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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 10, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Thumbs up for Pirate hoops

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

For the first time in many years, the East Carolina basketball team had people buzzing on Saturday night.

For some, it was the lights-out shooting display which saw the Pirates shoot 63 percent from the field.

For others, it was the high-wire dunking act from sophomore Jamar Abrams.

For others still, it was a big win over one of the top teams in Conference USA.

It was just a fun night at Williams Arena.

It got off to a great start with the first of several Abrams slams. The Pirates set up a play to go backdoor on an alley-oop with Abrams. It was a perfectly executed play, and it got the night off to an unbelievable start.

“He is an exceptional athlete,” said Pirate coach Mack McCarthy when asked about Abrams. “He had a couple of dunks that were incredible and he’s the same guy who has the finesse to go out and shoot 5-6 from the three-point line. He shoots 90 percent from the free throw line.

"Now he has to learn to get to that line to take advantage of that. When he learns how to do that, he could really be special.”

Abrams had one slam in the second half during which it looked like he used his elbow to wipe off the backboard glass before ripping down the dunk.

Abrams scored a career high 25 points in the game. One of his three-point shots looked like it didn’t touch anything, rim or net, which is certainly rare from a shot outside.

A closer look at the video shows the ball actually grazed the back part of the rim, and then shot straight through the net without touching the nylon. It was a perfect shot on a near perfect night for Jamar Abrams.

“I’ve had games like that in high school,” said Abrams. “But this is a different level and so it really felt good.”

Coach McCarthy has said all year long that this is a very unselfish team. His team ranked up 23 assists on 29 field goals in the win over Central Florida on Saturday night.

One play in particular stuck in my mind. The Pirates were on a controlled break which featured quick pass after quick pass. Around the horn the ball traveled. Just when you thought a shot would go up, another pass whizzed by. Finally, another three-pointer was launched and swished through the net.

“Twenty-three assists on 29 field goals at this level is quite a step,” said McCarthy. “It’s very impressive. They (the team) truly don’t care who gets the shots and who gets the points. They just really want to win at this point."

Coach Mack would love to see this two-game winning streak become three with a win at Tulane on Wednesday.

“We’ll find out a whole lot about what these games meant when we go back on the road this week,” said McCarthy.

The Pirates return home to take on Rice on Valentine’s Night at Williams Arena.

Is there anything more romantic then a date at the ballgame?

On second thought, maybe that’s why I’m not married anymore!

Still, the Pirates are playing well, and they deserve a packed house this week. Mack McCarthy and his staff are making heads turn. These Pirates are playing with lots of energy are generally fun to watch.

A box of chocolates and two tickets to see the Pirates is a great idea for Valentine’s Day.

OK, better add a dozen roses!


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02/10/2009 01:19:58 AM


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