Losing to UCF left a bitter taste in the mouth of every East Carolina fan and player.
After a back and forth game that East Carolina mostly controlled, the Pirates simply could not finish.
Whether it was referees, mistakes, or the benching of Kentrell Barkley, the team could not overcome these obstacles.
Barkley, who sat the first six minutes of the last game against Tulsa for disciplinary reasons, once again sat on the sideline as the game proceeded. Coach Perry sat Barkley for 25 minutes in the game against UCF, but he proved to be a difference maker once he entered.
One thing to take away from this game is that the Pirates are relentless. They did not lack passion or effort. Towards the end of the game, a lot of mistakes and questionable calls where made, but the most pivotal moment was the turnover by freshman guard Jeremy Shepard, which led to the Knights scoring the go-ahead basket.
In terms of NCAA college basketball rules, only the player on the court is allowed to call for a timeout during the game. In the last two minutes Shepard's teammates and coaches were calling for a timeout, and Shepard did what any freshman guard would do.... he listened.
When Shepard heard that there was or should be a timeout called, he then started to give the ball to the referee. Knowing the technicalities, UCF took advantage of the mistake and scored.
Despite the below average play from veteran Caleb White, and shortened minutes from B.J. Tyson and Kentrell Barkley, the Pirates were still able to contend. Andre Washington, Michel Nzege and Jeremy Shepard all did their part as well.
The Pirates must shake off this tough loss and begin to prepare for another conference game at Tulane this on Tuesday.