PirateIllustrated - Tremont Robinson-White Scores Career High 29 in 69-63 Loss to USF
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Tremont Robinson-White Scores Career High 29 in 69-63 Loss to USF

ECU guard Tremont Robinson-White was solid with a career high 29 points in ECU's loss to USF.
ECU guard Tremont Robinson-White was solid with a career high 29 points in ECU's loss to USF. (PirateIllustrated.com photo)

South Florida rolled into Greenville on Saturday, took a commanding lead in the second half before a late ECU rally put the outcome in doubt. Ultimately the Bulls held on to gain a 69-63 victory.

The biggest bright spot for ECU was the play of Tremont Robinson-White who tossed in a career high 29 points and the Pirates forced 17 USF turnovers. But Robinson-White didn’t get a lot of help offensively and the Pirates suffered their first home loss of the season.

“I think one thing he has tried to do is make sure that he didn't turn it over and play a little bit too conservative,” said ECU head coach Dooley, “I think he’s starting to find a happy medium where he can be aggressive and not turn it over. He was outstanding. I thought his decisions were good and he was very aggressive. He didn’t have a ton of assists but I thought his play was stellar for the most part.”

Gardner who was out most of the week on concussion protocol talked about Robinson-White's performance.

“Tremont is a great player. He was reading the defense all night and that’s why we ran a lot of ball screen stuff so he could make a lot of quick decisions and that’s what he did,” Jayden Gardner said, “Tremont is a really good player downhill. He can get to the rim and shoot. The sky is the limit for him and he had a great performance tonight.”

The short handed Pirates were playing without guards Tristen Newton and Noah Farrakhan and Gardner, who took a blow to the head in practice earlier in the week scored just ten points. J.J. Miles added eight points on 3 of 12 shooting including 0 for 4 from the arc.

With the victory, the Bulls improve to 7-5 overall and 3-3 in AAC play behind 16 David Collins points along with 12 from Justin Brown and 10 more from Alexis Yetna.

“Collins got on a roll hitting three in a row. We went under a ball screen and Collins hit a three and then we had some problems,” Joe Dooley said afterward.

The two teams were deadlocked at 11-11 with eleven to play in the first half behind five Brandon Suggs points but he largely disappeared afterward.

The Pirates later erased a five point USF lead on a Robinson-White trey and a pair of Gardner free throws and ECU(7-3/1-3 AAC) was up 23-19 with 4:32 left in the first half.

Robinson-White got to the basket with a second to play before halftime and his two free throws gave him his sixth point of the game and ECU a 26-25 lead despite 27 percent first half shooting to just 36 percent for the Bulls.

Xavier Castaneda led USF with six points in the first twenty minutes. Both teams went just 2 for 12 from the arc in the first half.

A quick scoring run had East Carolina up by five points early in the second period fueled by Robinson-White, Brandon Suggs and the defensive presence of Ludgy Debut in the paint. But three straight treys from Justin Brown fueled an 11-0 run that created separation on the scoreboard and gave USF a 38-32 lead.

The Bulls then led by twelve at 55-44 with eight minutes to go before Robinson-White willed ECU back to within as few as four points at 58-52 on seven straight points. All told Robinson-White scored 14 points in the last seven minutes before a J.J. Miles basket cut the USF lead to as little as four at 67-63 with 45 seconds to play. USF was able to hold on for the victory from there.

The Pirates travel to Cincinnati next to take on the Bearcats next Wednesday at 5 o’clock on ESPN+.