East Carolina Opens AAC Play With a 82-54 Loss at SMU
DALLAS - Jahmal McMurray led five players in double-figures with twenty points and SMU beat ECU 82-54 in Moody Coliseum Wednesday night. It was the Mustangs tenth straight win over the Pirates.
Jimmy Whitt, Jr. added seventeen points to go along with eleven from Isiaha Mike and ten more from Ethan Chargois for the Mustangs who had the Pirates completely befuddled for the majority of the contest to open conference play.
Jayden Gardner led ECU(7-6/0-1 AAC) with 16 points and seven boards while Ty Foster added 11 for the Pirates who were held to 34 percent shooting to 49.2 percent for SMU.
“I thought for about 16 or 17 minutes of the first half we controlled tempo and did a good job,” ECU head coach Joe Dooley said afterward, “We gave up 36 fast break points, more points than we’ve given up in the fast break this year. It was just a total breakdown by all of us and we’ve got to figure this out.”
With seven different Pirates scoring early points, ECU held a three-point 18-15 lead midway through a back and forth first ten minutes of the game.
But Ethan Chargois scored and both Jimmy Whitt scored and Jahmal McMurray scored twice to quickly put the Mustangs back in the lead. Then a Nat Dixon bomb enlarged the Mustang lead to 30-21 at the three minute mark of the first period.
SMU(9-4/1-0 AAC) took a ten-point 35-25 lead into the locker room at the break behind nine points from Jimmy Whitt, Jr. and seven from McMurray and Isiaha Mike.
Ty Foster’s six points and five from Jayden Gardner led ECU at halftime. The Pirates had ample opportunity to score a lot more points in the first period but ECU committed ten turnovers in the first twenty minutes of play, many of which came before they could ever get a shot launched.
SMU wasted no time making things worse, going on a 15-1 run to open the second half. A pair of McMurray three-point bombs and a subsequent dunk off of a Pirate turnover quickly got things started. Then Jarray Foster posterized ECU with a one-hand catch and dunk to put that put the Mustangs up by twenty.
“I’ve done this a long time and that was about as interesting a start to a second half as I’ve ever seen,” said Dooley.
The SMU lead grew to thirty on a Jimmy Whitt jumper with eleven minutes to play.
Shawn Williams’ three-pointer and a pair of Isaac Fleming drives for ECU cut the lead to 67-46 with just under six minutes to go but SMU cruised the rest of the way.