Men's Basketball Leads Early But Can't Pull Away From Tulane

John Fields

Jan. 17, 2007

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GREENVILLE, N.C. --- East Carolina built an early six-point first half lead, but Donnie Stith's first 3-pointer of the season with just under seven minutes remaining before halftime put Tulane ahead to stay as the Green Wave defeated the Pirates in a Conference USA battle here Wednesday night, 65-56.

Stith's 3-pointer ignited an 18-9 run by Tulane to end the half and give the Green Wave (8-7, 1-2) an eight-point halftime lead, 33-25. Stith finished with a team-high 15 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, while David Gomez added 12.

ECU freshman John Fields netted a career-high 17 points, including 13 first half points, to lead the Pirates. Junior Darrell Jenkins also added 10 points.

ECU (5-11, 0-3) scored the first seven points of the second half to trim its deficit to one, 33-32, on a turnaround jumper by freshman Gabe Blair just over two minutes into the second 20 minutes of play.

Tulane then scored 10 unanswered points, including six straight by Gomez, over the next four minutes to push its lead to 11, 43-32. TU led by as many as 13 with 9:47 left in regulation.

Freshman Brandon Evans came off the bench to provide ECU with a spark in the second half, scoring a career-high 10 points after intermission. His 3-pointer with 6:36 showing cut the lead to eight before Matt Wheaton's two free throws and subsequent jumper pushed the Tulane lead back to 12, 58-46, with less than five minutes remaining.



The Pirates made one last charge and pulled within six with 1 minute to play, but the Green Wave made 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute to preserve the win.

Despite holding Tulane to just 26.9 percent shooting the second half, the Pirates were unable to keep the Green Wave off the offensive boards and away from the foul line where Tulane converted 20-of-23 free throw attempts. TU grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and scored 15 second chance points.

East Carolina returns to action Saturday, January 20 against No. 18 Memphis. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. EST inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum and will be televised by CSTV.