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Pirates await No. 5 Shockers


East Carolina interim head coach Michael Perry yells during a game against Central Florida on Dec. 31, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Kentrell Barkley said on Wednesday he had not given much thought to Wichita State’s No. 5 national ranking as the Shockers come to town to take on the East Carolina basketball team on Thursday night at 9.

Perhaps the junior guard/forward was being serious about not spending much time pondering the fact that a 13-2 national powerhouse is headed right for the 7-8 Pirates. But interim ECU head coach Michael Perry said that is not surprising when it comes to Barkley.

“He never does,” Perry said at the team’s final practice before taking on the American Athletic Conference’s newest member for the first time in Minges Coliseum. “One thing you have to appreciate about Kentrell Barkley is that it doesn’t matter if the Los Angeles Lakers or the Cleveland Cavaliers are coming in here, Kentrell Barkley’s gonna bring it. I’d like to have all our guys feel that way.”

Barkley, third on the team in scoring with a 12.4 points per game average behind senior B.J. Tyson (15.7) and junior Isaac Fleming (12.9), wasn’t exactly doubting how good the Shockers are either. Wichita’s lone losses are to Notre Dame and now-ninth ranked Oklahoma, and its wins include Oklahoma State and Baylor (No. 16 at the time).

“I know we’re playing Wichita State, and we watched them on film and they’re good at all spots,” said Barkley, adding that Wichita plays with a lot of movement, a lot of screens and a lot of 3-pointers.

The biggest crowd of the year to date is expected and that fact is not lost on the Pirates, especially freshman Dimitri Spasojevic, who said he previously played in front of 10,000 people in Greece in a European championship game.

“I’m excited to see people here, to see a full gym,” said Spasojevic, who pitches in 7.0 points from his forward position along with 7.9 from freshman guard Shawn Williams. “(Teammates) tell me they go crazy in there when we have a lot of people.”

That crowd could be vital in keeping the Pirates in the hunt against coach Gregg Marshall and the Shockers, who boast a true weapon in Landry Shamet, who scores at a 16.1 average thanks to hammering down 39 3-pointers. Behind him, Shaquille Morris (12.2 ppg.), Conner Frankamp (11.8, 29 3s) and Darral Willis Jr. (11.3) are worthy complements.

“On any given night, somebody (different) can lead them in scoring, from one through 10,” Perry said. “They don’t go into a game needing one particular guy to carry the load offensively. It’s fun to watch, but not a very good thing to be preparing for.

“Obviously, when you have the No. 5 team in the country, that says a lot in and of itself. Tremendous talent, well coached and they play extremely hard. One of the best teams to come into our arena since I’ve been around.”

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


October 20, 2018 - 1 minute ago

A wet ball proved to be the first major stumbling block in the first-career start by East Carolina freshman quarterback Holton Ahlers in a 37-10 loss to Central Florida on Saturday night.

After marching his trailing Pirates to the UCF goal line early in the fourth quarter, Ahlers tried a jump pass…


October 20, 2018 - 12 minutes ago

As the final seconds ticked off the clock at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday night, two numbers still resonated with the matchup between 10th-ranked Central Florida and upset-minded East Carolina.

One. Twenty.

Freshman quarterback and Greenville native Holton Ahlers was making his first start and…

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October 20, 2018

These three questions appeared in The Daily Reflector’s Pirate Gameday section previewing East Carolina’s home football game against 10th-ranked Central Florida. 

Check back after the primetime matchup for answers to the questions and more insight from the game.

1. Who wins the…


October 20, 2018

Before Holton Ahlers signed on Dec. 20, 2017, to play football at East Carolina, he was a star quarterback at D.H. Conley High School. Before that, a baseball slugger unlike anyone else who had ever played on Greenville recreational fields.

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October 20, 2018

New starting quarterback Holton Ahlers and East Carolina welcome undefeated Central Florida to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium tonight for a primetime matchup on ESPN2 that many people around the country will at least check in on to see if UCF could get upended.

There is no denying that a win by the Pirates,…


October 20, 2018

Q: Why did you want to major in criminal justice?

A: I’ve always liked (TV) shows like “Criminal Minds” and “CSI: Miami” and “Law & Order.” I just decided I wanted to be something in that field, like a DEA (Drug Enforcement…


October 19, 2018

While the American Athletic Conference East division remains a three-team race, Houston is in the driver’s seat as the only remaining unbeaten team in the West.

Houston, which just defeated East Carolina 42-20 and has won its first two league games by an average 18.5 points, moved to No. 2 in…


October 19, 2018

Central Florida’s 19-game football winning streak saw its closest contest yet last Saturday at Memphis.

The 10th-ranked Knights recovered from a slow start and rallied to win, 31-30, for a 6-0 record this season.

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October 18, 2018

Less than three weeks away from starting a new season on Nov. 6, the East Carolina women’s basketball team had a major change in leadership Wednesday when head coach Heather Macy resigned at the conclusion of an ECU internal review into the program.

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October 18, 2018

A look at individual defensive statistics with the halfway point of the college football season already passed shows that what East Carolina’s Nate Harvey is doing is not a fluke.

In his first season playing defensive line, the former Pirate running back and linebacker leads the nation with…

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