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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Adversity mounts against Pirates


Replay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW, featuring guest East Carolina assistant football coach KIRK DOLL. 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.
Pirate Radio Home Page


Redemptive season lands Revia at ECU
Adversity mounts against Pirates
Early troubles still vex Pirates
ECU-Tulsa Photo Gallery
Audio: Lebo, Morrow & Kemp Postgame
Pirates facing tall order
Football Recruiting: Four Thumbnails Added
Q&A with Brian Mitchell
Pirates get a breather after stiff trials
Q&A with Lincoln Riley
Rompza: Smallest Knight has big night
ECU-UCF Photo Gallery
Audio: Lebo, Paul and Morrow Postgame
Final Conference USA Bowl Scoreboard
UCF, Jordan the Younger get Pirates' attention
Big-play athlete Crump plots path to ECU
One-on-One with...
(ECU Media Relations File Photos)

Bonesville features writer Ron Cherubini conducted one-on-one interviews with East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley (left) and Pirate defensive boss Brian Mitchell (right). Links to the wide-ranging Q&A sessions:

Lincoln Riley Q&A
Brian Mitchell Q&A

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

View the Bonesville Mobile Alpha version of this page.

Saturday proved to be one long, tough day at the office for East Carolina basketball coach Jeff Lebo.

First, Lebo was dealing with news that Austin Steed had been ruled academically ineligible for the rest of the season.

This certainly isn’t your normal student-athlete with academic issues.

Steed earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina in just three and a half years. He then joined the Pirate program as a graduate student with one year of eligibility remaining.

Steed just missed out on staying in the graduate program with a 3.00 grade point average.

"I'm very proud of my academic accomplishments at the University of South Carolina and was working diligently toward similar achievements at East Carolina University with a 2.85 GPA and 21 hours of completed coursework," Steed said in a statement released by the university on Saturday. "I'm disappointed that I will no longer have the opportunity to be a part of the basketball program and equally disappointed that I fell short of the goal of completing my graduate degree.”

Lebo was particularly upset with the news.

"This is one of the saddest days of my coaching career," said Lebo in that same statement. "It is extremely disappointing that Austin Steed will not be able to complete his final semester of eligibility and earn a graduate degree, while wearing a Pirate basketball uniform. Austin represents all the positive qualities of a student-athlete you strive to recruit as a coach."

Steed had played in all 15 games so far this season. His size inside was sorely missed this past Saturday.

The second part of Lebo’s long day centered around a very tall and physical Tulsa basketball team.

The Golden Hurricane came to Greenville and blitzed the Pirates to the tune of a 22-4 first half lead. Lebo’s Pirates battled back and actually had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer before falling 70-67.

"We battled and clawed to do everything to get back into the game and we just weren't able to make some plays,” said Lebo after the loss. [Select and replay postgame audio in new window] “We shot at such a poor percentage. We are not going to be able to do that and beat good teams. We are going to have to shoot the ball at higher than 30 percent.

"In the second half, we had a couple of big ones that we didn't make or didn't hit. They are a good defensive team."

East Carolina continued a trend on Saturday where it falls way behind early on, and then has to work to get back into the game. This Pirate team deserves credit for not quitting when things looked bleak so early in the game against the Golden Hurricane.

"I thought we battled hard, but again we dug ourselves into a big hole,” said Lebo. “Tulsa played really well to start. We had some great looks early, but we just couldn't make anything.”

Lebo’s Pirates hit the road this week with a trip to the Lone Star State to take on UTEP and Houston. East Carolina then returns home for the rematch with Southern Miss, which held on against the Pirates 78-76 on January 4th.

Things certainly don’t get easier. Lebo can only hope the experiences from these first three Conference USA losses pay dividends as this team looks to improve and play its best basketball come March.


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Brian Bailey Archives

01/17/2012 02:49 AM


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