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Road win primes ECU for tourney

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East Carolina will be plowing into the upcoming Conference USA Tournament on a surge after winning its fourth game in its last five outings, this time in Hattiesburg.

Derrick Wiley scored 15 points to lead ECU to a 63-50 win Saturday night over Southern Mississippi.

The Pirates (13-13, 5-11) had never won a league road game until last month, when they defeated South Florida in Tampa.

Saturday's win, which improved ECU's record against the Golden Eagles to 5-0 all time, capped off the regular season on a note that fuels the Pirates' aspirations heading into an opening round game against Louisville in the C-USA Tournament in Cincinnati.

"It's going to give us a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence," said ECU coach Bill Herrion in a post-game radio interview.

Herrion's team pulled off the upset a day after the Golden Eagles' coach resigned, with the game against ECU and the league's postseason tournament still to be played.

James Green stepped down Friday after eight seasons with Southern Miss and assistant Jeff Norwood was named interim coach. Southern Miss (13-14, 6-10) begins play in the Conference USA tournament next week in Cincinnati

Green, who was C-USA coach of the year in 2000-2001, watched the game from the first row of seats behind the Golden Eagles bench.

Charles Gaines scored 21 for Southern Miss, but had just five rebounds. He averages 10.5.

East Carolina held the Golden Eagles without a field goal for an 11-minute stretch of the second half.

After Gaines hit a jumper with 17:53 to play, cutting the lead to 31-30, East Carolina went on a 24-7 run over the next 12 minutes.

Southern Miss shot 31 percent for the game and hit just 3-of-24 from behind the 3-point line.

Frank Robinson and Mike Cook both scored 12 points for East Carolina, which shot 54 percent from the floor and outrebounded Southern Miss 40-32.

"We've been playing this way for the last month and a half," said the satisfied Herrion, referring to a string of 10 league games in which ECU emerged victorious five times and was in position to win on each of the other occasions.

The Pirates will face Louisville at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the first day's action of the conference tournament. ESPN Plus will televise the game.


East Carolina 63, Southern Mississippi 50

Records: ECU 13-13, 5-11 Conference USA; USM 13-14, 6-10.

East Carolina 63
Player             FG      FT     PTS

Wiley             5-8     4-6      15
Bing              2-3     0-0       5
Badiane           4-8     2-4      10
Robinson          5-8     0-0      12
Cook             5-11     2-2      12
Rivers            0-2     0-0       0
McNeil            2-3     0-0       4
Mackay            0-1     0-0       0
Rouse             2-2     1-5       5
Grindley          0-0     0-0       0
Totals          25-46    9-17      63

Southern Miss 50
Player             FG      FT     PTS

G. Johnson       3-11     0-0       6
Carter            2-5     0-0       5
Gaines            6-9    9-13      21
Stiggers          1-5     1-2       4
Singleton         0-4     0-0       0
Forte             2-9     0-0       4
Haywood           1-5     0-2       3
Pittman           1-3     0-0       2
Richardson        0-0     0-0       0
J. Johnson        2-7     1-2       5
Totals          18-58   11-19      50

Halftime: East Carolina 28, Southern Miss 26.

3-point goals: East Carolina 4-9 (Robinson 2-3, Bing 1-1, Wiley 1-1, Cook 0-1, Mackay 0-1, Rivers 0-2); Southern Miss 3-24 (Stiggers 1-2, Carter 1-4, Haywood 1-4, G. Johnson 0-3, J. Johnson 0-3, Forte 0-4, Singleton 0-4).

Fouled out: None.

Rebounds: East Carolina 40 (Wiley, Badiane 8); Southern Miss 32 (G. Johnson 6).

Assists: East Carolina 16 (Cook 5); Southern Miss 10 (G. Johnson 4).

Total fouls: East Carolina 15, Southern Miss 15.

Technical fouls:

Attendance: 3,010.

02/23/07 11:01 AM

From Associated Press and ECU reports with staff contributions. Copyright 2004. All rights rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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