ECU blows by Bears|Straughn, Young lead the Pirates

Published 7:41 am Thursday, November 25, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — Leading up to East Carolina’s tip-off against Lenoir-Rhyne Pirates coach Jeff Lebo emphasized his team’s need to improve on its three-point shooting. On Wednesday, ECU responded by nailing 47 percent of its shots from behind the arc as the team’s 11 threes helped the Pirates route the Bears 71-48.
Sophomore forward Erin Straughn led East Carolina with a game-high 14 points and added four assists, while senior point guard Brock Young tallied 11 points and three assists while making three of his four attempts from downtown to up ECU’s record to 4-2.
Young, who is recovering from meniscus surgery during the preseason, had a solid outing but still looked far from being 100 percent as he seemed to shy away from his normal attacking-the-basket style against the Bears.
“I’m still nervous about my leg,” said Young, whose 21 minutes of play was the second-highest amount this season. “So I don’t really want to risk anything.”
Playing a more reserved style, Young did a nice job sitting up top and facilitating the offense as he played for the first time all year without a knee brace.
“It feels pretty good but it’s a little tired right now,” Young said of his knee. “A little ice and a little rest will heal that up. … The brace was to keep it warm, but it stopped swelling so that’s a good sign.”
Another good sign was that the Pirates were able to do what was expected of them and handily beat a Div. II Lenoir-Rhyne (1-3) team that was playing without its star F/C D.J. Blackmon who recently tore his an ACL.
East Carolina, who had 11 of its 12 players enter the scoring column, created separation midway through the first half when it ripped off a 16-3 run that expanded its lead from 17-13 to 33-16 with under two minute left before halftime. The Pirates would go into the break up 36-18.
“The best thing about that (game) was that we won,” Lebo said. “I thought defensively we were pretty solid. (The Bears) were playing without their best player and their leading scorer. They struggled trying to find somebody else to step up and make some plays. Defensively, when you hold someone to 33 percent you feel pretty good.”
Lebo did not feel as good about his team’s post play. The Pirates struggled mightily to get the ball inside as the ECU bigs failed to constantly establish position against smaller opponents and the guards did poor job with their entry passes.
“We didn’t get the ball inside like I like, and when we did nothing really positive happened,” Lebo said. “We got turnovers, fouls and we didn’t finish in there. I thought we would have a big advantage getting the ball inside.”
Pirates forward Darrius Morrow looked a step slow all game on both ends of the court and finished with four points and one rebound in 17 minutes against Lenoir-Rhyne.
After the game Lebo said that the 6-8, 255-pound forward needs to get in better shape.
“No, (he’s not in the condition we want him to be in), he’s really struggled to date in my opinion,” Lebo said. “He looks a little heavy, he looks out of shape, he’s had trouble finishing in all the other games, and even in this game against post guys that he should dominate in my opinion. That’s a very big concern of us and our staff here.”
While Lebo was critical of Morrow, he praised the effort of forward Darius Morales, who came off the bench and added a spark by tallying a game-high three blocked shots.
The Pirate will be back in action on Saturday when they host UNC-Greensboro at 5 p.m.