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Scrappy Pirates Outmanned by N.C. State in
BCA Finale; Bing Makes All-Tourney Team

From Staff and ECU SID Office Reports

RALEIGH — East Carolina surprised a lot of observers — and maybe even its coach — by advancing to the title game against N.C. State in the Black Coaches Association Invitational Tournament in Raleigh.

But the scrappy Pirates finally ran out of magic.

After upsetting Rutgers and Northwestern on back-to-back nights to reach the finals, ECU's depth-depleted team succumbed to the host Wolfpack, 71-47, on Friday night and settled for second place in the eight-team tournament.

"When we left Greenville for this tournament I didn`t know what to expect," said Pirate head coach Bill Herrion. "Our kids played their hearts out and we made progress as a basketball team this week."

Sophomore forward Erroyl Bing scored double figures for a third consecutive game and earned all-tournament honors, but the Pirates, still without the services of a pair of key players, were outmanned by a deep N.C. State team.

Team linchpin Gabriel Mikulas, a native of Argentina, and promising freshman Moussa Badiane, from France, are sitting out an undetermined number of games while the NCAA bureaucracy ponders an eligibility ruling concerning dozens of foreign college players around the country who participated with paid players on club teams in their native countries.

Playing its third game in three days, ECU (2-1) struggled shooting the basketball while NC State (3-0) connected on 53.6 percent of its shots. The Pirates, who had been deadly from three-point range in quarterfinal and semifinal triumphs over Rutgers and Northwestern, made just 8-of-30 attempts from behind the arc against State.

The Pirates made a comeback run in the second half, cutting a 31-point Wolfpack lead down to 14, and had an opportunity to get even closer, but the 'Pack regained control and coasted to the victory.

Bing led the Pirates with 14 points and senior guard Fred Primus chipped in 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting.

State was paced by Anthony Grundy, who led all scorers with 21, and freshman Julius Hodge, who scored 13.

After the tournament awards were presented, East Carolina, in its first season as a basketball member of Conference USA, headed west for another road game. The Pirates will challenge Southern Conference member Appalachian State on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. in Boone.

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ECU's SID Office contributed to this story.

02/23/2007 01:35:09 PM

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