TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
February 15, 2010
Winning season in
hoops still within reach
(ECU SID image)
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Greatest Comeback Falls
The greatest comeback in
the last 30 years in East Carolina basketball came last season in the
Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.
In that game the Pirates
rallied from 20 points down to beat South
ECU almost eclipsed that
Saturday night’s loss to Marshall
at Williams Arena.
Jeff Lebo and company
trimmed a 27-point second half deficit all the way down to just five
points with just over five minutes to play.
Actually, the Pirates had
a chance to cut the lead to four, but Corvonn Gaines fired up a hat
trick of misses after he was fouled behind the three-point line with his
team trailing by seven with just over six minutes to play.
“It was a tough one for
us,” said Lebo afterwards. “We battled hard but we dug ourselves too big
of a hole to try and come back from. Our kids did battle until the very
end. We could have made it interesting.”
I thought the Pirates did
make it interesting. One look at Marshall Coach Tom Herrion and you know
that he thought the Pirates made it interesting. Tom’s brother Bill is
the former East Carolina coach, and the two are very similar in their
game demeanor on the sideline.
Credit the Pirate fans for
not leaving with their team down 27 in the second half. It was a
Saturday night, the team is way behind, the chance to get to dinner
early had to be tempting.
The ECU faithful stuck
around, though, and were treated to a great Pirate flurry that whittled
that huge lead down to five with plenty of time to go.
Lebo’s disappointment was
obvious. A great crowd stayed until the end. Lebo and his squad would
have loved to give that crowd a win on Saturday night.
“We really struggled
scoring the basketball,” Lebo said. “We missed layups. We missed foul
shots. The comeback was nice. Despite how poorly we played, Corvonn has
three foul shots to cut it to four. He misses all three and then fouls
at half court. They go and make two, so instead of four it’s back to
eight or nine.”
Lebo says his team hasn’t
shot the ball all that well the last three games. He says teams are
starting not to defend multiple people on the court so that they can
sink in and help out down low.
Junior forward Darrius
Morrow was just 2-8 from the field, with seven points and just two
rebounds in the loss.
“You have to credit
Marshall’s defense,” said Morrow. “They limited my touches in the post.
We just couldn’t pull it out.”
Morrow didn’t have a lot
of help down low. Daquan Joyner, a junior forward, is still out with his
injury, while senior center Chad Wynn missed the game with an illness.
Lebo says Jamar Abrams is
a key to the Pirate attack but notes that the senior forward also
struggled against the Herd.
“He is our best shooter
and we run so many things for him,” said Lebo. “He made his first shot
of the night, and then he got in foul trouble and wasn’t a factor.”
The stats for this game
showed how bizarre it actually was. Marshall turned it over 28 times.
East Carolina had 18 steals, while the Herd had just one.
Marshall, though, doubled
up the Pirates on the glass, and survived what would have been the
greatest comeback in the last 30 years of ECU basketball.
The Pirate schedule now
toughens a bit with all of the frequent flyer miles the squad will rack
up. Sandwiched between home games against Texas-El Paso and Memphis are
trips to Tulsa, Hattiesburg, Houston and Birmingham.
Still, East Carolina has
proven it can play tough on the road. Two games over .500 with six
regular season contests plus the Conference USA Tournament remaining,
gives this team an excellent chance to pull out a winning season.
There have been bumps
along the way, but that shot of a winning season for Coach Lebo in year
one is still very much in sight.
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02/15/2011 03:48 AM