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BYH, there are 3 types of people in this world, those who count their blessings and those who are bad with math....

Pirates in late game vs. Wichita State

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East Carolina's Jayden Gardner was named to the American Athletic Conference all-freshman team, but the freshman of the year award went to Alexis Yetna from South Florida.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The American Athletic Conference announced its basketball season awards Wednesday and the league tournament begins Thursday in Memphis, Tenn.

East Carolina’s Jayden Gardner was in the running for freshman of the year, but it went to South Florida’s Alexis Yetna, and the No. 11 seed Pirates (10-20) will tip off against six-seed Wichita State at approximately 10:30 p.m. at the FedEx Forum. Like in past years, ECU will have to pull upset victories to create some type of postseason run.

“The biggest thing about it is making sure our guys continue to compete, which they will,” Pirate coach Joe Dooley, who is near the end of a frustrating first season in his second stint leading ECU, said on Tuesday in Greenville. “Everybody is in the same boat, even though the top four seeds are obviously in a little bit different situation as they are playing for NCAA seeds. It comes down to one mistake and you are eliminated.”

Cincinnati’s Jarron Cumberland earned AAC player of the year. Coach of the year went to Houston’s Kelvin Sampson. Connecticut big man Josh Carlton, who began his prep career at South Central High School, was named most improved player.

The Pirates have three seniors, led by guard Isaac Fleming and his streak of six straight games scoring at least 13 points. All of the seniors — Fleming joined by Addison Hill and Justice Obasohan — had positive moments Sunday when ECU hosted UConn and lost 82-73.

Gardner, Hill and other Pirate forwards will have difficult assignments against the size and talent of Wichita (17-13), which has a 9-2 record in its last 11 games.

“I think I accomplished everything I thought I could accomplish this year, beside the ‘Ws’ part,” said Gardner, who averaged 16.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game during the regular season. “Now I know what to expect from this league and what I need to do to get better. We just have to start translating all of that stuff to actual wins for the team.”

Wichita State is like Memphis and other middle-of-the pack AAC teams in that the Shockers need to win this week’s tourney to make the NCAA tournament field. Wichita, which is already 2-0 against the Pirates this season, has been to the NCAAs seven straight years.

“This will be our first time in a long time that we are playing for an NCAA tournament bid,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said on the league’s teleconference. “Most of the those seven years, we were solidly in. ... This is new territory for us and kind of expected with how we started the season and our roster.

“We’ll go now and just try to do the best we can in this tournament and win as many games as we can. If we can get to Sunday then we’ll play our butts off and try to make it eight straight, but if not, then we’ll probably end up in one of the other tournaments.”

The host Tigers are the No. 5 seed. The ECU-Wichita State winner will face No. 3 Temple on Friday night. Houston (29-2) comes into the tourney as the favorite and ranked 11th nationally.

Marshall noted ECU’s upset potential with the Pirates’ 73-71 win over second-place Cincinnati on Jan. 5. ECU’s other two league wins came against Tulane.

“Joe Dooley is just trying to rebuild that program,” Marshall said. “I’m sure they will be a lot better next year and they beat Cincinnati, so they are obviously very talented on a given night.”

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 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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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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March 15, 2019

East Carolina basketball’s 73-57 loss to Wichita State in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament in Memphis, Tenn., late Thursday night put an end to the Pirates’ second straight 10-win season.

There was no upset tourney run for the undersized and outmanned…

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March 15, 2019

Wednesday evening at South Central was business as usual for the Falcons’ basketball team. The squad ran drills and practiced ahead of Saturday’s 4-A state championship matchup with West Charlotte.

Working with his team was multi-sport star Jeremy Lewis, who will play in his final high…

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March 15, 2019

After a midweek loss to an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in Duke, East Carolina’s baseball team now travels to a weekend series against a former ACC squad.

Big 10 member Maryland (10-5) welcomes in No. 14 ECU (12-6), beginning a stretch of the Pirates playing four out of five weekend…

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March 14, 2019

Mike Houston was surrounded by new paint schemes and quotes and slogans as he maneuvered around the Ward Building on Thursday morning.

Being in the main football team meeting room got the former winning James Madison coach and first-year Pirate head man in a reminiscent mode, because it brought him…

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