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News Nuggets, 03.29.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

East Carolina southpaw takes Conference USA honor


03.28.05: McCants helps Heels seal the deal over Badgers ... Scintillating finishes supercharge TV ratings ... More...
03.27.05: Cards, Illini mount monumental rallies to reach Final Four ... Terrapins dump TCU to win Garden date with South Carolina ... Sunday preview: North Carolina vs. Wisconsin ... More...
03.26.05: Duke, 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 currency ... More...
03.25.05: Holland 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 Cincinnati ... More...
03.24.05: NIT: Memphis whips Vandy to advance to Garden ... NIT: Maryland overcomes big Davidson lead ... Big East hops on replay bandwagon ... More...
03.23.05: NIT win over UNLV extends Stokes' ties to USC ... Davidson-Maryland NIT matchup set for TV ... Activists file suit over 'Chief Illiniwek' ... More...
03.22.05: Break over for East Carolina football team ... Frogs in NIT quarterfinals after overtime win ... CBS reaping ratings bonanza from tourney ... Baseball America & Collegiate Baseball Polls ... More...
03.21.05: Spurrier straps on visor, gets down to business ... NCAA Tourney Sweet 16 pairings & schedule ... Tournament's TV ratings up over 2004 ... More...
03.20.05: Kentucky 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 ... More...
03.19.05: Hodge 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) Arizona ... More...

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:


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).


Marc Maddox, junior first-baseman, Hattiesburg, MS:

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 All-American.

``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 guys.''

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 Final Four.

``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 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:22 PM


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