Surprising Pirates Upend Northwestern, Advance
to BCA Championship Game Against N.C. State
From Staff and ECU SID Office Reports
RALEIGH — Conference USA can rest easy if it feared new member East
Carolina would sully the pedigreed league's lofty power rankings from the
ECU pulled off its second upset in a row, stunning Big Ten opponent
Northwestern, 71-68, Thursday night in the semifinals of the Black Coaches
Association Invitational Tournament in Raleigh's Entertainment and Sport
The win came on the heels of an equally remarkable victory by the Pirates
on Wednesday, in which they overcame an 11-point second half deficit to
shock Big East foe Rutgers, 79-74.
The Wildcats had advanced to the second round match-up against ECU with a
78-73 triumph on Wednesday over Virginia Commonwealth, the Pirates' former
brethren in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Tourney host N.C. State, of the ACC, outgunned WAC member San Jose State,
78-56, in the other semifinal contest, setting up a compelling title game
between the Wolfpack and the Pirates. The schools have not met in basketball
since December 8, 1982, when the 'Pack scratched out a 57-49 win in Reynolds
ECU made the renewal of the rivalry possible by knocking down a
school-record 17 three-point field goals and eventually opening a big second
half lead which a frenzied Northwestern surge down the stretch could not
Senior Kenyatta Brown scored 17 of his career-high 23 points in the first
half and helped the Pirates to a one-point halftime lead, 33-32. Brown
scored 11 of the Pirates` first 13 points, including three three-point field
goals. During the first period of play ECU (2-0) made 12 field goals, nine
of which were three-point field goals.
The two teams traded baskets at the start of the second half before the
Pirates bolted out to a 15-point lead, 60-45, with 6:00 remaining in the
game. ECU outscored Northwestern (1-1) 18-4 over a nine minute period in the
second half as it made five consecutive three-point shots, three from senior
Hawkins tied his career-high by draining six three-point field goals en
route to 20 points. Brown also made a career-best five three-point field
goals as did sophomore Erroyl Bing who hit four shots from three-point
range. Bing finished with 18 points.
Northwestern used a 21-7 run late in the second half to cut the lead to one,
but Hawkins` sixth three-pointer of the game pushed the ECU lead back to
four, 70-66, with 0:17 seconds remaining. The Wildcats pulled within three,
but their final shot glanced off the rim as the Pirates held on for the
Tonight's BCA title game between the Pirates and State will tip off at
the ESA at 8:00 p.m.
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ECU's SID Office
contributed to this story.
02/23/2007 01:35:08 PM