East Carolina started hot in The Bahamas and began its unconventional weekend of basketball with an 85-68 victory over Evansville on Friday night at the Islands of The Bahamas Showcase to stop a three-game losing streak.
ECU (2-3) began the game on a 9-0 run and never trailed despite streaky 3-point shooting by Evansville (3-2), which is 1-2 since winning at Kentucky on Nov. 12.
The Pirates, who got a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds from steady Jayden Gardner, scored 55 of their points after halftime to effectively pull away from the Purple Aces.
“We guarded a lot better and definitely kept people in front of us,” ECU coach Joe Dooley said during his postgame interview on the Pirate IMG Network.
ECU will play again tonight at 8 versus Missouri-Kansas City, which beat George Washington on Friday. Final games are scheduled for Sunday.
Tyrie Jackson came off the injury list to start in the Pirate backcourt, and he made a 3-pointer to give ECU a 71-58 lead with less than 5 minutes remaining. The triple marked the former Virginia Tech player’s first points as a Pirate.
The Pirates led 16-2 and took a 30-26 edge into halftime, getting 10 points from Gardner in the first half.
“My first catch in the post is usually a double-team and I adjust from there, but I got the ball and no double-team and went to work,” Gardner said.
Injured point guard Tremont Robinson-White did not play again for East Carolina, but Gardner hinted that he too could see action this weekend.
ECU’s starting lineup was Jackson joined by guards Brandon Suggs and Tristen Newton, with Gardner and Bitumba Baruti as forwards. Newton scored 18 points.