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
Wiley added 11 points for ECU, while Kohn led South Florida with 25
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
"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."
SCORE: East Carolina 68, South Florida 62 (2OT)