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BYH: To the ECU Leaders. Alcohol Beverages at a football game. You are asking for trouble. Drunks at the game already...

ECU begins league slate at SMU

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East Carolina's Jayden Gardner, left, shoots against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 2.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

East Carolina’s first American Athletic Conference basketball matchup of the season will come in a game featuring two of the league’s top three scorers.

ECU freshman Jayden Gardner, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound forward from Wake Forest, is second in the AAC at 19.0 points per game. The Pirates (7-5) closed their nonconference schedule last Friday with a 77-57 home win versus North Carolina A&T and Gardner totaled 27 points and 13 rebounds, giving him five double-doubles already in this campaign.

Leading SMU (8-4), which hosts the Pirates tonight at 8 (EST) in Moody Coliseum and the game is available to stream on ESPN3, is senior guard Jahmal McMurray and his 18.7 scoring average that ranks third in the AAC. Wichita State big man Markis McDuffie is first in the league at 19.5 ppg.

Beginning conference play also serves as ECU’s start to returning to a more regulated schedule and break between games. The Pirates played only three times in December, going 2-1 in beating Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 2, losing at Charlotte on Dec. 18 and then handling N.C. A&T soundly on Dec. 28.

“I think we put some new stuff in (during December), but I think we actually got better at some of the stuff that we already had in,” Pirate first-year coach Joe Dooley said of the Pirate offense. “With this team being young, we are going to need to keep things pretty simple. To give this team confidence, we just need to maybe do it more and continue to get better at some simple things.”

ECU’s lone home game during its opening four-game AAC slate is Saturday afternoon versus Cincinnati.

Shawn Williams is averaging 14.3 points per game and has made 21 of his 56 3-point attempts.

The Pirates are 4-14 all-time against the Mustangs, the last victory coming in 2012 in Dallas. SMU has won nine straight in the series since then.

This SMU team is 6-1 in its last seven outings. That stretch included beating Wright State by one point, winning at Georgetown and most recently recording an 81-53 rout of Cornell on Dec. 22.

SMU played four games in December, going 3-1 with a loss to TCU.

McMurray scored 14 points versus Cornell and it was fellow guard Jimmy Whitt Jr. who led the way with 22 points. He was 10-for-15 on field goals and added six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

ECU and SMU played twice last season and the Mustangs won both matchups by an average margin of 22 points.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

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

ECU

March 20, 2019

A couple of things often overlooked during a baseball no-hitter or perfect game can be: What happens with the ball after the final out and also the catcher’s role in the rare feat.

East Carolina’s Jake Kuchmaner, who threw a perfect game Sunday at Maryland in retiring all 27 Terrapins…

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March 18, 2019

A major change in leadership at East Carolina University is coming and athletics director Jon Gilbert said Monday that he remains steadfast in his priorities and plan to push the Pirates forward.

Gilbert admitted that Monday morning’s announcement of Chancellor Cecil Staton’s…

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March 18, 2019

East Carolina’s football team putting on shoulder pads for Monday morning’s workouts led to the first installment of full-contact drills.

Keeping with an early spring practice theme, first-year head coach Mike Houston left the practice encouraged with the effort by players yet aware…

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March 18, 2019

UCLA is the new No. 1 team in college baseball, according to rankings both by Baseball America and D1baseball.com, and East Carolina’s best ranking is still No. 14 by Baseball America.

The Pirates will play a three-game series at UCLA (14-4) on April 12-13. 

ECU, which went 3-1 last week…

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March 18, 2019

Mike Houston is ready for 8:45 this morning.

The first-year East Carolina football coach was ready for it last week, bringing it up one day before the Pirates even began their first spring practice workout on Friday.

“We’ll start finding it out at about 8:45 on Monday morning, because…

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March 17, 2019

Jake Kuchmaner was one strike away from the 11th no-hitter in East Carolina baseball history on March 6 when he stifled Southeastern Conference powerhouse Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.

He didn’t complete the no-hitter.

On Sunday, he fired the first perfect game in Pirate history.

The left-handed…

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March 16, 2019

East Carolina’s pitching and defense stifled Maryland’s offense for the second straight day, clinching the series at Maryland for the baseball Pirates.

Tyler Smith and Alec Burleson led No. 14 ECU to a 2-1 victory on Saturday, backing up Friday night’s 9-0 decision. The Game 2 win…

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March 16, 2019

East Carolina foot­ball’s attempt for Nate Har­vey to gain an ex­tra year of el­i­gi­bil­ity for this sea­son was de­nied by the NCAA, first-year coach Mike Hous­ton and the Pi­rates an­nounced Satur­day.

Har­vey was seek­ing a…

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March 15, 2019

The process of catching up to first-year East Carolina football coach Mike Houston’s desired speed picked up in intensity Friday morning when the Pirates conducted their first spring practice.

Houston said it was a solid and productive practice, yet he noticed ECU’s team has some bad…

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March 15, 2019

Jake Agnos and East Carolina baseball began their weekend series at Maryland in dominating fashion with a 9-0 victory on Friday night.

Agnos (3-1) pitched seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, no walks, two hit batsmen and six hits allowed for his second straight superb outing on a…

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