Tag Archive | "East Carolina"

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Niners prepare for LeboMania III

Posted on 03 December 2011 by NLP

Now we all know every Niner fan faces east 5 times a day to praise Lebo, but tomorrow the Niners make the pilgrimage to Mecca Greenville to play the ECU Pirates (5 PM, MASN -oh noes!).  This will be the third contest for the Niners against the Pirates since the anointed one, Jeff Lebo, took over the program.  Lebo Almighty has “turned” the Pirates “around”, having guided them to a 15-16 record last season, including purchasing a post-season appearance for the Pirates (1-2 -non-DI games are pathetic and we don’t count them as wins) on Terry Holland’s credit card.  Now, although Lebo is Lord and Savior of the ECU basketball program, the Niners, in their worst season since “Wissel-ball”, managed to split with the Pirates 1-1 last year, including a one point loss.

Lebo looks to guide the Pirates into the afterlif... er, post-season. The Division II post-season.

This season, Lebo’s Apostles are led by Darrius Morrow, the bruising forward Lebo has tapped to spread his message on the basketball court.  Pope Morrow has averaged in double figures in scoring throughout his years and adds some modest rebounding with his 6’8″ 245 lbs frame.  This season Morrow has been hampered by foul troubles in games against real competition, fouling out in the loss against Campbell and picking up four fouls against Crappalachian State and Old Dominion.  Somewhat surprising is his rebounding, which has tailed off a bit this season compared to his first three campaigns, as he is averaging only 4.2 rpg.  One might expect better rebounding numbers for a player who’s seen 3 games already this season where the opponent is little more than a meat shield (Milligan, Coker and Chowan).  Of course mind you the average fan doesn’t realize how difficult it is for ECU to schedule now that they are an elite program and besides, Milligan is a highly-rated NAIA school!

Another focal point for East Carolina is Miguel Paul.  Paul originally played two seasons under Mike Anderson at Missouri before transferring to learn under the tutelage of Lebo Almighty.  That training has clearly paid off as Paul is averaging 16 ppg for the Pirates through 3 games.  What is most impressive is the 24.4% shooting from the field that Paul is putting up.  What equally impresses me is Paul’s ability to get Nash-ty with the ball, dribbling out the shot clock and shooting awful shots.  Just what every team needs in a point guard.  Watching ECU play ODU, we originally thought the other players on the court were just standing around disinterested as Paul essentially ignored them.  Wrong.  Paul was showing them the Gospel under Lebo and they were merely studying his every move.

What else does Lebo Almighty have to throw at the Niners on Saturday?  Well none other than Shamarr “Shamwow” (as he likes to be called) Bowden.  As Niner fans know, Bowden played 15 games for Charlotte in 2009-2010 before bailing on the team quicker than that helicopter pilot bailed on David Thompson when he flew 15 feet between the magnolia tree and the property line.  But he scored 19 points on Louisville!  Yeah, he also was streaky and played lousy defense as evidenced in ECU’s loss to ODU when he committed a turnover and subsequently let his man blow by him causing Darrius Morrow to get a critical fourth foul which sent him to the bench.  That’s the Shamwow we remember most, so no matter how hot he is or isn’t, he’ll always be the French Army on defense.  Hopefully Niner guards remember that and take advantage of it.

Delving into the numbers like Lebo delves into sermon each practice, it might become apparent that ECU is a better shooting team.  Not true.  Again I reference their three games against non-DI opponents (remember how the Niners beat Belmont-Abbey like a drum?).  When you consider only DI opposition, ECU is shooting less than 40% from the field (compared to 41.6% for the Niners), are roughly even in rebounding and commit more fouls than the opposition.  One important caveat though -this will be ECU’s first real game at home.

Bowden gets beat up on defense worse than this guy.

So what do the Niners do to win?  Obviously more than merely show up, since we’ve suffered two losses @ ECU over the years.  What they need to do is obviously take care of the ball, as turnovers particularly at the bookends of games, have been a problem.  Protecting Braswell in the paint will also be important as Darrius Morrow will want to impose his will inside to try to get Braswell in foul trouble.  Aside from that, expect a lot of three point attempts from Paul, Bowden and Paris Roberts-Campbell.  It will also be of critical importance for Derrio Green and Deuce Briscoe not to try to out hero Shamwow, who’s sure to be excited to play his former team.  Bowden could very well get hot but his inability to play any semblance of defense on the other end can be exploited -provided the Niner backcourt keeps its composure.

