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Charlotte slams brakes on Pirates' momentum

From staff and wire reports

Box Score

Take that, Pirates!

Charlotte's Demon Brown yells after hitting
the third of three rapid 3-pointers during the
first half to spur the 49ers to the beginnings
of a Saturday night rout of Conference USA
and in-state rival East Carolina.

(AP Photo by Rusty Burroughs)

CHARLOTTE — East Carolina's budding swagger was turned into a stumbling shuffle Saturday night as cross-state rival Charlotte brought the Pirates crashing back to the real world with a merciless 83-62 whipping.

The 49ers fired in the game's first 14 points and maintained complete control from beginning to end to snap a four-game losing streak and dampen the potential national implications of ECU's pending Thursday showdown at home with 19th-ranked Louisville.

ECU came into the game tied for first place in Conference USA and on a roll of sorts since Christmas. The Pirates shocked then 13th-ranked Marquette 73-70 on December 30 and pummeled Division II Pembroke 93-47 on January 2.

Demon Brown scored 21 points to pace Charlotte. Brown made five 3-pointers, including three in a row to push the 49ers (6-7, 1-1 C-USA) to a big early lead that would grow much bigger.

Butter Johnson and Curtis Nash scored 15 each for Charlotte and Curtis Withers added 14.

The loss was a a major setback for East Carolina (10-3, 1-1).

The Pirates came into the game off to their best start since they opened the 1955 season 10-2, and they were harboring hopes they could establish credentials as one of the best teams in the league in just their second season of membership.

Instead, they played lethargically for long stretches, dropping to 0-9 in C-USA road games since the beginning of last season and losing their fourth-straight game against Charlotte.

Coming off an eight-day layoff, the Pirates were sloppy at the start of the game — and it cost them.

Derrick Wiley committed a pair of turnovers and Charlotte converted with a layup by Tory Reed and the first of Brown's three straight 3's. Brown quickly nailed two more from behind the arc after a pair of East Carolina misses to give Charlotte an 11-0 lead with 17:53 to play.

The Pirates didn't score their first basket until senior guard Travis Holcomb-Faye, back after missing five games for academic reasons, scored on a layup to cut Charlotte's lead to 14-2 with 16:40 to play.

East Carolina could never dig itself out the hole, shooting 45 percent for the game and hitting just four of 13 three-pointers. The Pirates finished with 16 turnovers and failed to notch a single steal.

Holcomb-Faye led East Carolina with 15 points, but also had six turnovers. Wiley finished with 14 points, five turnover and no assists. East Carolina's backcourt accounted for 14 turnovers and just three assists.

Moussa Badiane, who got into early foul trouble, blocked three shots and scored 12 points for East Carolina and Belton Rivers added 10.


Charlotte (6-7, 1-1 C-USA) 83, East Carolina (10-3, 1-1) 62

East Carolina (62)
Player         FG      FT      PTS
Bing           0-1     0-0     0
Mikulas        2-6     5-7     9
Badiane        5-7     2-3     12
Rivers         4-13    0-0     10
Wiley          6-11    1-2     14
Mackay         0-2     0-0     0
Rouse          1-3     0-3     2
Holcomb-Faye   6-10    2-2     15
Totals         24-53   10-17   62

Charlotte (83)
Player         FG      FT      PTS
Withers        6-14    2-2     14
Basden         1-2     0-0     5
Reed           3-7     0-0     6
Nash           6-11    0-0     15
Brown          6-16    4-4     21
Johnson        5-9     4-6     15
Burge          0-1     0-0     0
Grier          1-3     3-7     5
Baldwin        2-4     0-0     5
Howard         0-0     0-0     0
Best           0-0     0-0     0
Totals         30-67   13-19   83

Halftime: Charlotte 49, East Carolina 23.

3-point goals: East Carolina 4-13 (Bing 0-1, Rivers 2-7, Wiley 1-2, Mackay 0-1, Holcomb-Faye 1-2); Charlotte 10-23 (Withers 0-1, Nash 3-6, Brown 5-13, Johnson 1-1, Baldwin 1-2).

Rebounds: East Carolina 36 (Mikulas 8); Charlotte 38 (Basden 9).

Assists: East Carolina 10 (Mackay 5); Charlotte 19 (Basden, Nash 5).

Total fouls: East Carolina 18; Charlotte 19.

Fouled out: Johnson.

Technical fouls: None.

Attendance: 8,136.

02/23/2007 10:56 AM

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


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