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Senior guard J.J. Miles takes the ball down the court in the win against Gardner-Webb Dec. 4

East Carolina University men's basketball (10-5, 1-2 American Athletic Conference) fell short for the second time in a row this conference season as the team took a close loss 71-79, to the University of Cincinnati (12-5, 2-2 AAC).

The game took place at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Fifth Third Arena, home of the Bearcats. To kick off the match, junior forward Alanzo Frink and graduate student forward Abdul Ado tipped off the ball where the Bearcats quickly gained possession. After a swift rebound senior forward Vance Jackson came in and scored the first points of the game and put the score at 2-0, Pirates in the lead. 

From there Cincinnati upped its score by 2 with a layup from junior guard Jeremiah Davenport assisted by junior guard Mika Adams-Woods. The Bearcats then gained a 5-point lead on the Pirates after a series of made free throws and a 3-pointer from senior guard David DeJulius. Sophomore guard Tristen Newton then came back with two made technical free throws. 

East Carolina’s efforts continued to fall short as Cincinnati managed to gain a 10 point lead on the purple and gold with the score at 5-15. Both teams picked up defensively barely giving their opponent the opportunity to score. DeJulius then came in with another 2 points that was almost immediately followed up by another 2-pointer from freshman guard RJ Felton, who put the score at 7-17, Bearcat lead. 

Cincinnati continued on with its increased lead on the Pirates as the score reached 17-39 with five minutes left in the first half. Jackson then came in with a 3-pointer and Newton with 2 points of his own and the two pushed the score up to 22-42, Cincinnati in the lead. The final score of the first period came to be 29-49, Bearcats.

To open up the second half of the game Jackson came in quick with a 3-pointer assisted by junior guard Tremont Robinson-White. Junior center Ludgy Debaut then came in with a 2-point dunk and put the score at 36-49. East Carolina continued to hold strong and put consistent points on the board. However, Cincinnati was prepared and upped its score with multiple layups.

The game stood at 49-61 as Davenport and Jackson stormed the court with back-to-back layups. The Pirates were then able to up their score by 5 and sent the Bearcats into a 30 second timeout. The game resumed with a layup from Newman and put the score at 56-66. In the final seconds of the game, a 3-pointer from Jackson put the Pirates within reach of Cincinnati, but ultimately the game ended with a Bearcat win 71-79.

Davenport ended up the highest scorer of the night for Cincinnati and ended with a total of 22 points and Newman a total of 10. Although the game was East Carolina’s second road loss in a row the Pirates had a few stand-out moments. Jackson achieved a career-high of 35 points and made eight 3-pointers in the Cincinnati game, with Newton putting up a total of 11 points. The team hit a .407 field goal percentage while Cincinnati held a .475. 

ECU men's basketball will return back home to Greenville, North Carolina, in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum to take on the University of Memphis (9-6, 3-2 AAC) on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. The game will take place on Paint It Purple night and help honor ECU alumni. The first 2000 students in attendance will receive a free T-shirt and the game will be broadcast through ESPN+ and WNCT 107.9 FM.

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