PirateIllustrated - ECU Falls 73-68 to USF in OT
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ECU Falls 73-68 to USF in OT

Jayden Gardner fouled out in regulation with 19 points and ECU fell in overtime to USF 73-68 in Tampa.
Jayden Gardner fouled out in regulation with 19 points and ECU fell in overtime to USF 73-68 in Tampa. (AP Photo)

Laquincy Rideau’s three-pointer jumper in overtime and his two free throws on the next USF possession proved to be much of the difference in the Bulls’ 73-68 overtime win over ECU Wednesday night in Tampa.

Jayden Gardner scored 19 points after a slow start to lead ECU before eventually fouling out late in regulation play. The Pirates got good play from Brandon Suggs who came off the bench to score 13 points. Tristen Newton added ten for the Pirates that but the loss drops ECU to 11-18 overall and just 5-11 in league play.

Justin Brown’s 18 points led USF along with 15 from Michael Durr, Rideau’s 14 points and 11 more from David Collins and the Bulls improve to 12-16 and 5-10 in AAC play.

The Pirates made 49 percent of their shots to just 38 percent for USF, but that advantage negated by the fact that the Bulls got to the free throw line with greater frequency, especially after missed shot opportunities and they made 20 of 27 for 74 percent. ECU only had six free throw opportunities all night and made 4 of 6.

ECU also made just 4 of 15 from the arc for the evening despite winning the turnover battle with just 12 miscues to 17 turnovers for USF. ECU did score 20 points off of turnovers to just five for the Bulls, but USF won the offensive rebound battle 17-5 and had more assists with 14 to just seven for the Pirates.

The loss put the Pirates further behind the eight ball for AAC tournament seeding purposes with just two games remaining in regular season league play.

“This was bad. You can’t give up as many offensive rebounds as we did. When we got the lead our shot selection went a little sideways,” said Joe Dooley after the game, “You’ve got to make sure when you get a lead that you value possessions and get the shots you want and obviously we gave up way too many offensive rebounds.”

Jayden Gardner scored nine points in a five minute stretch that gave ECU a 55-48 lead with just 5:48 to play. The Pirates finally relinquished the lead with less than a minute to go before Robinson-White’s layup with 24 seconds left got ECU into the extra session.

“We had chances and then we took two straight bad shots. We’ve got to be more disciplined, the ball has got to be reversed and these guys have got to get back in transition and make sure you get matched up and also make sure we rebound the ball. Rideau made some really timely shots and Justin Brown really helped them.”

ECU took their first lead of the game at 15-14 midway into the first half on a Tremont Robinson-White transition drive to the basket. Two J.J. Miles’ jumpers expanded the Pirate lead seven at 25-18.

The Bulls then went on a 7-0 run highlighted by a David Collins trey while ECU went 0 for their next seven shots. That cut the lead to two with 3:17 to play.

USF tied the game late in the half on a pair of occasions before ECU took a one point 29-28 lead into halftime.

Tristen Newton and J.J. Miles led an ECU team that made 13 of their 28 shots in the first twenty minutes with seven points each. Justin Brown led all scorers in the first period with eight and David Collins had seven for USF. Both Bull players pulled down six rebounds and USF led ECU 23-18 on the glass in the first half.

USF got to the charity stripe ten times in the first half, making six while ECU got to the free throw line just once, going 1 for 1.

Laquincy Rideau’s three-point jumper eventually tied the contest with 2:43 remaining in the game. Gardner then fouled out and two Justin Brown free throws was followed by a Tremont Robinson-White’s basket for ECU that tied the game for the tenth time at 59-59 with just 21 seconds left before the two teams eventually went into overtime.

Justin Brown’s three-pointer had USF up by three. Brandon Suggs’ layup then trimmed the USF lead back to one with 1:15 left in overtime. But a Miles James’ flagrant 1 foul with 44 seconds to go led to two Justin Brown free throws to extend the lead to three at 68-65.

Rideau’s three-pointer from the key against an ECU zone defense and his free throws on the following USF possession put the game away.

ECU returns to action Saturday at 2 o’clock on ESPN U against UConn in Minges Coliseum.

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