State runs into Minges
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GREENVILLE — Sam Hinnant
made threes, Darrell Jenkins made free throws and East Carolina made
history on Saturday night in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum with a
75-69 win over N.C. State.
Never before has a Pirates
men's basketball team beaten an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent, a
string of futility that spanned decades and countless miles of travel.
The Wolfpack was making its first trip to ECU's Minges Coliseum in the
18th game of the series and was only the fourth ACC team to come calling
on the Pirates.
State had managed to
survive against the Pirates by a 64-57 margin last season in Raleigh.
"We had a bitter taste in
our mouth from last year," said Jenkins, whose hometown is Anaheim, CA.
"They celebrated pretty hard. I'm not from this area but I can see what
a big rivalry it is."
The shift in venue and the
raucous support of most of a crowd of 7,623 helped make a difference.
Hinnant was on from jump
"I hit my first shot and I
knew it was going to be a good night," said the junior guard from
Charlotte who torched the Wolfpack for a career-high 30 points.
With the score tied at 64,
Hinnant drained his sixth three-pointer of the night with 2:13 remaining
to put the Pirates ahead to stay. Cory Farmer alertly stole State's
ensuing inbounds pass and scored for a 69-64 ECU lead.
Jenkins hit all four of
his foul shots in the last 20 seconds to seal the outcome.
Hinnant claimed a
defensive rebound with two seconds to go on a missed three-pointer by
Gavin Grant, who led State with 25 points, and the celebration was on.
ECU fans poured onto the Williams Arena court in a fashion that was deja
vu of Conference USA wins a few years ago against powers Louisville [ View
10/17/2002 Story ]
and Marquette [
View 02/26/2002 Story;
View 12/30/2002 Story
"It was a lot of fun and
it was an unbelievable atmosphere," said Pirates coach Mack McCarthy.
"I've coached a long time and a lot of great places. I don't think I've
been in a building as loud as that was. There were some times when it
was deafening in there.
"There's no question that
the crowd played a factor in the outcome."
So did McCarthy's pregame
preparation and in-game adjustments.
After getting outrebounded
50-26 in an 82-67 loss to Clemson on Wednesday night, the smaller
Pirates managed to control the boards 34-33 against State as sophomore
John Fields grabbed a game-high 11 caroms for ECU.
"I had to sit with Coach
Mack and watch the tape of the Clemson game and I didn't want to do that
again," Fields said. "Mack fixed things after the Clemson game."
ECU won 68-65 on Sunday at
George Mason before learning some valuable lessons against the No. 17
Tigers midweek. McCarthy said he was actually excited after the Clemson
game because he realized many of the Pirates' mistakes were correctable.
"Both of the games last
week were a factor in tonight's effort," said the ECU coach. "The fact
that we came from behind at George Mason on the road was a big factor.
Wednesday, we had to get used to the loud crowd and the level of
intensity that an ACC team plays with."
Like the George Mason
game, the Pirates had to come back against the Pack as State scored the
first nine points of the second half to lead 47-38. It appeared that ECU
might be left to choke on the Pack's exhaust fumes.
But McCarthy made some
quick defensive tweaks during a 30-second timeout with 16:41 remaining.
During another break with 14:54 left, he told his team that they had
withstood State's run and were still within striking distance despite a
That prompted a 14-4 run
by the Pirates that was capped by a rare four-point play by James Legan
with 11:30 to go that gave ECU its first lead at 54-53. ECU (4-5) forged
a 62-58 advantage with 6:14 left on a tip-in by Fields.
State (4-3) failed to step
up down the stretch.
"I thought (ECU) played
extremely well," said State coach Sidney Lowe. "They made the plays down
the stretch when they had to.
"They made the shots and
got the rebounds that they needed to and we were not able to do that.
... Down the stretch when the game is won or lost in the last four or
five minutes, we just did not execute and they did."
Hinnant finished 10 of 13
from the field, including 6 of 8 behind the arc and he went 4-for-6 at
"Sam made some
unbelievable shots tonight," Lowe said. "He made some when we had guys
right in his face."
Jenkins finished with 11
points, eight assists and a newfound sense of pride.
"This means a lot," he
said. "When we lose, we lose bad. Sometimes it's embarrassing to go to
class. But this is a big confidence boost. I'm very proud to wear this
jersey. We're going to be wearing our gear every day — to class, to the
grocery store, wherever we go."
The Pirates have an exam
break before hosting UNC-Wilmington on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. (TV: TWC)
"We have some things to
work on but we will get better," McCarthy declared.
He said a two-week respite
might have come at a good time.
"I'm content to rest on
this laurel for a little while," said the Pirates coach.
ECU athletic director
Terry Holland was surveying the aftermath of the victory that manifested
itself in a mass of humanity at midcourt. Holland was stationed at the
lower level exit that leads to the Pirates locker room.
"This couldn't have come
at a better time," Holland said.
"I didn't really
celebrate," McCarthy confessed. "I went around the celebration."
Jenkins didn't miss it and
he won't forget it.
"The crowd coming on the
floor and cheering us on," Jenkins said. "They were showing us their
love. I'll remember that the rest of my life."
ECU was up. Its players
and fans teamed to produce a highly-coveted win over an ACC rival.
"We're from Conference
USA," Hinnant said. "We get up for ACC teams. We see them play on TV
Maybe the Pirates can even
put the package of emotion and execution that overcame the Wolfpack into
a sort of syndication this season. ECU fans would love to see reruns
against UNCW and C-USA foes.
"It's big for the
program," Fields said. "The first win against an ACC team. That will
probably jump-start the program."
EAST CAROLINA 75, N.C.
Date: Saturday, Dec. 8,
Site: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum, Greenville, NC.
Officials: Gary Maxwell, Kyle Neve, Terry Moore.
Technical Fouls: None.
SCORE BY PERIODS 1
38 31 - 69
East Carolina 38
37 - 75
N.C. STATE (4-3)
PLAYER FG 3PT FT
R PTS MIN
Grant................ 7-11 1-2 10-13 6
Costner.............. 2-11 0-4 3-5
10 7 32
Hickson.............. 4-6 0-0 7-9
8 15 35
Fells................ 3-8 2-5 0-0
2 8 29
Degand............... 1-7 1-3 2-2
3 5 34
Harris............... 0-0 0-0 0-0
0 0 0+
Gonzalez............. 1-2 1-2 0-0
0 3 6
Horner............... 1-2 0-0 0-0
0 2 14
McCauley............. 2-3 0-0 0-0
2 4 13
TOTALS...............21-50 5-16 22-29 33
PERCENT.............. .420 .313 .759
EAST CAROLINA (4-5)
PLAYER FG 3PT FT
R PTS MIN
Gagnon............... 0-2 0-0 0-0
1 0 18
Blair................ 1-7 0-0 2-2
7 4 20
Farmer............... 2-5 0-1 2-3
5 6 14
Hinnant..............10-13 6-8 4-6
3 30 34
Jenkins.............. 3-8 1-3 4-5
2 11 26
Legan................ 3-7 2-4 1-1
1 9 24
Young................ 0-3 0-1 0-0
0 0 14
Abrams............... 0-0 0-0 0-0
0 0 6
Fields............... 3-6 0-0 1-6
11 7 28
Wynn................. 2-3 0-0 0-0
1 4 8
Evans................ 1-1 1-1 1-2
1 4 8
TOTALS...............25-55 10-18 15-25 34 75
.455 .556 .600
12/10/07 12:45 AM.
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