Junior Tyrie Jackson against Eastern Kentucky - 2019-2020

Junior Tyrie Jackson looks to drive the basketball in ECU's win over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday.

For the first time in six years, East Carolina University’s (6-7, 0-0 AAC) men’s basketball team has won four games in a row. The Pirates have been able to turn things around after struggling to start the season during a four-game losing streak. Just in time to take on teams in their own conference. The Pirates defeated Eastern Kentucky University (3-10, 0-0 OVC) in a chaotic game at home on Saturday with a final score of 82-74.

"We are really clicking as a team and coming together as one," junior guard Tyrie Jackson said according to ECUPirates.com. "Every day we're trying to focus on getting better at everything and coming together, and I feel like the guys around have really recognized where we're at in the season and how important it is to win, and how important it is to be locked in every day in practice."

The Pirates’ starting lineup combination of Jackson, sophomore forward Jayden Gardner, freshman forward/guard Brandon Suggs, sophomore guard Tremont Robinson-White and junior center/forward Edra Luster is now 4-0, contributing heavily to this current win streak.

ECU had a rough start to the game and found themselves falling behind early. Turnovers created easy buckets for the Colonels. In the first half alone, the Pirates had 15 turnovers, but they were able to handle the ball much better in the second half. The Colonels created chaos for East Carolina and forced early turnovers to gain a 10 point lead early. The Pirates were able to counter with an 8-0 scoring run to shrink the lead heading into the second half.

"Give credit to Eastern, you know they put us on our heels the first half, you know we've seen some pressure but not hard pressure, they really had us a little discombobulated," head coach Joe Dooley said according to ECUPirates.com.

During the second half, East Carolina controlled the chaos offensively and handled the ball better. Defensively, the Pirates shut down the Colonels and were able to go on an 18-4 run, gaining the lead in the process. Eastern Kentucky fought back, but they were unable to regain control for the rest of the game.

"I thought the guys did a good job in the second half, after we got our bearings of being a little more aggressive and not turning it over as many times until the last couple of minutes," Dooley said according to ECUPirates.com. "Played a lot better, I think a lot of it was a contribute to the fact that we got stops, at one point we had 11 straight, so I thought that allowed us to get out and run and make some easy plays and we need to handle things at the end of the game a lot better. We ended the end of the game horrifically."

Gardner finished with his sixth double-double of the year after he put up 25 points and 14 rebounds. This was his fifth game in a row scoring 20 points or more. Gardner hit his first three-point bucket of the season late during the second half while the Pirates were making their push for the lead.

Also contributing to the offense, Jackson made a career-high four three-point shots and finished with 16 points. Robinson-White had 13 points and caused havoc on defense with five steals.

Eastern Kentucky’s sophomore forward, Tre King posted a career-high 18 points in the first half, including his first three-point bucket of the season. His efforts pushed the Colonels ahead of the Pirates in the first half but he scored zero points in the final 20 minutes, fouling out in the process. Sophomore guard Jomaru Brown led his team in scoring with 25 points.

ECU struggled with turnovers and missed free throws against Eastern Kentucky. The Pirates turned the ball over 22 times during the course of the game. They made 18-of-29 free throws which left the Pirates missing a lot of points.

Nevertheless, ECU shot nearly 47% from the field, including a sparkling 38.1% performance from three-point range. Conversely, the Pirates’ defense limited the Colonels to 35.6% shooting, running ECU’s record to 6-0 when it holds opponents under 40% shooting.

The Pirates will tip-off American Athletic Conference play on New Year’s Day at 3 p.m. against Wichita State (10-1, 0-0 AAC) in Wichita, Kansas.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.