The East Carolina men’s basketball team has lost five of its last seven games since junior guard B.J. Tyson injured his leg earlier in the season against Houston. With the leading scorer out, the team has had to look elsewhere for production.
Jan. 11, during a home game against Houston, Tyson was playing his usual game. He went up for an alley-oop during the second half and when he landed from his jump he lay on the ground, clutching his leg. He hobbled over to half court where he eventually fell over and then was helped off the court by the training staff.
Before his injury Tyson was averaging 11.9 points, the highest on the team, 2.4 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. He was an important player for ECU and is missed by the team dearly.
“There’s a lot of adversity basketball throws at you, like losing a leading scorer,” said acting head coach Michael Perry.
Stepping up to help with the scoring in Tyson’s absence has been sophomore guard Kentrell Barkley. Barkley currently averages 11.8 points per game.
Tyson has been seen on the sidelines during practice, working his leg out on the exercise bike and gingerly walking around, taking some shots. He feels pretty good for a comeback, he said. In the previous game against Tulane, Tyson was with his teammates before the game taking shots and talking with the other players, but still not dressed for the game.
“I’m feeling OK,” said Tyson while riding the exercise bike. “I feel my recovery is going quicker than what they expected.”
There hasn’t been a set time or date when Tyson’s return is expected. It’s been more than three weeks since Tyson has suffered the injury to his leg.
“We have been hearing a couple of weeks,” said Perry after the Tulane game Saturday. “He (Tyson) has said that he could play tomorrow. We have been updated by that trainers, but things are uncertain. We would love to have him back.”
Having Tyson back will be crucial for the Pirates to make a push to grab a winning record with seven games left in the regular season. The record stands at 11-13 and 3-8 in the American Athletic Conference. Many of the games left aren’t against the strongest teams and having Tyson back can be motivating to help ECU grab a few wins. Having his scoring presence will help grab the wins as well.
Without Tyson the Pirates only have two players who currently average in double figures. The disruption of the team chemistry has affected players like senior forward Caleb White, whose scoring average has dropped since Tyson’s injury. White, who was the team’s second leading scorer, now averages less than Barkley with 10.8 points per game.