The East Carolina University (8-9, 2-2 AAC) men’s basketball team faced the University of Tulsa (11-6, 3-1 AAC) last night for the final game of the three-game home stretch. ECU won two close contests at home before taking on Tulsa, but the momentum was stopped by the Golden Hurricane.
The Pirates fought during the first half, but they were unable to hang on during the second. ECU went ice cold, shooting 0-for-15 from beyond the arc in the second and 2-for-26 for the game. The rough shooting night led to the final score of 65-49.
“Couldn't throw a rock in the ocean tonight,” sophomore forward Jayden Gardner said. “We had key moments during stretches where we had wide open threes and couldn’t convert. Transition offense was off tonight. It was just an off night.”
The first half was a dogfight between the two teams. Tulsa got an early lead and led by as much as seven early in the game. The Pirates turned the ball over several times to start out, but the team came together on defense and made up for lost possessions by forcing turnovers on the other end.
Good defensive stops created easy offense for ECU while it fought to keep themselves in the game. The Pirates fought all the way to the final seconds of the half, with the halftime score of 30-30.
In the second half, Tulsa came out firing, opening up the lead to 46-36. Tulsa kept the Pirates at bay by not allowing easy buckets in the halfcourt sets and cutting down on turnovers. Unable to respond to Tulsa with a run of their own, the Pirates ultimately fell to their opponent at the end.
Gardner was held to only seven points for the first half, but was able to finish with 19 points and seven rebounds. Gardner’s streak of 20-point games ended at eight after Wednesday night's loss.
Junior guard Tyrie Jackson went 0-for-12 on three-point shots for the game, while the rest of his team shot poorly as well. The only East Carolina players to hit a three-point shot during the game were freshman guard Brandon Suggs and sophomore guard Miles James.
East Carolina will head to Ohio to face the University of Cincinnati (10-6, 3-1 AAC) on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.