PirateIllustrated - ECU Tops Canisius 83-71 For Second Straight Victory
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ECU Tops Canisius 83-71 For Second Straight Victory

ECU's J.J. Miles launches in a jumper in the first half of the Pirates' win over Canisius Friday night.
ECU's J.J. Miles launches in a jumper in the first half of the Pirates' win over Canisius Friday night. (PirateIllustrated.com photo)

East Carolina(2-0) parlayed a strong shooting night into a big second half lead and then held on down the stretch for a 83-71 win over Canisius Friday night in Minges Coliseum.

The Pirates placed five players in double-figures led by Tristen Newton and Brandon Suggs who each tossed in 14 points. Tremont Robinson-White scored twelve and newcomers Brandon Johnson and Alonzo Frink added eleven points each. Armon Harried led Canisius with 22 points while Siem Uijtendaal scored 15 and Jacco Fritz added 10.

The Pirates led by 19 at the break and pushed the lead to as much as 28 in the second half before letting the Griffins back in the game late. Suggs talked about what Canisius(0-2) did that gave them the most difficulty offensively Friday night.

“Coach was telling us that they are a hard crashing team. They’re aggressive and they are very persistent with their offense. They like to run the same offense, but it works for them in the high - low,” said Suggs, “So they were getting on us about being high loose and getting over fade screens and stuff and we’d been working on that a lot and boxing out in practice.”

Newton broke down the Pirates’ offensive slide down the stretch where the Griffs chopped a 28-point lead back to twelve at the end.

“I feel like we got comfortable with the lead,” said Newton, “When you’re up like that, you kind of get bored, so we kind of slacked off and allowed number 5 (Siem Uijtendaal) to hit threes back to back. Then in transition we turned the ball over, so that’s when coach got us in the huddle and talked to us and told us to get back right because that ain’t good at all.”

Tristen Newton did have a solid night overall and he outlined what sparked his scoring output overall.

“Really it was just defense and I got most of my points in transition,” Newton told PirateIllustrated.com, “I went five for nine and four of them were in transition.”

The Pirates made 47 percent of their shots from the floor and 91 percent from the charity stripe on 20 of 22 shooting while Holding the Griffs to just 32 percent shooting overall.

The ECU lead grew to as much as 28 in the second half and even through the Griffins heated up a bit late, the Pirates were able to cruise down the stretch to their second straight win to open the season.

A pair of three-point jumpers from Vance Jackson along with six early points from Brandon Suggs quickly had ECU up 16-11, a lead that would grow to nine midway into the half at 25-16. Two Tristen Newton transition baskets and Tremont Robinson-Whites first trey of the year expanded the Pirate lead to twelve at 32-20.

It wasn’t a perfect game for the Pirates with 19 turnovers, but ECU head coach Joe Dooley found a lot of positives in the way his team played Friday night.

“More good things than bad, obviously to get out to the start that we did. The guys did a nice job pressuring the ball,” Dooley said, “I thought we did a good job of getting out in transition and rebounding. Obviously it all started at the defensive end which made the offensive end a little bit easier. We got some good shots and some easy shots because we ran.”

Dooley was not as pleased with the way his team played down the stretch after expanding the lead to nearly thirty points before winning by just twelve.

“The last eight minutes were a debacle. A lot of self inflicted, but I also say it was a tribute to Canisius,” Dooley stated, “Those guys kept playing, kept shooting. We’ve got to finish up a lot better. Some of the younger guys learned some lessons tonight about how you need to play and finish. We got a little stagnant offensively and a little cute offensively and they made us pay a little bit.”

East Carolina took a 47-26 lead into the locker room at halftime on nine Tremont Robinson-White points and eight Brandon Johnson points. Armon Harried led Canisius with nine first half points.

The Pirates made fifty percent of their shots in the first twenty minutes while holding the Griffs to just 18 percent from the floor. Canisius did manage to get to the free throw line with regularity in the first period where they connected on 10 of 13.

ECU takes on Western Carolina in their next game inside Williams-Arena this Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock.