Pirates hoping to reach Seventh Heaven

Published 5:24 pm Friday, January 27, 2012

GREENVILLE — Will seven be the lucky number? That’s what the East Carolina basketball team is hoping as it heads into its seventh Conference USA game of the year still searching for its first league win.
The Pirates (9-10, 0-6) fell 72-60 to a quality Southern Miss team on Wednesday at home and will hit the road tonight to battle UAB (7-12, 2-4).
It’s been a streaky season for East Carolina as it pieced together a five-game win streak heading into C-USA play where it has lost the last six contests.
“We’re going to find a way to win,” East Carolina center Darrius Morrow said after the loss to the Golden Eagles. “It’s just a matter of time before we can find the right pieces to put together to string out a victory.”
The Pirates’ Achilles’ heel so far this year has been its lack of rebounding and inconstant shooting from three-point range.
East Carolina enters tonight’s matchup with the worst rebounding margin against fellow Conference USA teams at -13 rebounds per game.
On the offensive glass the Pirates rank 11th out of the 12 teams in the league in offensive rebounding and are last in defensive rebounding.
“We’re limited on bodies down low,” ECU point guard Miguel Paul said Wednesday. “Teams are big in this conference and we have to find a way to rat out those rebounds. That’s what’s really killing us right now. We’re playing good defense, it’s just that when the ball is in the air we need to get a little bit tougher.”
Pirates’ second-year coach Jeff Lebo said that his team must remain mentally tough and fight through its woes.
“The only way you know how is to keep working, just keep working,” Lebo said. “Keep trying to be positive with them and just keep working. Keep doing things that you believe in. That’s the only way to do it. There’s no secret dust you can sprinkle on them.”
The Blazers are coming off of a 56-49 victory over Marshall on Wednesday and are led by 6-10 senior forward Cameron Moore who is C-USA’s fourth-leading scoring with 15.8 points per game and third-leading rebounder with 10.5 boards per night
Paul leads the Pirates in scoring and assists as he tallying a conference second-best 16.5 points per contest to go along with his C-USA-leading 5.4 assists per game.