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News Nuggets, 02.26.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Hapless Campbell searching for end to futility


02.25.05: WVU, new league foes spice up ECU football slate ... High-flying Charlotte ready for Southern Miss ... Marquette gets sour taste of life without Diener ... Conference USA standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
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...

BUIES CREEK — No one can accuse Campbell coach Robbie Laing of not trying to get his team a victory in the Atlantic Sun.

He changes the starting lineup about once every two games, going with 13 different combinations so far this season. He ignores the time-honored strategy of hoarding timeouts, sometimes using all but one in the first half.

Yet the Camels keep losing. They haven't won since Dec. 11, and neither of their two victories came in the Atlantic Sun. That makes Campbell (2-24, 0-19) the only Division I team winless in league play with one game left — conference co-leader Central Florida travels to Buies Creek on Saturday.

``If we win Saturday, it would make all the difference in the world,'' freshman point guard Ruell Pringle said. ``It would give us something to motivate us in the offseason.''

Last week, Savannah State became just the second D-I team in the last half century to go winless in a season. However, the Tigers play as an independent, so all 28 of their losses were out of conference.

The Camels haven't finished with a winning record since going 17-11 in 1995-96. That total included a victory over Stetson in the first round of the conference tournament, the last time they won a postseason game.

Campbell won't have a chance to break that streak this season. For the fourth straight year, it failed to qualify for the A-Sun tournament and the Camels can become just the second team in conference history to finish league play without a win.

``It is tough,'' guard Russ Gibson said. ``Nobody likes losing.''

So far, the well-traveled Laing doesn't regret his decision to accept the job about two years ago. He has worked as an assistant at seven different schools, most recently at Kansas State, and this is his first chance to be a head coach.

``I think it's the best thing that's happened in my career,'' the 46-year-old Laing said. ``There's only about 300 of these jobs, and they are very, very difficult to get.''

Few probably are as difficult as his. Campbell has reached the NCAA tournament only once since joining Division I in 1977, a trip 13 years ago that featured a first-round loss to top-seeded Duke.

The most notable aspect of that appearance was the down-home, aw-shucks personality of then-coach Billy Lee, who won plenty of fans during his 15 minutes of fame. Since then, the Camels have endured mostly losing seasons, including a combined record of 25-90 over the past five.

Laing is 5-48 in his brief tenure.

``I know it's hard on Coach,'' Gibson said. ``He took this job hoping to win games and turn the program around, but so far, that hasn't happened.''

Laing certainly hasn't given up. He brought in seven new players this season — including five freshmen and two junior-college transfers — to fill a roster on which senior forward Dominique Klein is the only one with more than one year of D-I experience.

Point guard Anthony Atkinson, a member of the conference's all-freshmen team a year ago, was declared academically ineligible after 10 games this season. Pringle, the leading scorer and one of the few bright spots, has played the past few weeks with a stress fracture in his foot.

``Most teams can put in their freshmen, and when he makes a mistake, they take him out and put their junior or senior back in,'' Laing said. ``We just don't have that luxury.''

That was clear in Campbell's most recent game, an 89-83 loss to Florida Atlantic on Thursday night. Three times in the second half, the Camels pulled within two points, and they had two chances to tie or go ahead.

They squandered both of those opportunities, and the Owls pulled away at the free throw line. That's a recurring theme for Campbell; eight of its nine home losses have been by less than eight points.

``You've got to give them credit, they came out and really played hard,'' Florida Atlantic coach Sidney Green said. ``You can tell Robbie has done a great job with those players. There was no quit in them.''

Green is the one coach who can empathize with Laing. In his first season, the Owls went 0-18 in the conference, the only A-Sun team so far to complete an entire season without a victory.

Two years later, he took many of those players to the NCAA tournament.

``I think coaches in this conference realize that Campbell won't be an easy place to play in a couple of years,'' Green said. ``They've got a lot of young talent, and they play hard.''

That's one of the few positives for Laing.

``Around the league, the opposing coaches and athletic directors have been very complimentary of our effort,'' he said. ``A lot of teams in this situation might have handled it differently and tanked. That's not happening.''

Suspended players off Tar Heel football team

CHAPEL HILL — Adarius Bowman and Isaiah Thomas, suspended indefinitely from North Carolina's football team last fall after being cited for marijuana possession, are no longer Tar Heels.

In a brief statement Friday, the school did not specify whether they left on their own or were dismissed, citing privacy rights. But team spokesman Kevin Best said both remain enrolled.

Thomas, a defensive tackle, and Bowman, a wide receiver, were two of three players indefinitely suspended from the team after campus police entered a dorm room Oct. 10 and confiscated 5.8 grams of marijuana.

The sophomores missed the final six games of the season.

Thomas's case on a marijuana possession charge was continued to March 7, according to court records. A marijuana possession charge against Bowman was dismissed Nov. 22.

The third player suspended last fall, linebacker Fred Sparkman, is not in school and has said he plans to transfer.

C-USA standings, scores, schedule & TV

STANDINGS (through Friday):

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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