PirateIllustrated - Tulane Topples ECU 60-56
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Tulane Topples ECU 60-56

Jaylen Forbes scored 20 points to go along with 13 points from Gabe Watson to lead Tulane to a 60-56 win over East Carolina Saturday afternoon at Fogelman Arena in New Orleans.

It was the Green Wave’s first win over ECU in the last seven tries. Brandon Suggs led ECU with 14 points along with 11 from J.J. Miles and nine from Bitumba Baruti.

All told, the Pirates turned the basketball over a whopping 21 times and got just five points from leading scorer Jayden Gardner who made just one shot from the field the entire game which came in the final three seconds of the contest.

Tulane turned the ball over just 12 times and got to the stripe with greater frequency, making 20 of 22 while ECU made all but one of their free throw attempts, but only had seven attempts for the game.

“Absolutely horrendous. I’m very disappointed with the way we played. We’ve got to do a better job of preparing these guys,” said ECU head coach Joe Dooley who was looking for his 200th career victory.

Despite having their worst showing of the season, ECU still had a chance down the stretch to win the contest.

“You’re minus 16 from the free throw line, minus 14 in the turnover game,” Dooley stated, “That puts you minus 30. I’m amazed we were even able to hang around today.”

The Green Wave held an 8-2 early lead on six ECU turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. Brandon Suggs’ second trey of the half and subsequent layup then cut the Tulane lead to two at 22-20 late in the half.

Two Gardner free throws with one second remaining before halftime were his only points in the first twenty minutes and ECU was down 28-24 heading into the locker room. Brandon Suggs led the Pirates with eight points in the first period while Gabe Watson and Jaylen Forbes both had eight for Tulane.

ECU(7-2/1-2 AAC) made just 9 of 26 shot attempts to go along with 13 first half turnovers.

Down by nine points midway into the second half, the Pirates’ 7-0 run cut Tulane’s lead to two. Three minutes later, a pair of Pig Jackson free throws trimmed the lead to as little as one at 44-43.

But Jalen Forbes’ third trey and twentieth point of the game expanded the Green Wave lead back to six at 51-45 with just under four minutes left.

Noah Farrakhan’s trey got ECU back to within three points before a Miles drive cut the lead to one at 51-50 again with 1:37 to go before Sion James’ first trey of the year gave Tulane some breathing room with just over a minute to play.

“We had every opportunity and they made some plays to keep us in the game also. James hitting that three from the corner was a big shot,” Dooley said, “We had it down to one. He’s made one on the season and it was a big play in a late clock situation.”

ECU’s twenty-first turnover led to two Jordan Walker free throws to expand the Tulane lead to six at 56-50 before Bitumba Baruti’s third three-pointer for the Pirates trimmed the Green Wave lead to three at the 27 second mark.

Then two Walker free throws found Tulane up by five before Jayden Gardner only made basket of the game came on a trey with three seconds left and it wasn’t enough and Tulane(6-2/1-2 AAC) held on for the victory.

The Pirates return to action in Greenville next Saturday afternoon when ECU hosts USF at 1 p.m. in Minges Coliseum.