Pirates Knock Off UAB In OT, 75-70
March 10, 2011
From wire and staff reports
EL PASO, Texas --- Darrius Morrow finished with 22 points, including six in overtime, and East Carolina upset No. 1 seed UAB 75-70 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament.
Morrow added 14 rebounds, and Jontae Sherrod scored 22 as well for the eighth-seeded Pirates (18-14), who lost twice to the Blazers in the regular season, including by 18 Saturday.
Aaron Johnson had a career-high 39 points for UAB (22-8) and was 12-of-22 from the field (54.5 percent), but the rest of the Blazers shot a combined 9-of-43 (20.9 percent).
The game went into OT after UAB hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 13 seconds to tie it at 57. East Carolina then started the extra period with a 16-5 run, and the Blazers never recovered.
The contest began as a see-saw affair with neither side being able to take more than a three-point lead in the game's first 11 minutes.
Then the Pirates made the first run of the game, out-scoring the Blazers 12-4 to take an eight-point lead, 28-20, as Sherrod buried three consecutive 3-pointers to give ECU its largest lead of the first half with 3:36 remaining.
UAB closed the opening stanza with a 9-1 run and cut the Pirates' advantage to four, 29-25, at halftime.
The Blazers opened the second half on a 12-3 run to claim their largest lead of the game, 37-32, with 14:16 to play.
Gaines' 3-pointer 1:28 into the half was the Pirates' only field goal for the first 8:33, until Morrow converted underneath to stop the UAB run. The Blazers maintained the lead for the next six minutes until a slew a lead changes occurred.
The Pirates played those final minutes without the services of senior Brock Young who was injured on a breakaway lay-up.
Over the next three minutes, there were five lead changes. Sherrod's fourth 3-pointer of the game put the Pirates up 48-45 with 4:09 to play. Two free throws by Johnson and a jumper from Cameron Moore put the Blazers on top briefly before Morrow regained the lead for ECU with 3:28 to play.
The Pirates held a three-point lead with 24 seconds to play, but the Blazers battled back to force overtime with Jamarr Sanders sinking two free throws with 13 seconds to play.
East Carolina made 16 of 24 free throws in overtime, including 7-of-10 by Gaines and 4-of-6 from Morrow. UAB scored the first point of the extra period, but the Pirates scored the next six and never allowed their foe to get closer than four points.