ECU Opens C-USA Tournament Against Houston
March 9, 2010
TULSA, Okla. --- The East Carolina men's basketball team earned the No. 10 seed at the 2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship, March 10-13, at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. The Pirates finished the regular season with a conference record of 4-12.
ECU will face seventh-seeded Houston on Wednesday, March 10, at 1 p.m. EST/12 p.m. CST in the opening game of the tournament. The Pirates lost to the Cougars at home, 74-55, on Jan. 16 in their only meeting of the season.
The two have met in the C-USA Championship Tournament once previously with the Cougars knocking the Pirates out in the first round of the 2002 championship.
ECU coach Mack McCarthy will coach the Pirates through this week's tournament after he announced Saturday that he will relinquish his coaching duties at the end of the season. McCarthy will become a fundraiser at ECU, helping the program get an on-campus basketball practice facility.
"When you're a coach, you don't ever really want to stop coaching," said McCarthy, who has posted a 34-56 record during his time as head coach of the Pirates. "But it seems like the right time to hand this off and contribute in another way. Coach (Terry) Holland and I have talked some about what we could do to build on the momentum that we've started and this is what we've decided on."
Houston ranks second in the league in scoring offense (78.7 ppg), but last in scoring defense (75.0 ppg). The Cougars are the only team in the conference to allow more points per game than the Pirates (74.3 ppg). The Cougars also lead C-USA in steals (9.9) and turnover margin (+8.1).
Houston is led by the nation's leading-scorer Aubrey Coleman (26.0 ppg). Not only does he lead the league in scoring he also leads it in steals (2.7 pg) and minutes
played (36.9 pg).
The Pirates are paced by the conference's leading assist distributor, Brock Young. Young is averaging 5.5 assists per game to go along with 15.3 points. Sophomore Darrius Morrow ranks second on the team in scoring (12.3 ppg) and leads the conference in field goal percentage (.569).
Since winning the first game of the series, the Pirates have lost seven of the last eight games to the Cougars and trail in the all-time series, 2-7.