ARTICLE OF THE DAY

A Moral Victory
by Brian North
1/4/06

An East Carolina men's basketball team has never gone on the road and beaten a top 25 ranked team. The Pirates almost pulled off the feat Tuesday night in Winston-Salem before they fell to Wake Forest 58-54. The Pirates had the lead with just over three minutes left in the game, but couldn't muster another field goal the rest of the way.

Coaches hate to talk about moral victories, but this game was full of them. Ricky Stokes' team continues to play well since the addition of Jeremy Ingram, and the narrow loss at Lawrence Joel Coliseum proved how far this team has come. I am sure they are disappointed by the loss, but to come that close to knocking off a perennial power has to do wonders for the confidence of the Pirates. They were at a disadvantage inside against the taller Deacons and out rebounded by 15, but still had a chance to win the game. The Pirates forced 21 turnovers (that included 13 steals) and showed great tenacity from start to finish.

It also had to be a special night for Ingram. The Kinston native transferred to ECU from Wake Forest, but in his return to Winston-Salem, he showed his old team what they are missing. Ingram scored 10 points on four of 11 shooting, but he showed explosiveness and quickness that caused the Dec's fits. I am sure Ingram was pumped up to face his old team, and his competitive spirit wanted to show Skip Prosser that he should have played more in his year-plus with Wake. Consider his point proved.

Now the Pirates must carry this confidence into Conference USA play, because that is the real season. If ECU wants to make it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993, they will have to have a great showing in C-USA. There are no moral victories once Conference play starts.

Brian North
bnorth@wcti12.com