By Tony Castleberry
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
A 3-pointer at the final buzzer beat East Carolina on Saturday, but visiting Texas-El Paso was in a position to win because of the damage it did inside late in the game.
McKenzie Moore’s long 3 was the decisive bucket in UTEP’s 68-67 victory over the Pirates in Minges Coliseum, but the Miners owned the paint in the final 10 minutes. Five of their last seven field goals were either dunks or tip-ins and part of the reason for UTEP’s easy buckets was ECU’s depleted interior presence.
Forwards Ty Armstrong and Marshall Guilmette each fouled out in the final 4:09 and leading rebounder Robert Sampson, arguably the team’s best post defender, left the game after injuring his left knee with 9:01 left in the second half.
“That’s where they scored the ball,” Pirate coach Jeff Lebo said of the Miners, who got 52 points and 23 rebounds combined from 6-foot-10 center John Bohannon, 6-6 Moore and 6-7 forward Julian Washburn. “Bohannon’s been a handful for us to defend. We’ve had hard times trying to guard him. He’s hurt us in about every game we’ve played and he hurt us in this one with 23 points.”
Miners coach Tim Floyd said his game plan was to go inside early and often in the hopes of getting ECU’s big men in foul trouble.
“We were trying to run everything through the post,” Floyd said. “(Drawing fouls on the Pirates) has got to happen some if you keep throwing it in there. … (ECU) probably picked up a couple (of fouls) they wouldn’t have liked to have picked up.”
Pirate senior guard Shamarr Bowden will miss Wednesday’s home game against Memphis after being suspended by Lebo following Bowden’s ejection from the UTEP game.
According to a release from East Carolina, C-USA has accepted Lebo’s decision as an appropriate penalty for the incident.
Bowden was assessed with a flagrant foul and ejected at the 12:30 mark of the second half after throwing punches at Miner guard Konner Tucker.
“I’m very disappointed in Shamarr’s actions Saturday night,” Lebo said. “There is no place for that in our sport and we don’t tolerate it in our program.
“His behavior was very uncharacteristic, but unfortunately he let his emotions get the best of him. Shamarr is very remorseful about his conduct and understands the consequences. I know he’ll use this as a constructive learning experience to become a better player and better man.”
Bowden added: “I apologize to Konner [Tucker] for my actions Saturday night. I also apologize to the Miners, my coaches, my teammates, fellow students and the fans. I’m deeply sorry for losing my composure and not controlling my emotions. In the future I will continue to compete hard and display better sportsmanship toward everyone.”
Winning on a buzzer-beating shot launched from just a few steps across the half-court stripe no doubt involves some skill, but a little luck doesn’t hurt either. Floyd admitted as much, but described the aftermath in somewhat uncomfortable terms.
“Anytime you make (a shot) like that you just feel like you’ve got a horseshoe up your tail,” the UTEP coach said. “We threw one in. … Our young team needed something like that.”
Odds and ends
An ECU official said Monday the team is still waiting on Sampson’s MRI…The Pirates went 20-of-21 from the free throw line against the Miners, their best mark of the season and their highest percentage since going 14-of-14 at the charity stripe at home against Marshall on Feb. 18, 2006…Contrary to what was reported in Sunday’s story, no player interviews were requested following the UTEP game.
Contact Tony Castleberry at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9591 or follow @tcastleberrygdr on Twitter.
via The Daily Reflector.