This post appears here courtesy of ECU Sports
East Carolina completed its non-conference slate unbeaten with a 73-64 win over James Madison inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum, ending a three-game losing streak to the Dukes.
The Pirates (6-1) had four players score in double figures led by sophomore Brandon Suggs
with a career-matching high of 18 points. Senior forward Bitumba Baruti
added 16 points off the bench and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and collected a career-best five steals. Tristen Newton
made four 3s en route to 14 points, while the Pirates' leading scorer Jayden Gardner
added 13 points.
Gardner broke a 10-all tie with a layup and ECU led for the final 33:06, trailing for just a total of 48 seconds the entire game.
After Coach Dooley called timeout with 5:45 left in the first half, the Pirates went on an 11-2 run to take its first double-digit lead of the game, 33-22, with 1:32 remaining in the first half. The Pirates led by eight, 33-25, at halftime.
Newton gave the Pirates a 16-point cushion, 59-43, with 7:21 to play and never led by less than 10 until the game's final minute.
Matt Lewis led the Dukes (2-2) with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 6-of-9 at the foul line. Justin Amadi added 10 points.
ECU lifts the lid on its American Athletic Conference home season Tuesday, Dec. 22, against Tulane at 3:30 p.m.
"We found a way to win the game but there are some things we have to do to keep getting better. There are also some things that we hadn't done that we did. Good win after bouncing back from SMU."
— ECU Head Coach Joe Dooley
"It feels great. We're learning how to win so we'll take those wins and pick up some confidence. We can get a lot better rebounding, defense and shooting,"
— Tristen Newton
"We knew they had a couple of great scorers who were averaging a lot of points so we established who we wanted to stop and stopped a lot of three's that hurt us last year. We just wanted to take it from them and play good defense in the first half and the second half and put it all together."
— Brandon Suggs
- ECU finished its non-conference schedule unbeaten for the first time as a Division I member. The Pirates also recorded their ninth unbeaten non-conference home schedule — of at least five games — since the 1985-86 season.
- Gardner moved into ninth-place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,242 career points. Next on the list is Bill Otte, who occupies eighth-place with 1,368 points.
- Baruti has scored double figures in three of the last four games and four times overall this season after scoring double digits just once last season. His five steals tied for the most by a Dooley coached player
- Suggs' 18 points were a season-best and equaled his career-best against SMU in Dallas as a freshman last year.
- Newton's four 3s tied his career-best of four at UCF int he 2019-20 season finale.