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Pirates find groove to stay unbeaten


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


By Denny O'Brien

Box Score

GREENVILLE — East Carolina coach Bill Herrion says his team is driven by visions of March Madness.

The Pirates may have taken another step toward fulfilling that dream with a 76-60 victory over Virginia Tech Monday night.

Propelled by a smothering second half defensive effort and hot shooting from the wing, East Carolina overcame a 13-point deficit with 16:38 remaining to rout the Hokies and remain undefeated.

With the win, the Pirates moved to 6-0, a feat that hasn't been achieved in almost half a century.

"They really had us confused in the first half," Herrion said.  "We didn't handle the zone really well. They played an extended 1-3-1.  We worked on it yesterday but we don't see it that often.  We just weren't in sync offensively."

The rhythm was vigorously restored in the second half.

Center Moussa Badiane's thunderous slam at the 15:26 mark trimmed the once-hefty deficit to single digits at nine, setting in motion a stretch run in which East Carolina played in perfect unison. From there, the Pirates outscored the Hokies 37-12, much to the delight of the Pirates faithful.

Belton Rivers scored 18 points while Derrick Wiley added 17 as ECU matched its 1954 start and moved within a game of equaling its 7-0 leap out of the gates in 1953, the best opening run in school history.

East Carolina trailed 36-29 at halftime, but shot 62 percent in the second half to beat the Hokies (4-4), the Pirates' 11th straight non-conference win. The Pirates also hit 13 of 17 free throws in the second half compared to a 3-for-5 effort for Virginia Tech.

The Hokies shot 36 percent in the second half and finished with 20 turnovers.

Badiane, who had 13 points and six rebounds, blocked three shots to become the school's career leader with 105, and senior point guard Travis Holcomb-Faye dished out seven assists to pad his all-time career mark in that category.

Carlos Dixon had 20 points to lead Virginia Tech, while Bryant Matthews had 17.

BOX SCORE: East Carolina 76, Virginia Tech 60

Virginia Tech (60)
Player         FG      FT     PTS
Matthews       6-14    3-4    17
Dixon          7-16    1-3    20
Taylor         1-4     0-0    2
Branham        2-4     0-0    5
McCandies      1-3     0-0    2
Davis          0-0     0-0    0
Chase          1-6     0-0    3
Calloway       1-2     0-0    2
Harris         1-3     0-0    3
Sailes         0-1     0-0    0
Thompkins      3-5     0-0    6
Totals         23-58   4-7    60

East Carolina (76)
Player         FG      FT     PTS
Bing           2-5     6-8    10
Mikulas        2-4     1-1    5
Rivers         5-8     4-5    18
Wiley          7-12    2-4    17
Holcomb-Faye   3-9     2-2    9
Rouse          0-0     0-0    0
Boddie         0-0     0-0    0
Badiane        5-6     3-4    13
Moore          1-3     2-4    4
Twitty         0-1     0-0    0
Grindley       0-0     0-0    0
Totals         25-48   20-28  76

Halftime: Virginia Tech 36, East Carolina 29.

3-Point goals: Virginia Tech 10-27 (Dixon 5-9, Matthews 2-6, Branham 1-1, Harris 1-3, Chase 1-5, Calloway 0-1, Sailes 0-1, Thompkins 0-1); East Carolina 6-17 (Rivers 4-7, Wiley 1-1, Holcomb-Faye 1-4, Moore 0-1, Twitty 0-1, Bing 0-3).

Fouled out: Taylor, McCandies.

Rebounds: Virginia Tech 34 *Matthews, Thompkins 6); East Carolina 28 (Bing 7).

Assists: Virginia Tech 12 (Matthews 4); East Carolina 13 (Holcomb-Faye 7).

Total fouls: Virginia Tech 24, East Carolina 13.

A - 7,012.

Copyright 2002 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

02/23/2007 01:51:05 AM

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