PirateIllustrated - ECU Falls To Rice 77-69
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ECU Falls To Rice 77-69

Jayden Gardner scored 18 points and had nine boards before fouling out in ECU's 77-67 loss to Rice in the Bahamas Showcase.
Jayden Gardner scored 18 points and had nine boards before fouling out in ECU's 77-67 loss to Rice in the Bahamas Showcase. (PirateIllustrated.com photo)

ECU was ice cold from the arc, going just 1 for 20 from three-point land and 16 points from Drew Peterson led four Owls players in double-figures in a 77-69 Rice win over the Pirates Sunday night in the Island of the Bahamas Showcase.

“We’ve got to jump up and make some threes. I thought we had some very good looks and we missed them and I’m very disappointed,” said ECU head coach Joe Dooley, “It just comes down to repetitions in practice and confidence and these are things that we have to continue to work on.”

“We had almost twenty more shot attempts than them, it wasn’t just threes. We missed a bunch of shots at the rim. We’ve got to figure some things out. I thought we played a little bit tired at the end,” Dooley stated, “Obviously we were a couple of bodies down but that doesn’t matter. We have to find a way to finish out games.”

Ako Adams scored 15, Robert Martin had 14 and Chris Mullens added 13 for the Owls that improved to 6-3 with the win.

Tyree Jackson scored a career high 20 points to lead three Pirates in double figures including 18 points and 9 rebounds from Jayden Gardner and 12 from Brandon Suggs for ECU(2-5). Seth LeDay did not play due to swelling in his knee.

“He’s (Jackson) starting to get more comfortable and it’s going to take a while. He looked more comfortable as he was out there during the weekend. When we get Tremont (Robinson-White) back it’s going to take him a while. We’ll get them back and try to get them some treatment and get ready for next weekend,” Dooley said.

The Pirates had 20 offensive rebounds and just nine turnovers in the game. Cold shooting was the biggest issue for ECU on Sunday.

Nine early points from Rice guard Ako Adams had the Owls up by five at 11-6 before Tristen Newton’s three point play tied the game at 12-12 with 9:15 left in the half.

The Pirates held a five point 32-27 lead at halftime behind twelve first half points from Jayden Gardner and eight from Brandon Suggs.

The two teams remained tied at 49-49 with 12:49 to go. Tyree Jackson’s thunderous jam off an inbounds lob pass later had ECU within three at 56-53 with 8:53 remaining in the game.

A technical foul on Joe Dooley and a flagrant two foul on Jayden Gardner with 5:35 that fouled him out found Rice up by their biggest margin of the game at ten points at 67-57 with four minutes to play.

Tyree Jackson’s drive to the basket cut the Rice lead to six before a Payton Moore free throw and a Max Fiedler jumper pushed the lead back to nine at 70-61 with 3:13 to play. Rice cruised the rest of the way.