As you’re reading this you might be thinking “Gee that’s a lot of vitriol for a program that is as important as Our Lady of the Blind in college basketball.” and you’d be right.  ECU is irrelevant.  However, we just don’t like a few of their obnoxious fan(s), so what better than to go down to Greenville and make them walk their own plank.

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Game #6: Blackout versus ECU

Posted on 01 December 2009 by NLP

If I cross my eyes hard enough, Moussa starts looking like Phaler

No amount of bleach to the eyes could erase this horrible game from my mind.

The last time the Charlotte 49ers faced the EZU Pirates, it was the Niners who were forced to walk the plank, losing 54-51.  That game featured an ice storm that kept many faithful from making the drive to Greenville and a dominating performance by Moussa Badiane (16 points, 9 rebounds, 3  blocks, and a key charge drawn) and a dreadful shooting night by the Niners (18-56 from the field).  Though the faces on the court have changed in the years since the last game, revenge will be on the minds of fans as Halton Arena welcomes the scourge of the Carolinas with a blackout Wednesday night.

EZU enters the game 2-4 (sorry, the win against Clinch Valley College doesn’t count) with their most recent contest a win Saturday at fellow slave-name institution, UNC Greensboro.  Despite the poor record, the Pirates should not be taken lightly by the Niners (really, no argggggguing with me).  EZU shoots a very high percentage from the field (47.0%) and gets to the line regularly (nearly as many makes as their opponents attempt).  The Pirates are also adept rebounders, enjoying a more than 5 rpg. advantage over their opponents.  Where EZU struggles is maintaining possession.  Turnovers have been the key stumbling block in the early season, with the Pirates averaging nearly 20/game.

A surprising source of frustration has been the play of Jr. PG Brock Young, who last year was second in the NCAA with 7.57 assists/game and a healthy 2.44 assist:turnover ratio.  Despite leading the team in scoring this season (14.4 ppg.) he’s actually committed more turnovers than assists, possibly out of a desire to create more for the team and be the focal point of the offense.  The Niners must head caution to his ability to make things happen for the Pirates and not take his turnover problem for granted tomorrow night as he looks to create for a very potent frontline for EZU.  Terrific young forward Darrius Morrow has emerged as a rising star in his sophomore season, averaging 13.6 ppg. on 63.6% shooting and 7.0 rpg.  Morrow is joined in the paint by Jr. C Chad Wynn, who is chipping in just over 9 ppg. On 59.2% shooting and 5.3 rpg.  Rounding out the perimeter for EZU are wings Jontae Sherrod (12.6 ppg., 35.5% from 3) and Jamar Abrams (7.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg.).  For the Pirates Wednesday night, the focus should be clear:  limit turnovers and use strong interior play to get quality looks and draw fouls.  On the defensive end, force the Niners into tough shots and use the rebounding advantage to limit second-chance scoring opportunities.

The Niners will counter with standout forward Shamari Spears.  Through 4 games Spears has asserted himself in the early mix as an A10 POY candidate averaging 24.3 ppg. on a scorching 62.3% shooting from the field.  Another bright spot in the revamped Niner front court has been the play of frosh forward Chris Braswell.  Last week against Hofstra, Braswell notched the second double-double of his young career with a 15 point, 11 rebound performance in the victory.  Where concern rises is the scoring beyond Spears.  Despite having 7 other players reach double-figures in scoring already this season, no consistent second and third options have emerged.  DiJuan Harris. Derrio Green, and Shamarr Bowden are each averaging between 8.0 and 9.2 ppg.; however, neither are shooting better than 40% from the field.  In fact, it’s not until 6th leading scorer Phil Jones (6.6 ppg.) do the Niners have a player shooting better than 40% from the field (and that being a low figure for a post player).  Bowden is the quintessential case of inconsistency, having not reached double-figures in scoring since his 21 point eruption against Asheville in the season opener.   Help should be on the way shortly, with the return of An’juan Wilderness to the lineup, but not until Saturday against Louisville.  Until then, the Niners will have to continue to search for consistent scoring.  Hopefully deliverance will come in the form of better shooting, with signs that Derrio Green is emerging from his early shooting slumber.   – NLP

The EZU mascot needs updating.

The EZU mascot needs updating.

Keys to the game for EZU:

  • limit turnovers (absolute must for the Pirates)
  • maintain a rebounding advantage
  • dominate the Niner interior (really no one has done this yet)

Keys to the game for Charlotte:

  • shoot the ball better (>45% will be a feat)
  • get offensive rebounds
  • force Brock Young to try to do too much himself

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