East Carolina ran into a buzz-saw at Cincinnati on Sunday night. The Pirates were never really in the basketball game and fell to the Bearcats, 82-57.
It was a disappointing effort and the Pirates’ second straight loss. ECU fell at home to Tulsa before hitting the road.
In both games the Pirates really struggled from the field. ECU was just 8-49 from the three-point line in the two losses. That includes a 2-23 effort in the home loss to the Golden Hurricane.
On Sunday night, the Pirates got knocked down early and never really got off the mat.
“We saw what grown men look like today,” Pirate coach Joe Dooley told the IMG Learfield radio audience on Sunday night. “We looked around way too much tonight, and that’s something we haven’t been doing.”
Dooley obviously sounded dejected. He realizes that this is a project that will take the patience of Job.
Brandon Suggs led ECU in the loss with 16 points. Jayden Gardner, the American Athletic Conference’s leading scorer, had 13 points and 8 rebounds.
Dooley was especially frustrated with the team’s poise in the loss.
“We showed much better poise on the road at Wichita,” said Dooley. “We missed so many open shots and we just didn’t handle things well.”
ECU was also out-rebounded in the game, 46-34.
Life in the American is never easy. The Pirates flew back to Greenville on Sunday night, and then got set to leave on Tuesday for Dallas and the rematch with Southern Methodist.
The Pirates beat the Mustangs on January 11th, 71-68, at Williams Arena.
“We’ll get back and look at the Cincinnati tape and the SMU game film,” said Dooley. “We have a lot to get fixed in a short amount of time.”
On the positive side of things, Suggs played his best game as a Pirate scoring those 16 points. Charles Coleman continues to show improvement. He hit the boards for nine big rebounds in the loss.
Beating SMU this week won’t be easy, with the Ponies still smarting from the upset loss to ECU less than two weeks ago.
Even with the loss at Cincinnati the Pirates continue to flirt with the .500 mark. ECU fell to 8-10 overall and 2-3 in the American.
After this week’s SMU game, the Pirates return home to Williams Arena to take on Tulane on Saturday night.
The Pirates hit a big pot hole on Sunday night in Cincinnati. Now Joe Dooley and the Pirates have to right the ship and grow up in a hurry.
There are more grown men on the Pirate schedule to come.