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Dead Pirates spring to life


The game story
and the post-game
audio, as penned and
digitally recorded by
Denny O'Brien.


By Denny O'Brien

Box Score

GREENVILLE — When Bill Herrion entered the locker room with his team facing a ten-point halftime deficit to South Florida, the fourth-year East Carolina coach was greeted by a room full of blank stares.

That collective dull look, which followed a first half in which East Carolina shot an uninspiring 25 percent from the field and 17 percent from the three-point arc, prompted Herrion to question whether or not his team was simply out of gas after four-straight disappointing losses.

"The first half might have been one of the worst halves of basketball I've ever sat through," Herrion said.  "I was a little embarrassed walking off the court at halftime.

"I went into the locker room and really did not do a lot with the kids at halftime.  I did not raise my voice.  It's gotten beyond that right now.  What I questioned at halftime was, have they kind of quit?  Have they just been beaten down by the rigors of this league?"

What Herrion discovered in the Pirates' thrilling 68-62 comeback victory over the Bulls was that his team still had something left in the tank, even if it did take two overtimes to kick things into gear.

Fueled by career nights by guard Travis Holcomb-Faye and domination on the boards by forward Erroyl Bing, East Carolina overcame a 14-point second half deficit to put an end to a four-game losing streak that had tarnished the luster of an impressive 10-2 start to the season.

Holcomb-Faye scored 28 points, including six after regulation, as East Carolina doggedly outlasted the Bulls. His jumper with 2:13 left in the final extra period gave the Pirates (11-6, 2-4 Conference USA) the lead for good at 64-62. Belton Rivers added a layup with 20 seconds remaining to extend the lead.

South Florida coach Seth Greenberg was called for a technical and ejected after a foul was called on the Bulls with 12 seconds left. Holcomb-Faye and Derrick Wiley each made one of two on the resulting free throw opportunities to stash the victory.

The Bulls (9-7, 2-3) went on an 8-1 run to open the second half, taking a 38-24 lead with 15:47 on a dunk by Jimmy Baxter. But East Carolina chipped away, trailing 54-48 with 2:56 remaining.

South Florida wouldn't score the rest of regulation as Wiley made a layup to tie it at 54-54 with 20 seconds left. During that stretch, Holcomb-Faye hit two free throws and a jumper and blocked a shot by Reggie Kohn with time running out to send the game into overtime.

In the first extra period, South Florida took a four-point lead, three coming on a Kohn jumper, but the Pirates rallied again. Bing's three-point play with 46 seconds left sent the game into another overtime at 60-60.

Bing grabbed 24 rebounds, including 12 offensive boards, while scoring seven points for the game. As a team, East Carolina outrebounded South Florida 71-42.

Wiley added 11 points for ECU, while Kohn led South Florida with 25 points.

Holcomb-Faye snatched 9 rebounds on the night but did much of his damage after the intermission with eagle-eye shooting, nailing a series of big shots to help the Pirates claw their way back into the game.

On the rare occasion when the senior point guard was off the mark, the bulky Bing was there to clean the glass as the Pirates out-rebounded the Bulls 71-42.

"Travis started knocking down some shots," Bing said.  "Belton (Rivers) started knocking down some.  Derrick hit a couple.  When guys do that, it opens up the glass and we were able to keep attacking the glass."

BOX SCORE: East Carolina 68, South Florida 62 (2OT)

South Florida (9-7, 2-3 C-USA) 62

Player         FG      FT     PTS
Leathers       4-9     0-0    8
Baker          0-0     2-2    2
Morris         3-6     3-4    9
Baxter         10-26   4-5    25
Kohn           2-13    0-0    6
Swift          0-4     0-0    0
Brigman        2-8     2-2    6
Oglesby        2-3     0-1    6
Totals         23-69   11-14  62

East Carolina (11-6, 2-4) 68

Player         FG      FT     PTS
Bing           3-11    1-5    7
Mikulas        1-7     0-0    2
Badiane        3-10    1-2    7
Rivers         3-15    1-1    8
Wiley          4-16    2-4    11
Mackay         0-2     0-0    0
Moore          2-6     0-1    5
Holcomb-Faye   10-21   4-5   28
Totals         26-88   9-18  68

Halftime: South Florida 30, East Carolina 20.
End of regulation: 54-54.
End of 1st overtime: 60-60.

3-Point goals: South Florida 5-21 (Oglesby 2-3, Kohn 2-7, Baxter 1-8, Brigman 0-1, Leathers 0-1, Swift 0-1); East Carolina 7-31 (Holcomb-Faye
4-10, Moore 1-4, Wiley 1-5, Rivers 1-7, Mackay 0-2, Bing 0-3).

Rebounds: South Florida 42 (Morris 11), East Carolina 71 (Bing 24).

Assists: South Florida 9 (Kohn, Swift 3), East Carolina 14 (Mikulas 5).

Total fouls: South Florida 23, East Carolina 18.

Technical fouls: Baxter, Holcomb-Faye, Kohn, Rivers, South Florida bench.

Fouled out: None.

Attendance: 6,038.

Copyright 2003 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

02/23/2007 01:51:03 AM

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