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Pirates welcoming in struggling Tulane


East Carolina forwards Jayden Gardner (1) and Seth LeDay go after a rebound amid South Florida players in Minges Coliseum on Saturday. USF won 77-57.


The Daily Reflector

Thursday, January 31, 2019

An East Carolina basketball team yearning for a second American Athletic Conference win faces a Tulane team tonight that still is looking for its first AAC victory of the season.

Tip-off in Minges Coliseum is set for 7 p.m.

Tulane (4-15, 0-7) sits in last place in the league standings and hasn’t won a game of any kind since Dec. 17, an 87-74 victory over Tennessee-Martin. The Pirates (8-11, 1-6) have had up-and-down moments seemingly all season, including beating Cincinnati early in January but most recently a runaway 77-57 victory by South Florida in Greenville on Saturday, which extended ECU’s losing streak to five games.

“We talk all the time about making easy plays, but sometimes we try to be smarter than we are and we throw it away,” Pirate coach Joe Dooley said. “Easy plays can win games. We try to preach that and will continue to preach that. In the first half (against USF), I thought the ball moved well for stretches and we didn’t try to make anything fancy, but we just threw the ball to the open guy.”

The Pirates trailed USF, 36-34, at halftime before the Bulls pulled away thanks to 41 points after the intermission. ECU shot 29.6 percent from the field after halftime.

ECU has won four of its last five contests versus the Green Wave, although two of the last three meetings in Greenville have gone to overtime and both of those were won by the Wave.

This Tulane squad has lost nine straight games and is ranked last in the American in scoring offense (67.4 points per game) and 11th in scoring defense (74.6).

East Carolina is 11th in offense, averaging 69.8 points per outing with freshman forward Jayden Gardner still doing a lot of the heavy lifting. He has marks of 18.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per outing. Shawn Williams is second on the team in scoring at 11.9 ppg.

The Pirates come into tonight still trying to find a consistent touch from three-point range, having made 91-of-345 outside shots while opponents are 123-for-399.

Tulane’s leading scorer is guard and New Orleans native Caleb Daniels, who is averaging 15.4 points per game. He also has proven to be the team’s most-used player, averaging 33.1 minutes of action per game.

Samir Sehic, who is 6-foot-9 and 235 pounds, is a threat in the paint with averages of 11.6 points and 7.8 rebounds.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.


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