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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 13, 2008

By Brian Bailey

C-USA schedule a long, hard journey

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Mack McCarthy’s Pirates had a great chance to steal a Conference USA win on the road over the weekend.

East Carolina and Marshall were tied at 33 at halftime on Saturday in Huntington, WV. The Pirates then bolted out of the gate in the second half with an 8-0 run.

The Pirates held off the Herd for the most part, still leading 56-51 when Marshall went on a 15-0 run to win the game. The Pirates did get within three at 67-64, but that’s as close as they would get, falling 72-64.

“The encouraging thing is that we played harder for a longer amount of time,” said McCarthy. “Last year we got beat up there by a bunch.”

The Pirates fell to 9-6 overall and 1-1 in the conference. Coach Mack says he thinks he and his staff are getting a great effort from his team.

“They’ve been extremely coachable,” McCarthy said. “We’ve had good chemistry, but it’s been tested like with the four-game losing streak. We’re getting a lot out of the guys.”

This is a weird schedule, as the Pirates have a bye in the Conference USA rotation this week, and then host Texas-El Paso this Saturday night. McCarthy calls UTEP a contender to battle Memphis for the league’s championship.

“They’ve got two of the best players in the league in (Randy) Culpepper and (Stefon) Jackson,” said McCarthy. “They’ve got tremendous size. Their point guard is 6-6, so that presents a problem for Brock Young.

 They are certainly a contender in Conference USA and they provide a really tough match up for us.”

The schedule certainly takes on a Texas flavor over the next couple of week. East Carolina has two, separate Lone Star State visits set before January ends.

The Pirates visit Houston next Wednesday, and then head to Dallas for a Saturday game against Southern Methodist. Then, the Pirates return home to play Memphis in Greenville before completing the Texas Two-Step with a trip to play at Rice in Houston to end the month.

“Travel is hard for everyone in Conference USA,” McCarthy explained. “It’s especially hard for those of us on the outer core of the league, like us, UTEP, UCF and Marshall. I wish I had a solution. I know that they’re not moving Texas any closer to us!”

Joyner on the mend

The Pirates did receive some good news on Monday. Daquan Joyner, who has been out of action with a stress fracture, is on schedule to return to action very soon.

Joyner is moving forward with his recovery, and will work on strengthening the muscles near the injury and getting in shape over the next week or so.

Coaches were waiting to see how the injury had healed in trying to decide if they would get a medical redshirt for Joyner. Plans are now, though, to welcome Joyner back soon.

Ice Pirates win a pair

Hockey is a club sport at East Carolina, but it continues to get a good following for the team’s home games at Bladez on Ice in Greenville.

This past weekend the team beat UNC-Wilmington in a pair of games. The Pirates won both at home on Friday and then in Wilmington on Saturday night.

The guys put on a good show and they have drawn great crowds over the last couple of years.

The Ice Pirates are at home this Friday, hosting Loyola College on Friday night at 9:30. On Saturday, they host George Washington at 3:30. ECU beat Loyola 6-5 but lost to GW 4-3 in overtime back in November.


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01/13/2009 01:42:45 AM


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