Young, Morrow lead ECU over Mustangs

Published 12:03 am Sunday, January 25, 2009

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Battling against a big SMU team, East Carolina’s shortest player stood the tallest as sophomore point guard Brock Young racked up 16 points, dished out 11 assists and recorded zero turnovers to push the Pirates past the Mustangs 80-74 on Saturday at Moody Coliseum.
The win snaps a three game losing streak by ECU, and improves its record to 10-8 (2-3).
Young, the nation’s leader in assists, was dishing and swishing all night and, in a game that featured several lead changes, put the Pirates up for good when he buried a three-pointer with 7:14 left in the second half to take a 67-66 lead.
Young’s three came at the tail end of a pivotal 9-0 by East Carolina, which trailed 62-55 only a few minutes earlier.
Looking to challenge an SMU (6-11, 1-4) roster that features 7-1 senior center Bamba Fall and 6-9 forward Mouhammed Faye, Pirates’ coach Mack McCarthy started 6-9 freshman Darrius Morrow.
The decision to start the baby big man paid off big dividends as Morrow scored a career-high 21 points while pulling down seven rebounds.
Fall, along with freshman point guard Paul McCoy paced the Mustangs with 16 points each, while Derek Williams added 14.
Morrow was a factor all night long, battling on the boards and scoring in the paint, and seemed to deliver a bucket whenever the Pirates needed one down low.
The freshman power forward also helped ECU win the rebounding war, as ECU out-board the much taller SMU 32-27.
While ECU’s young stars where shining, it was senior Sam Hinnant that sealed the deal. With 1:10 on the clock, the crafty vet scored on a pull-up jumper from the free throw line to hand ECU a 76-72 lead.
Hinnant finished the game with 12 points.
On the next possession, Hinnant drew a charging foul which translated into two Young free throws and the Pirates second Conference USA win of the season.
Hinnant’s head’s up defensive play was the highlight of a mediocre defensive performance by East Carolina.
After taking a 30-25 on back-to-back three’s by Hinnant and fellow senior James Legan in the first half, the Pirates allowed the Mustangs to gallop back in the game when Faye nailed a trey of his own to cut ECU’s lead to 39-38 at the break.
SMU came out of fire to start the second half, as Fall, Derek Williams and freshman Paul McCoy seemingly scored at will.
The Mustangs put some distance between themselves and the Pirates when Williams hit his second three of the half to go up 59-53, which was the largest lead for either team at that point in the game.
The Pirates desperately needed a win Saturday night, and hope their momentum will carry over to Wednesday when they host No. 24 Memphis.
Morrow 7-10 7-9 21, Wynn 0-3 0-0 0, Legan 5-7 0-0 14, Hinnant 4-11 2-2 12, Young 5-10 4-4 16, Turner 1-7 1-2 3, Abrams 6-9 0-0 14, Sherrod 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-59 14-17 80.
SMU (6-11)
Faye 2-10 3-4 9, Nyakundi 4-9 2-2 11, Fall 6-7 4-4 16, Williams 4-6 4-4 14, McCoy 6-11 3-4 16, Haynes 0-2 0-1 0, Otis 1-1 1-2 3, Walker 1-1 0-0 3, Harp 0-0 0-0 0, Dia 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 25-50 17-21 74.
Halftime—East Carolina 39-38. 3-Point Goals—East Carolina 10-20 (Legan 4-6, Abrams 2-3, Young 2-4, Hinnant 2-6, Turner 0-1), SMU 7-17 (Williams 2-3, Faye 2-5, Walker 1-1, McCoy 1-2, Nyakundi 1-6). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—East Carolina 32 (Abrams, Morrow 7), SMU 27 (McCoy 7). Assists—East Carolina 16 (Young 11), SMU 14 (McCoy, Williams 4). Total Fouls—East Carolina 16, SMU 19. A—3,461.