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Pirates shuffle their way past Bishops

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — A shuffled starting lineup and a battle with the Div. III N.C. Wesleyan Bishops still couldn’t remedy East Carolina’s traditional first half woes, but a hot finish in the second half carried the Pirates to an 88-69 win on Tuesday at Minges.
East Carolina coach Mack McCarthy substituted Brock Young and Chad Wynn for Cory Farmer and John Fields at the start of Tuesday’s game in search of a spark, but what he got was a sputtering offense that led the Bishops to an early 11-0 lead.
McCarthy mixed and matched his lineups throughout the game and, in an ironic twist, it was Farmer and Fields who helped the Pirates rip off a 28-12 run midway through the second half to cement an East Carolina (2-3) win.
While Young struggled a bit early on, Wynn looked comfortable in his starting role as he did a good job of establishing position on the block and showed some decent post moves.
Young adjusted as the game went on and finished with 11 points, five assists and three steals, while Wynn tallied nine points and six rebounds.
As East Carolina struggled to establish continuity in the first half, the Bishops were rolling as they rode the back of Lenny Hall. The senior guard scored 12 first half points en route to a game-high 19, and helped the Bishops hold on to a 38-37 halftime lead.
East Carolina came out of the break with the same lineup it started the game with, but shot much more effectively as the game went on.
A Fields’ basket helped ECU take a 50-45 lead with a little under 15 minutes left to play. As Fields established himself in the paint, Farmer benefitted as he was able to knock down two second half threes and finished the game with a season-high 11 points, while Fields led all Pirates with 12.
The Pirates hit their apex from that point on, and after back-to-back dunks by Fields and Gabe Blair, ECU took a commanding 63-52 lead with nine minutes left to play.
Farmer said it felt different to come off the bench, but he was willing to do whatever it took to make the team better.
McCarthy attributed his team’s second half run to taking better care of the basketball, and said after the game that all lineup spots are still up for grabs.
The Pirates will hope to have the right mix of players ready on Saturday, as they play their first road game of the season at USF at 7 p.m.
EAST CAROLINA 88, N.C. WESLEYAN 69
N.C. WESLEYAN (1-2)
Coleman 3-7 0-0 6, Williams 4-7 2-3 10, Cobb 2-11 0-0 5, Drake 3-15 2-2 10, Hall 5-18 7-8 19, Woods 0-0 0-0 0, Dziagwa 0-0 0-0 0, Butler 0-0 0-0 0, Stokes 0-0 0-0 0, Arrington 6-13 0-1 12, Murray 0-0 0-0 0, Washington 0-0 0-0 0, Corbett 2-6 1-2 5, Adams 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 25-77 14-18 69.
EAST CAROLINA (2-2)
Blair 2-8 2-2 6, Wynn 4-8 1-4 9, Hinnant 3-8 2-2 8, Young 3-5 4-6 11, Jenkins 4-8 0-0 10, Legan 0-3 1-2 1, Farmer 4-8 0-0 11, Gagnon 2-5 0-0 4, Abrams 3-9 0-0 6, Fields 5-6 2-2 12, Sherrod 2-4 0-0 5, Sargent 1-1 0-0 3, Evans 1-3 0-0 2, Joyner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-76 12-18 88.
Halftime—North Carolina Wesleyan 38-37. 3-Point Goals—N.C. Wesleyan 5-22 (Hall 2-5, Drake 2-7, Cobb 1-8, Arrington 0-2), East Carolina 8-23 (Farmer 3-5, Jenkins 2-5, Sargent 1-1, Young 1-1, Sherrod 1-2, Evans 0-1, Abrams 0-2, Legan 0-3, Hinnant 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—N.C. Wesleyan 45 (Drake 11), East Carolina 54 (Blair 8). Assists—N.C. Wesleyan 15 (Drake 7), East Carolina 20 (Young 5). Total Fouls—N.C. Wesleyan 15, East Carolina 15. A—3,810. o 15 mph…