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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 18, 2010

By Brian Bailey


Scrappy Pirates in search of consistency


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guests HEATHER MACY and TODD GIBSON. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
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By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

GREENVILLE — It’s a split for East Carolina in the first half of this four-games-in-eight-days venture. The Pirates beat Tulane on Saturday, but fell in the make-up game against UAB last night.

Jamarr Sanders poured in 26 points as the Blazers came from 12 down in the second half to win it 66-59.

The ECU-UAB matchup was originally set for last Wednesday until travel disruptions resulting from last week's winter storm forced a postponement.

There are no moral victories, but for success-starved East Carolina basketball fans, there was plenty to feel good about. One play served as perhaps a microcosm of the way the loss to UAB went.

Brock Young dove on the floor looking to create a turnover. The ball went past midcourt where a Blazer player got set to scoop up the loose basketball.

Out of nowhere, big Darrius Morrow came diving in and grabbed the basketball, firing a pass to Young underneath the Pirates' hoop.

Young couldn’t handle the pass, and both he and Morrow dove one more time as the ball trickled out of bounds.

First-year East Carolina coach Jeff Lebo referred to the play in his post-game press conference. That was just how the game went. The Pirates had their chances, but just couldn’t get over the hump.

The crowd liked what it saw. Even with the ball going back to UAB, the Pirate faithful gave the effort a much deserved standing ovation.

Perhaps it will be a play that will propel this team to new heights of hustle and defense. It was truly a great show of giving the body up in pursuit of the basketball.

East Carolina built a 12-point lead early in the second half. That’s when Sanders went to work.

Sanders put together quite a shooting night, hitting 9-12 from the field, including 6-7 from the three-point line.

“They had a guy in Sanders that was just terrific,” said Lebo after the game. “He was like an NBA player tonight.”

The Pirates were also hurt by poor free throw shooting and the lack of offensive punch from Darrius Morrow down low. East Carolina was just 14-23 from the charity stripe for just over 60 percent.

Morrow’s numbers were poor in part because of his foul trouble. He was 0-0 from the field with just three free throws and one rebound. The Pirates have to get more out of Morrow, even if he is in foul trouble.

Lebo certainly loved the way his team hustled all night long. East Carolina just never found an answer for Sanders, who hit at least one of his three pointers from what seemed like close to 30 feet from the basket.

“It was frustrating coming down the stretch that we couldn’t make the plays to win,” said Lebo. “Give them credit. They had a swagger that they expected to win a game like that.”

This tough stretch now continues with two away games. The Pirates play at Central Florida on Wednesday night and then at Marshall on Saturday.

Winning on the road will be difficult for sure. Lebo hopes the loss to UAB will provide enough lessons to turn the negative into a positive, to possibly steal one on the road this week.

UCF was ranked 23rd nationally until the Knights laid an egg in Hattiesburg this past weekend. It’ll take hustle, free throws and plenty of defense to upset the Knights.

East Carolina has executed well enough at times this year. Consistency may be the key to finally getting over that “hump.”



Date: Monday, Jan. 17, 2011
Place: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum, Greenville, NC
Attendance: 3,887
Records: ECU 9-8, 1-2 Conference USA; UAB 12-4, 2-1.

Alabama-Birmingham     24  42 -   66
East Carolina          27  32 -   59

UAB BLAZERS (12-4, 2-1 C-USA)
 # PLAYER                    FG   3PT    FT  R PTS MIN
22 Cameron Moore....... f  5-14   1-6   5-5  6  16  40
01 Aaron Johnson....... g   2-8   0-3   6-7  1  10  21
04 Jamarr Sanders...... g  9-12   6-7   2-3  5  26  24
24 Preston Purifoy..... g   2-2   1-1   2-2  0   7  24
25 Quincy Taylor....... g   1-3   0-1   0-0  2   2  38
03 Anthony Criswell......   1-3   0-0   2-2  4   4  16
05 Robert Williams.......   0-1   0-1   1-2  7   1  24
23 Dexter Fields.........   0-2   0-1   0-0  1   0  13
TEAM.....................                    3
TOTALS................... 20-45  8-20 18-21 29  66 200
PERCENT..................  44.4  40.0  85.7

 # PLAYER                    FG   3PT    FT  R PTS MIN
01 Darrius Morrow...... f   0-0   0-0   3-4  1   3  21
21 Jamar Abrams........ f  6-10   4-7   0-0  3  16  30
11 Corvonn Gaines...... g   1-1   0-0   0-3  2   2  23
23 Erin Straughn....... g   1-4   1-3   3-5  3   6  29
24 Jontae Sherrod...... g  5-13   3-6   3-4  8  16  32
03 Petar Torlak..........   0-0   0-0   2-2  0   2   1
10 Brock Young...........   3-8   1-3   3-5  3  10  27
12 Robert Sampson........   0-1   0-1   0-0  1   0  10
30 Wakefield Ellison.....   0-0   0-0   0-0  0   0   8
33 Chad Wynn.............   2-2   0-0   0-0  1   4  11
35 Darius Morales........   0-0   0-0   0-0  0   0   4
42 Daquan Joyner.........   0-0   0-0   0-0  0   0   4
TEAM.....................                    3
TOTALS................... 18-39  9-20 14-23 25  59 200
PERCENT..................  46.2  45.0  60.9

Officials: Jamie Lucky, Kevin Mathis, Bert Smith.
Technical Fouls: None.

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01/18/2011 08:01 AM


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