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Pirates fail to unhorse Knights; Lady Pirates win

By By AARON CARPENTER, Sports Correspondent
GREENVILLE — The East Carolina Pirates were unable to overcome what Coach Mack McCarthy dubbed “a horrible start,” falling 71-66 to the University of Central Florida Knights.
The Pirates (7-9, 1-2) were befuddled by the Knights’ suffocating defense in the early going and didn’t score until more than six minutes had gone by in the first half, spotting the Knights (10-7, 3-0) a 14-0 lead.
However, as easy as it would have been to throw in the towel, the Pirates never quit and battled back to within 10 before Jermaine Taylor of the Knights sank a 3-pointer with no time left on the clock to close out the first half with a score of 36-23.
At halftime, the crowd of over 5,500, who braved the elements to attend, saluted the ECU Hawaii Bowl champion football team and looked for better things to come from the basketball team in the second half.
The fans weren’t disappointed. At first.
ECU came out with an 8-2 run over the first three minutes to cut the lead to seven.
Coach Kirk Speraw of UCF stated that “We started to stand and it’s pretty hard to run a passing game offense when people aren’t moving.”
ECU continued to battle with the Knights and kept the game close with reserve James Legan sinking four of his six 3-pointers over a seven-minute span, the last of which gave the Pirates their first lead in the game. That got the William’s Arena crowd pumped. Brock Young scored shortly thereafter to extend the Pirate lead to three.
Alas, over the next three minutes, UCF, which shot 94 percent from the line, sank free throws and a couple of key 3-pointers to take back the lead as ECU’s offense stalled.
What basically won the game for ECU Wednesday against Marshall, making 14 straight free throws late in the contest, won the game for UCF Saturday as the Knights shot 14-14 from the line in the second half.
Legan was on fire for ECU, scoring 20 points in 20 minutes of play with two assists and no turnovers for the game. The guard play of Young and Darrell Jenkins was less than stellar as the two combined for only seven points, eight assists and seven turnovers.
Taylor was undoubtedly the star on the court Saturday night, shooting 65 percent from the floor and finishing with 32 points, six rebounds and three assists.
The Pirates will be looking to improve their CUSA record Wednesday as they travel to play the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers.
Lady Pirates top Tulsa
ECU Sports Information
GREENVILLE — Two Lady Pirates scored in double figures to lead East Carolina to a 62-52 victory over Tulsa Sunday afternoon at Minges Coliseum.
Jasmine Young tallied a game-high 23 points, including the final 13 of the game for the Pirates. Allison Spivey added 11 for ECU.
Tulsa (7-11, 3-2) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead before the Lady Pirates (7-11, 1-4) scored six straight to pull within one at the 13:46 mark. A Larrissa Williams basket sparked a 9-2 rally by TU, going up 16-8 with 8:25 remaining.
ECU battled back once again, cutting the Tulsa lead to one, 19-18, on a Gabriela Husarova jumper with just over four minutes to play in the half. LaCoya Terry’s layup with three minutes to play in the half tied the game at 20, but Kara Vaughan’s 3-pointer on the next possession put TU back up 23-20.
Vaughan’s trey sparked an 8-0 run by the Golden Hurricane, going up 28-20 with under a minute remaining in the half. Spivey hit a 3-pointer as time expired to cut Tulsa’s lead to five, 28-23, at the break.
An early 5-0 run by the Golden Hurricane increased Tulsa’s lead to nine, 34-25, at the 18 minute mark. ECU used a full court press to score eight points in 45 seconds, cutting the Tulsa lead down to two, 36-34, with 14:23 on the clock.
A Spivey steal led to a Terry three-point play, giving the Lady Pirates their first lead of the game, 37-36, with 13:51 to play. A pair of Shana Franks free throws gave East Carolina a six point lead, 44-38, with 12:12 remaining.
Four straight free throws by Williams cut the ECU lead down to two, 44-42, but a Young trey put the Lady Pirates back up by five. Young’s jumper at the 2:22 mark gave East Carolina its largest lead of the game at 58-48. Tulsa scored four points late, but it was not enough as the Lady Pirates snapped a five-game losing skid.
Young added five steals and four assists to go with her 23 points. Spivey, who scored in double-figures for the third straight game, added five rebounds, five assists and four steals to go with her 11 points.
Williams led the Golden Hurricane with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lady Pirates host Marshall on Sunday at Minges Coliseum. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. and will be televised locally on WITN-Ch. 7.