It was a time for back to back celebrations on Saturday at Minges Coliseum as the East Carolina men shot the lights out in an 88-85 overtime win over Memphis while the Pirate women blew out SMU, 76-47.
Freshman Shawn Williams scored 30 points in the men’s win. He was 6-of-10 from the 3-point line and 8-for-9 from the free throw line. On Monday he was named as the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week for the third time.
But Williams was just one of the many heroes in this deal.
Isaac Fleming scored 11 points, hauled in 11 rebounds and dished out 10 assists for the first triple-double in ECU basketball history.
Kentrell Barkley had a second straight double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
B.J. Tyson had several clutch plays on his way to a 14-point night before he fouled out late in regulation.
The Pirates took Tulane to overtime with the ‘Minges Miracle,’ when Barkley hit Tyson on a ‘hail Mary’ play that tied the game late. But ECU would score only two points in the overtime and fell, 71-69.
“We put ourselves in a position to win the last two games at home,” ECU interim coach Mike Perry told the media after the Memphis game. “But we wanted to do more than just put ourselves in a position to win. We wanted to finish it.”
Perry said it was certainly a team effort. He continues to say his young team is coming together.
This was by far the Pirates’ best effort of the season.
“We put ourselves in a position to win, we had major contributions from across the board from everyone who came into the game and we always say play hard, play smart and play together, and we did all of those things,” Perry said.
With the win the Pirates improved to 9-13 and 3-8 in the American heading into a Wednesday night contest at league foe Temple.
For Perry it was signature win.
Make no mistake about it. Perry wants to be strongly considered for the vacant head coaching job.
“I find it amusing that people will ask me, ‘Do you really want this job,’” Perry said on the Friday before the Memphis game. “I always laugh and say, ‘Of course I want this job.’ But we’ll wait and cross that bridge later. Right now we just need to get ready for the next game.”
Perry knows that he is very much a long shot, but he does deserve a ton of credit for keeping this program together.
The Pirate ladies had a much easier time on Saturday. Heather Macy and company turned a seven-point halftime lead into a 76-47 blowout victory. It was the team’s third straight win in the American Athletic Conference. That’s a first since 2015, which was ECU’s first year in the league.
All of a sudden the future looks bright for the Pirate women. Freshman Lashonda Monk scored 20 big points in the victory. Monk also had 10 steals and 6 assists. Her first three starts of the year have all been ECU wins.
The Pirate hoops programs made it a clean sweep of the Freshman of the Week awards when Monk joined Williams in taking home the honor.
Macy stresses defense and that emphasis is certainly paying dividends.
“I think they have really just responded to a couple different adjustments that we have made,” Macy told the media afterwards. “Tonight, because of their size, we needed to play more of a full-court basketball game.”
The Pirate women now take that momentum south to Tampa to take on South Florida. The Bulls are 18-5 and 8-2 in the American. The game will provide a great test to see where Coach Macy’s young team is with a month to go in the season.
Looking back it was great to see so many positives out of the ECU programs in a single day.
Again, it was a day to remember for sure at Minges.