Pirates try to sidestep the Herd|Young looks to break ECU’s all-time assist mark

Published 3:37 pm Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sports Writer

GREENVILLE — The Pirates put up a strong showing against UAB in their first Conference USA game of the season in their falling 78-68 on the road Wednesday.
Foul trouble by the East Carolina big men removed any possibility of an upset as center Chad Wynn and power forward Darrius Morrow both fouled out in the second half. The absence of post players allowed the C-USA leading Blazers (13-2, 1-0) to go wild in the paint and earn a commanding 15-2 advantage in offensive rebounds.
The Pirates’ conference schedule doesn’t get any easier as they will host Marshall, who stands in second place in Conference USA with a 12-2 (1-0) record, tonight at 7 p.m.
The Thundering Herd topped Southern Miss in its conference opener 76-63, and its only two losses of the season came at the hands of UNC and Old Dominion.
Marshall is led by 6-8 senior forward Tyler Wilkerson, who is averaging a team-high 13 points per game and seven rebounds. Wilkerson doesn’t necessarily overwhelm players in the post, but is a good tough player who can be a real thorn in the side.
Joining Wilkerson in the paint is seven-foot freshman Hassan Whiteside. The rookie has got off to a fast start and is second on the team in scoring with 12 points a night, and is Marshall’s leading rebounder with 9.3 boards per game.
Shaquille Johnson, a 6-3 sophomore guard, is the only other player with a double-digit scoring averaging, posting 11 points per game. Damier Pitts, a sophomore point guard, is the Herd’s leading assist man and has handed out 59 helpers.
The Pirates will look to earn their first conference win of the year with the same starting lineup that they have used in the first 14 games, which consists of PG Brock Young, SG Jontae Sherrod, SF Jamar Abrams, PF Morrow, and C Wynn.
Young leads the team in scoring with 15.8 points per game while dishing out a conference-leading 98 assists. Young is only seven shy of the school’s all-time assist mark of 413 held by Travis Holcombe-Frye. There is a good chance Young could get that record tonight in front of the home crowd.
Morrow is the team’s second leading scorer with 12 points per game, while pulling down a team-high 6.7 boards a night.