out
when Conference USA passed out its weekly accolades.
The sophomore lefthander was named
C-USA's pitcher of the week after a dominating shutout of Charlotte on
Sunday, joining Southern Mississippi slugger Marc Maddox in garnering weekly
honors, the league office announced on Monday.
Thumbnail summaries of the exploits of
C-USA's pitcher and hitter of the week:
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Ricky Brooks, sophomore left-handed
pitcher, Tonawanda, NY:
Brooks fell one out short of
throwing the first nine-inning no-hitter in C-USA history, surrendering
a two-out single in the ninth inning of a 6-0 shutout over Charlotte on
Saturday. He struck out eight and walked one while throwing the first
complete-game shutout by a Pirate pitcher since Jason Tourangeau in the
2003 C-USA Tournament. Brooks also threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless
relief earlier in the week against UNC Wilmington. He is the third ECU
pitcher to capture the league's weekly pitching award this season,
preceded by sophomore Mike Flye (Feb. 14-20) and junior Jeff Ostander
(Feb. 28 - March 6).
HITTER OF THE WEEK
Marc Maddox, junior first-baseman,
Maddox hit .429 (9-for-21) with a
.909 slugging percentage in leading the Golden Eagles to a 5-0 week. He
had two hits in four of the games and hit safely in all five games,
scoring six runs in the process. Maddox's production included a double,
three home runs and eight RBI's. He also walked five times and compiled
a .556 on-base percentage for the week.
Beale St. helps Memphis star cure the blues
NNEW YORK -- Memphis freshman Darius
Washington Jr. is 18-of-20 from the foul line in the NIT.
If only he had that stroke a few weeks
ago, maybe he and the Tigers would've made a run in the NCAA tournament
instead of settling for a consolation prize.
Memphis (22-15) is in the NIT Final
Four for the third time in five years, but was oh so close from a spot in
the field of 65.
Washington stood alone at the line with
no time remaining in the Conference USA tournament championship, and had
three free throws to shoot. Memphis trailed Louisville by two points and
needed to win to claim an automatic bid to get into the NCAAs.
This part of the story didn't have a
happy ending for Florida's Mr. Basketball of 2004. Washington was on his own
national TV reality show, by himself on an island 15 feet from the basket.
``The free throws, I just missed
them,'' the 19-year-old guard said Monday, the eve of the Tigers' semifinal
matchup against St. Joseph's (23-11).
Washington made the first free throw.
One more would get Memphis into overtime, two would complete a shocking
four-day run to the tournament championship after the Tigers closed the
regular season with four straight losses.
Shot No. 2 clanged off the rim,
stunning the youngster and shaking his confidence. He missed the third, too,
and crumpled to the court -- covering his face in despair.
Final score: Louisville 75, Memphis 74.
``The point wasn't that it was
Louisville and I wanted to beat them, the point was that that was the last
time the seniors had a chance to go to the Big Dance,'' Washington recalled.
``I was crying because I knew I had let them down.''
He could've hid. He could've carried it
over into the NIT, or worse, throughout his college career that is just
starting with great promise.
All he needed was 4 hours of sulking
and subjection to the countless television replays of the misses.
``I use that as motivation,'' he said.
``I watched it every time it came on ESPN. I couldn't run from it. I just
had to just sit there and watch it like a man. But for the first couple of
days, it hurt.''
The loss on Memphis' home floor came
early in the day. Washington went home, did his therapeutic TV watching and
took a shower.
He was going to resume moping when his
dad had a better idea. Darius Washington Sr. suggested he and his son go to
Beale Street, fittingly the birthplace of the Blues.
``I didn't want to go,'' he said. ``My
dad just painted the bigger picture and said, 'You can't sulk forever.'''
What Washington found wasn't gloom and
doom, but support.
``Most players probably would've went
into a shell and their careers would've just went downhill,'' he said. ``The
whole reason I went out was first, just to get my mind off of it. Then
people told me 'Thanks, man.' I was like 'Thanks? Thanks for what? Did I win
you some money or something?'
``Every person that stopped me on Beale
Street had something positive to say.''
And it didn't stop there. Calls and
letters flooded in from Temple's John Chaney and Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt.
NBA figures such as Vince Carter, Isiah Thomas and cousin Chucky Atkins also
checked in with support for Washington, a McDonald's high school
``To see them play this hard and this
well in this tournament, I'm amazed they've been able to do that,'' St.
Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. ``They must have really tough-minded
St. Joseph's can relate. The Hawks have
won five straight regular-season Atlantic 10 titles, but a tournament
championship loss landed them in the NIT.
Memphis was playing great before
Washington's misses and the Tigers have carried it over to the NIT.
Louisville used Washington's missed free throws as a springboard to the NCAA
``What if Louisville wins the whole
thing and we win the NIT? Wouldn't that be crazy,'' he asked.
The Tigers beat Northeastern, Virginia
Tech and Vanderbilt at home in the NIT, winning by an average of 20 points.
``To not get in because of one free
throw, we only had one way to prove our case and what we think about our
team,'' Memphis coach John Calipari said.
Now the Tigers face the Hawks, who have
given up just 51.3 points in four NIT games -- three at home and a
quarterfinal win at Texas A&M.
Maryland (19-12) will play South
Carolina (18-13) in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader.
Maryland is also dealing with the
disappointment of missing the NCAAs, where the Terrapins had landed 11
straight seasons. The Gamecocks are in the NIT semis for the second time in
four years -- including a championship game loss to Memphis in 2002.
News Nuggets are
compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data
published by ECU, Conference USA and its member
schools; and reports from Associated Press and
other sources. Copyright 2005
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