Pirates Outlast Eagles, 58-50
Jan. 3, 2011
From wire and staff reports
"This is a difficult environment to play in and we knew this was going to be a big game for them," ECU coach Jeff Lebo said. "We're coming off some tough games where we lost at the end.
"We've talked a lot about our body language and we don't won't to be able to tell whether we're up 10 or down 10. Our kids did a good job with that in a tough road environment."
Corvonn Gaines' 3-pointer for the Pirates (8-6) with 4:46 remaining broke the game's 12th tie and made it 50-47. That started a 10-1 run to a 57-48 lead with 1:07 left.
"Corvonn hadn't scored in bucket in almost two games and it was a timely one," Lebo said. "It seemed like we got stops on the other end but couldn't quite get over the hump, but [Corvonn] finally got us over [the hump]."
C.J. Wilkerson scored 19 points and Landon Clement 16 for the Eagles (5-7), who won their first four home games but were hosting their first Division I opponent this season.
North Carolina Central trailed much of the first half but took a 28-25 lead with 1:59 left after a pair of 3-pointers by Clement. The Eagles led by as many as eight points early in the second half.
The Pirates were either in front or tied with the Eagles for the first 18:01 before NCCU closed out the half on a 9-3 run.
After falling behind by eight, 34-26, East Carolina went on a 12-4 run to tie the game at 38 on a Sherrod 3-pointer with 10:54 to play. Clement answered on the Eagles' ensuing possession with what was their last field goal for nine minutes.
The Eagles scored their next eight points at the free throw line, while missing 10 straight shots from the floor.
Sherrod put ECU ahead 41-40 with another 3-pointer, the Pirates then scored their next four points at the foul line while missing four consecutive field goal attempts before Darrius Morrow's baseline dunk put them ahead 47-46.
Clement's free throw knotted the game at 47 with 4:54 to play.
"Our defense really gave us a chance to win the game and it did win the game for us tonight," Lebo said.
East Carolina shot 33.3 percent (15-of-45), while North Carolina Central was at 30.2 percent (16-of-53), including just 22.2 percent (6-of-27) in the second half.
The Pirates, who have on of the nation's best perimeter defenses, held the Eagles to 0-for-10 shooting from behind the arc in the second half.