ECU Snaps Five Game Losing Streak With a 66-65 Win Over Tulane
ECU was in need of a victory and the Pirates managed to hold on down the stretch to snap a five game losing streak and take a one-point 66-65 win over Tulane Thursday night in Greenville.
Two early Jayden Gardner fouls found the Pirates' leading scorer sitting on the bench for most of the first half before coming on to score 13 second half points to lead ECU with 16. He talked about picking up a conference win after five straight losses.
“It feels great. It feels like it’s been a year. We fought back tonight. We were trailing tonight but the team corralled. K.J. (Davis) hit some big shots. He played really well attacking and everyone played well tonight and that was nice to see,” Gardner said afterward.
Seth LeDay picked up the slack for the Pirates in Gardner's absence with eleven first half points including a nice dunk just before intermission on the way to 13 points. He was helped by ten points from Dimitri Spasojevic and eleven from Isaac Fleming who also dished out six assists.
“It was really just us staying locked in and sticking to the game plan,” Fleming said, “The whole game Coach kept telling us that they don’t like pressure so it was really just pressuring them and not giving up easy points.”
Kevin Zhang’s twelve first half points had the Green Wave up 33-29 at halftime. He ended up with 14 to go along with a game high 17 from Caleb Daniels and ten each from Jordan Cornish and Moses Woods.
ECU hit 41.3 percent of their shots from the floor despite just 3 of 15 shooting from the arc and only 11 of 18 from the line. Tulane managed to hit 43.6 percent of their shots but just 6 of 19 from three-point land.
“I thought especially in the second half when we got a little rhythm and got in some foul trouble the guys did a nice job of competing,” ECU head coach Joe Dooley said after the game.
“Sometimes the guys can’t stand prosperity when we get to playing well,” Dooley said, “We take a quick shot or try to make a home run play instead of an easy play. But I thought when things weren’t going well we settled down and made some plays. I thought the guys stepped up and made some good basketball plays that allowed us to win.”
The Pirates tied the contest with 15:33 to go on a Ty Foster fast break layup before Gardner’s basket in the paint gave ECU their first lead of the second half.
Three Davis treys then had ECU up by six midway into the second half. But a Moses Wood three-pointer and a Caleb Daniels turnaround jumper in the paint kept the Green Wave within two before Daniels then abused Spasojevic under the basket for a three-point play that gave Tulane the lead at 54-53 with 5:29 to play.
With the Pirates up by just two with 14.6 seconds to play, Cornish ran over Gardner and was called for a charging foul. Then Jayden Gardner was fouled and hit a pair of free throws before Shawn Williams nailed a pair of free throws with 5.2 seconds to play that pretty much put the game on ice for the Pirates.