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News Nuggets, 02.25.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

WVU, new league foes spice up ECU football slate


02.24.05: C-USA roundup: Charlotte gains share of first place ... Tough 'break' in practice ends Diener's season ... Conference USA standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.23.05: No. 21 Charlotte hosts Memphis in pivotal league matchup ... Diener, DePaul prevail over South Florida ... Conference USA standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.22.05: State turns defense over to former Syracuse assistant ... Mountain West adopts instant replay for 2005 ... Louisville, Charlotte advance in AP hoops poll ... More...
02.21.05: Fourth-and-10 for legislator's anti-BCS bill ... C- USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.20.05: C-USA roundup: Ailing Bearcats fight off UAB ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.19.05: South Carolina fined by SEC for fans rushing court ... Shocker boosts Hokies hoops to new pinnacle ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.18.05: Cards escape Milwaukee with win after Marquette collapse ... Former juco coach charged with conning Louisville ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.17.05: No. 23 Charlotte out- grinds Diener-led DePaul ... No. 24 Cincinnati takes out anxiety on USM ... Houston cruises past turnover-prone Bulls ... More...
02.16.05: UAB looks to cure losing streak at ECU's expense ... Tonight's final USM-Cincy clash set for ESPN2 ... Conference and team power indexes ... ACC to try instant replay next football season ... More...
02.15.05: ECU sprint phenom lands another national honor ... AP basketball poll: Charlotte cracks Top 25 ... Tulane still reigns over Baseball America poll ... ECU's next foe, Clemson, 21st in Collegiate Baseball poll ... More...
02.14.05: C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... Billikens' star guard leaves team indefinitely ... More...
02.13.05: C-USA roundup: The 'other Diener' helps nail Cincy ... Coach suspended over incident with officials ... More...
02.12.05: Embarrassed Cards in recovery mode as USF arrives ... Bearcats face must-win matchup at DePaul ... More...
02.11.05: $23 million baseball palace in the works at LSU ... Cincinnati crushes city rival's bid for another upset ... More...

A game against defending Big East Conference co-champion West Virginia in Morgantown, WV, headlines an East Carolina non-conference football slate that includes a home contest with Duke and a trip to Wake Forest.

The Pirates' 2005 schedule, announced Thursday, includes five games in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and six on the road.

Incoming Conference USA members Rice (home), Southern Methodist (away), Central Florida (home), Tulsa (away) and Marshall (away) account for more than half of the foes on ECU's eight-game league slate.

Rice and SMU will be first-time opponents for the Pirates, while UCF, Tulsa and Marshall are teams which ECU faced in the past when the schools were independent or affiliated with other conference.

Other league games on the schedule are with Southern Mississippi (home), UAB (home) and Memphis (away).

The season will include two open dates, the first on Sept. 10 and the other Nov. 5.

The Pirates will officially kick off the tenure of new head coach Skip Holtz on Sept. 3, when Duke visits Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for the first time since 1999.

Following an off-week, ECU will hit the road for games at Wake on Sept. 17 and WVU on Sept. 24, before returning home to launch its C-USA slate against USM on Oct. 1.

"I'm excited to finally have our first schedule completed," stated Holtz in a press release issued by the school. "I feel the two open dates help us from a first-year standpoint.

"Obviously, there will be a lot of local and regional interest in our first three games and, without a doubt, we are looking forward to having the chance to compete for a Conference USA championship."

The Pirates' regular season will conclude with a Nov. 26 home game versus UAB.


Date       Opponent
Sept. 3    DUKE
Sept. 10   Open Date
Sept. 17   at Wake Forest
Sept. 24   at West Virginia
Oct. 8     RICE*
Oct. 15    at Southern Methodist*
Oct. 22    at Memphis*
Nov. 5     Open Date
Nov. 12    at Tulsa*
Nov. 19    at Marshall*
Nov. 26    UAB*

Home games in ALL CAPS; *Conference USA game; game times pending the establishment of television scheduling needs.

High-flying Charlotte ready for Southern Miss

With three games remaining in the regular season, Charlotte is right where it wants to be.

Tied for the lead in Conference USA, No. 21 Charlotte plays its final home game of the season against Southern Mississippi on Saturday.

The 49ers (20-4, 11-2) have won six straight games and are tied with 12th-ranked Louisville for the lead in Conference USA. Louisville visits Memphis on Saturday before hosting Charlotte next Thursday.

Charlotte improved to 11-2 on the season at Halton Arena with an 80-77 victory over Memphis on Wednesday night.

``This puts us in a wonderful position,'' Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said after his team moved two games ahead of Memphis and DePaul. ``It puts us right where we want to be.''

Senior swingman Eddie Basden is the biggest reason for Charlotte being atop Conference USA. The league's player of the week in two of the past three weeks, Basden had 24 points and seven rebounds against Memphis. He was 7-of-13 from the field and 10-of-12 from the free throw line, sealing the win with two free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining after he came up with an offensive rebound.

``I wouldn't trade (Eddie) for anybody in the country,'' Lutz said about the reigning C-USA defensive player of the year. ``He has always been our hardest worker, he has unbelievable confidence and great energy. I think he is terrific.''

The 6-foot-5 Basden also had three steals Wednesday, giving him 78 on the season to break the team record of 77, set by Delano Johnson in 1990-91.

