ECU hoops looks to rebound against Mustangs
Published 11:53 pm Saturday, January 24, 2009
By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
After an 85-67 loss to Houston on Wednesday, the Pirates third loss in a row, East Carolina will look to bounce back tonight against another Texas team when it travels to SMU to play the Mustangs today at 5 p.m.
Once again there was some good and bad aspects in ECU’s loss to the Cougars. On the positive side, the Pirates got down early, but gave a solid effort and out-scored Houston 36-34 in the second half.
Sam Hinnant busted out of his slump with a 22-point performance, while Brock Young dished out 12 assists.
On the flip side, Pirates’ center Chad Wynn continues to get into foul trouble. On Wednesday, Wynn and fellow big man Darrius Morrow felt the wrath of the whistle, and were forced to ride the pine for long stretches of the game.
East Carolina, which sits in 10th place in Conference USA with a 9-8 (1-3) record, only has two players that pose any kind of threat in the paint, and when Morrow and Wynn both get in foul trouble it spells doom for ECU.
The Pirates will also be without freshman swingman Chris Turner, who was suspended for academic reasons.
The play of Wynn and Morrow will be a big factor tonight, as the Mustangs posses a tremendous frontcourt which is spearheaded by 7-1 senior center Bamba Fall.
Fall leads Conference USA in blocked shots with 2.75 a night, while pulling down 7.6 boards a night, which is fifth best (just above ECU’s Morrow).
Former Tar Heel player and skipper, and current SMU head coach Matt Doherty, has juggled his lineup a bit this year, but could potentially start three players 6-9 or bigger.
Sophomore power forward Papa Dia has started seven games and plays significant minutes for the Mustangs, while fellow 6-9 Georgia Tech transfer Mouhammed Faye has started seven of the nine games he played this season.
Doherty’s subs stand just as tall. Tomasz Kiawatkozki is a 7-1 sophomore, Cort Hodge is a 6-10 freshman, while Alex Malone and Robert Nyakundi are both listed as 6-8.
The Mustangs’ scoring comes from their backcourt, where freshman Paul McCoy’s 13.2 points per game is a team best. Fellow guard Derek Williams is right behind him with 12 a night.
While the Mustangs are big, their 6-8 (1-3) record is proof that size doesn’t matter, and if ECU can keep out of foul trouble, it has a good chance of picking up its second C-USA win of the season.