Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the news and information section for East Carolina University men's and women's sports.
Tristen Newton hit a 3-pointer from the left corner in the closing seconds and East Carolina knocked off SMU 71-68 on Saturday.
Tyson Jolley made two free throws to tie the game with 12 seconds left. Following a timeout, Tremont Robinson-White
dribbled the length of the court and as he was challenged at the basket he found Newton for the game winner.
Jolley's runner from just inside half court bounced off the front of the rim as time expired.
scored 20 points for ECU (8-8, 2-1 American Athletic Conference), which earned its sixth straight home victory. Newton, Robinson-White and Tyrie Jackson
each finished with 11 points.
Gardner had 14 points in the second half and East Carolina made 7 of 17 3-pointers and shot percent.
Robinson-White scored with 1:50 to play to make it a 3-point game. He then came up with a steal and was fouled. He made the first free throw and missed the second but Gardner grabbed the rebound and made the putback to tie the game at the 1:19 mark.
SMU missed a shot and made two free throws with 28.8 seconds to go for a 68-66 lead.
The Pirates trailed by 11 at halftime, 38-27, as SMU outscored them 35-16 after they jumped out to an 11-3 lead to start the game.
Isiaha Mike had 21 points for the Mustangs (12-3, 2-1), whose four-game winning streak came to end. Kendric Davis added 13 points and six assists and Emmanuel Bandoumel had 11 points.
ECU Head Coach Joe Dooley
"Obviously, a good win for our guys. I thought we scratched and clawed. We got off to a good start, then I thought we really got lethargic. I thought we stopped cutting. We stopped doing what got us the lead. SMU is a very talented offense, and they put us in harm's way, I think it was a 19-4 or 19-3 run, and next thing you know, we were back on our heels. I thought the guys responded at halftime. We rallied, we just chipped away. We had some guys make some big plays, obviously culminating with Tristen's shot, but there were a number of guys before that that got us in that spot, including Tristen hitting two 3's back-to-back we were really struggling. Good team win."
On the team's 3-point shooting performance
"That's probably the most 3's we've shot all year, I thought in the first half we thought we turned down five or six. I thought JJ turned down two or three, I think Brandon Suggs turned down one in the second half. I thought the guys did a nice job of driving. I thought the ball in the second half moved a lot better. It got side-to-side a lot more than it did in the first half."
On final play
[Tremont Robinson-White] drove it, Jayden set a really good screen, and Tremont got downhill, So, we were wondering if we were going to help on the drive, and if we don't help on the drive, we'll get a layup. Once he got around the corner, they helped, and he threw the ball to Tristen. Obviously, Tristen made a huge shot, we cleared Tristen out of the corner. Tremont got downhill and made a heck of a play."
Sophomore Jayden Gardner
On the team's overall performance
"They're probably the best offensive team in the league. Skilled, size everywhere, very tough to guard, but we held our own tonight and we didn't turn the ball over, and we got to shoot the ball."
On the atmosphere
"I remember last year, barley anybody, barely making any noise. It's just us working hard, practice every day, and it's finally translating to wins. Pirate fans want to see wins so we're here for them and they're here for us."
Freshman Tristen Newton
On the last play
"We were running the play for Tremont to get downhill and he got downhill, and three people went in on him, so he just threw it to me. It was a wide-open shot."
- East Carolina won its sixth consecutive home game and improved to 7-2 inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum this season.
- The Pirates snapped a 10-game losing streak to SMU, posting their first win over the Mustangs since Feb. 23, 2012 at Moody Coliseum in Dallas.
- ECU has a winning record through three conference games for the first time as a member of The American and first time since opening the 2012-13 Conference USA campaign 2-1.
- The Pirates overcame their largest halftime deficit of the season (11). It was their largest halftime comeback since overcoming an 11-point deficit at SMU on Feb. 23, 2013.
- East Carolina has won six straight at home for the first time since winning its first eight home games of the 2016-17 campaign.
- The Pirates improved to 8-0 when holding its opponent to less than 40 percent shooting. SMU shot 38.5 percent from the field this evening. ECU has six of its last seven opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
- The Pirates have shot 50 percent or better from the floor in the second half in five consecutive games.
- JJ Miles, Newton and Jackson each made three 3-pointers and ECU buried 11 as a team, its second-most this season (13 at James Madison, 11/30/19).
- Gardner posted his eighth consecutive 20-point game, finishing with exactly 20 points.
- Newton scored double digits for the first since netting 11 against Campbell on Dec. 14, 2019.
- Jackson made at least three 3-pointers for the second consecutive game and third time in the last four games.
- Miles scored double figures for second time in three games and tied his career-high with three 3-pointers.