Pirates Lose to Cougars on a Forgettable Night on and off the Court
Dylan Johnson / ESPN Greenville
The East Carolina University men’s basketball team was blown out 99-65 by No. 8 Houston Wednesday night in
Minges Coliseum. Houston defeated ECU 94-50 in Houston earlier in the season. ECU’s record falls to 10-17 (3-12 AAC) and Houston improves to 27-1 (14-0 AAC). The actual play on the floor was the least important thing however…. Some takeaways
- The game got out of hand from everyone beginning with 17:56 left in second half. ECU head coach Joe Dooley received a technical foul. Then, point guard Isaac Fleming received a questionable delay of game call. Fleming waved his hand at the referee in disregard and got hit with a technical foul as well. Then, Dooley was talking with one referee and trying to get the attention of the one who gave him the technical when he received a second technical foul from the third referee. Dooley was ejected and left the court while ripping into the refs. At this point, a couple of fans have thrown water bottles on the court. Two fans are taken out of the building by police officers. Houston’s Corey Davis Jr. makes 4-of-6 of the technical free throws. 30 seconds of game clock later, ECU guard Shawn Williams commits a flagrant 2 foul and is also ejected from the game. All in all, ECU was called for nine fouls in the first three minutes of the second half after receiving three in the entire first half.
- Dooley and Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson gave there takes on it after the game. Sampson thought that some ECU players lost composure, but both coaches agreed that the fans who threw the water bottles onto the court were out of line and risked the safety of all around the court.
- Dooley was just a little less than fuming during his postgame remarks. Dooley said he felt he should not have been ejected. Some of his remarks about the situation:
“I thought we got off to a good start and even a decent start to the second half but things went totally haywire. I’ll take partial responsibilities and I think there are some other parties that should take partial responsibilities. Very unhappy our fans had to witness it. First time in 31 years I’ve gotten tossed.”
“I definitely deserved the first technical. I was told by Tony Greene to stand there for a second and then sparky (R.B. Clyburn) got me off the baseline. I’ve never seen him before but he got me off the baseline and I was gone. Obviously, it was volatile. I’ve seen clips of some things, but I’m not really sure what I’ve seen and not seen,” Dooley said after the game.
“I’ll be quite honest, I’m sick of it. We’re not getting sand kicked in our face anymore. We’re going to stand up and play the right way. Referee the right way, play the right way. All parties, we need to play better, they need to ref better.”
As for the game itself, if you haven’t paid any attention to the top-10 Cougars they can really score the basketball. The two times ECU has played Houston this season, the Cougars have shot 64-for-114 from the field and 29-52 from 3-point range. Houston has scored 193 points in the two meetings, outscoring the Pirates by a combined 78 points. Houston dominated the Pirates in every way; 35-7 in points off of turnovers, 15-0 second-chance points, 38-26 points in the paint, 26-13 in assists. Davis Jr. dominated the game individually with 26 points shooting 6-for-11 from 3. He also benefited from getting eight technical free throws, six of which he made. As a team, Houston hasn’t had a game decided by fewer than seven points since its lone loss of the season to Temple on Jan.9. Some of the Pirate individual performances:
Senior Isaac Fleming, perhaps motivated by being down his second-to-last home game ever at ECU, played well when not getting a technical foul. Fleming scored 13 points and dished seven assists and now has scored in double figures in nine of the last 13 games. Unfortunately, Fleming also turned the ball over three times in 34 minutes, matching the amount he had turned it over in his last 76 minutes of play.
Seth LeDay led the team with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the floor and led the team in scoring in both games against Houston this season. Jayden Gardner scored 14 points
and got to the line for seven free throws. Then there’s Williams. Williams had been lighting it up recently with four consecutive games of double-figure scoring including back-to-back games with new season-highs for points. He scored just four points before
being ejected after 22 minutes of play.
The Minges crowd was pretty good at the beginning of the game, especially the student section crowd. That changed with about eight minutes left in the game when almost simultaneously almost the entirety of the students filed out of the building and in a hurry.
ECU now has three games remaining on the season and is trying to finish strong. LeDay and Gardner said Dooley told the players in the locker room to try and take the positives out of this and finish the season on a strong note. The first opportunity to do so is Sunday when the Pirates play at Tulsa at 4 p.m. Tulsa defeated ECU 77-73 in overtime in Greenville on Feb. 17. Tulsa was led by Martins Igbanu’s 16 points, and Williams led ECU with 26 points