Basden is averaging 15.9 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds. During Charlotte's winning streak, he is averaging 20 points and 9.8 boards.

Junior forward Curtis Withers is averaging a team-high 17 points and 8.2 rebounds after totaling 103 points and 36 boards over the last four games.

Southern Mississippi (10-16, 1-13) is last in the conference and has dropped eight straight since a one-point win over Tulane on Jan. 22. Michael Ford had 22 points and six rebounds and Jarekus Singleton added 16 points for the Golden Eagles in a 77-66 loss at East Carolina on Wednesday night.

Ford was 8-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range, to help Southern Miss rally from an early 12-point deficit. Ford hit a layup to tie the score at 51 with 11:05 remaining, but East Carolina responded with three consecutive 3-pointers.

A 6-1 junior guard, Ford has scored at least 15 points in four of his last six games. Backcourt mate Rashaad Carruth is averaging a team-high 13.2 points for Southern Miss, which is 1-8 on the road.

Charlotte has won 11 consecutive meetings with Southern Miss and leads the all-time series, 25-4.

Marquette gets sour taste of life without Diener

CINCINNATI — With Marquette missing its best player, all No. 24 Cincinnati had to do was let its two formidable power forwards take over the game.

Eric Hicks and Jason Maxiell were up to the task.

Hicks scored 17 points and Maxiell added 14 on Thursday, leading the Bearcats to an 80-68 win in Marquette's first game without leading scorer Travis Diener, lost for the season with a broken hand.

Cincinnati (21-6, 9-4 Conference USA) got up by 28 points in the second half before coasting, one of the Bearcats' worst habits. Marquette hit some late 3s, cutting the lead to seven points in the final minute against Cincinnati's reserves.

``We get passive,'' coach Bob Huggins said. ``We come out and play really, really hard, then get a lead and get passive. We get comfortable, and it's hard to play this game comfortable.''

Marquette (18-9, 6-8) had trouble finding shots without Diener running the show. Cincinnati is No. 2 in the nation in forcing opponents to miss, holding them to 36.8 percent — exactly what Marquette shot.

Diener, one of the nation's top point guards, led the conference in scoring (19.7 points per game) and assists (7 per game) when he broke his hand Tuesday during practice. He had surgery and will miss the rest of his senior season.

Steve Novak led Marquette with 25 points, going 7-of-12 from behind the 3-point arc. Sophomore guard Dameon Mason took Diener's spot in the lineup and had 17.

Diener was upbeat and smiling as he walked around the court during pregame warmups, slapping hands with teammates as they stretched on the floor. Huggins spotted Diener, walked over to him, shook his hand and warmly wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

Huggins said something that made both of them laugh, then pumped his hand again before walking away to attend to his team.

Then, the Golden Eagles found out just how much they're going to miss Diener.

Marquette had won three of its last five games, showing signs of stabilizing. Without Diener, the Golden Eagles looked lost on offense. They couldn't get into a flow without the school's career 3-point leader on the floor.

``When they called plays, I know a lot of people weren't in the right spots,'' Hicks said. ``There was confusion at times. I could tell they missed not having Diener out there.''

Coach Tom Crean called a 30-second timeout after Cincinnati surged ahead 13-4 in the opening minutes. Diener walked pensively around the perimeter of the huddle, and a fan in the Cincinnati student section held up a sign that read: ``No Diener No Chance.''

Crean thought his team missed Diener's leadership at the outset.

``Probably, but that's not an excuse,'' Crean said. ``We've got to learn to deal with it. We figured it out in the second half.''

Cincinnati got open 3s over Marquette's zone, packed in to try to contain Maxiell and Hicks. Nick Williams made three of his first four shots from behind the arc, putting the Bearcats in control early. Williams finished with 16 points.

Hicks and Maxiell scored Cincinnati's first 10 points in the second half, helping the Bearcats extend their lead to 20. Cincinnati led by as many 28 before Marquette closed the gap down the stretch behind Novak's long-range shooting over the Bearcats' back-ups.

C-USA standings, scores, schedule & TV

STANDINGS (through Thursday's games):

TEAM               CONF   PCT     ALL   PCT
Louisville         11 2  .846    23 4  .852
Charlotte          11 2  .846    20 4  .833
Cincinnati          9 4  .692    21 6  .778
DePaul              9 4  .692    17 7  .708
Memphis             9 4  .692   16 11  .593
Houston             8 5  .615   17 10  .630
UAB                 7 6  .538    17 9  .654
Texas Christian     7 6  .538   17 10  .630
Marquette           6 8  .429    18 9  .667
Saint Louis         4 9  .308    7 19  .269
South Florida      4 10  .286   11 14  .440
East Carolina      4 10  .286    9 17  .346
Tulane             3 10  .231    9 15  .375
Southern Miss      1 13  .071   10 16  .385


East Carolina 77, Southern Miss 66
Charlotte 80, Memphis 77
Texas Christian 77, Tulane 63
UAB 64, Saint Louis 62


Cincinnati 80, Marquette 68 (ESPN2)


Saint Louis at DePaul 1 PM (ESPN+)
Cincinnati at Texas Christian 3 PM (ESPN+)
Southern Miss at Charlotte 3 PM
Houston at East Carolina 7 PM
Tulane at UAB 8:30 PM
Louisville at Memphis 9 PM (ESPN)

Compiled from Conference USA and wire reports.


News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:21 PM


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