Jayden Gardner against Cincinnati - 2019/2020

Sophomore Jayden Gardner dunks the basketball against the University of Cincinnati earlier in the season.

Coming off a three-game losing streak, East Carolina University (10-17, 4-10 AAC) will return to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates will compete against Temple University (13-12, 5-7 AAC) on Sunday for their second meeting this season.

ECU lost its previous game in a close one against the University of Memphis (18-8, 7-6 AAC). With a final score of 77-73 after a back-and-forth game, this loss summed up the current state of the Pirates and their struggle to secure wins.

"That's how close we are. We've got to finish some things better and do some things better,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “We're right in every game and have an opportunity to win. We've got to find a way to do it."

Temple is coming off of a tough victory against the University of Connecticut (14-12, 5-8 AAC) in double overtime. Junior guard Monty Scott, led the Owls with 25 points and a three-point jumper that forced the second overtime period.

The first time ECU faced this opponent they fell short, losing 76-64 to the Owls. In that game, the Pirates were led in scoring by sophomore guard Tremont Robinson-White, who put up 21 points. Gardner seemed to struggle with scoring the ball in this match-up. He put up 11 points, going only 5-15 from the field.

Temple has held its opponents to 39.7% from the field and held East Carolina to 39.3% in their last meeting. Despite the slim lead at half by the Pirates, Temple’s stifling defense and a 17-4 scoring run shut down hopes of victory

"I didn't think we guarded the ball really well and that was a big problem," Dooley said. "Those guys got downhill and made some plays which really hurt us."

The Owls’ scoring leader, senior guard Quinten Rose, is averaging 16.3 points per game. He holds the second highest scoring average in the AAC, behind ECU’s sophomore forward, Jayden Gardner, who is leading the conference with 19.9 points per game. Rose, however, is the AAC leading scorer with 1,778 points.

ECU has struggled to start the game quickly in a few of their losses, and it has cost them several games down the stretch.

“I think that's been one of the only things that we haven't done well the past few games,” Gardner said. “So if we get off to a fast start, maybe we won’t have to come back, maybe we can build on a lead that we could have. It's a learning experience, and it’s new to these guys, but we’re trying really hard.”

ECU faces Temple on Sunday. Tip-off is at noon inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

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