GREENVILLE, N.C. — Jayden Gardner had 21 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double as East Carolina beat Tulane 68-58 on Tuesday.
Brandon Suggs had 14 points for East Carolina (7-1, 1-1 American Athletic Conference), which won its sixth straight at home. J.J. Miles added 13 points and Bitumba Baruti had eight rebounds.
The Pirates scored 13 unanswered points over a 4:38 stretch in the first half to take a 26-16 lead, holding Tulane (5-2, 0-2) scoreless for nearly five minutes. Baruti scored all six of his points during this span that propelled ECU into the lead which it never relinquished.
The Green Wave pulled within five with 1:33 remaining in the half before Tyrie Jackon’s driving layup put ECU by seven at halftime, 32-25.
The Pirates held Tulane to just five points in the first seven minutes after halftime and extended their lead to 19, 49-30, with 13:26 to play.
The Green Wave cut nine points off the Pirates’ lead with nine minutes to play, before Gardner and Suggs asserted themselves combining for 15 of ECU’s final 17 points.
After shooting 50 percent in the opening half, the Pirates finished the game at 46.0 percent (23-50) from the field and limited Tulane to 35.2 percent (19-54) shooting.
Jaylen Forbes had 16 points for the Green Wave (5-2, 0-2). Gabe Watson added 14 points.
“Our defense was good early. We were able to get some stops. Got in a little bit of an offensive rhythm to start the second half and got a little bit of a lead. I think our guys, for the most part, did a good job of following the game plan. For the most part, I was happy with our defensive effort, and we did some good things offensively.” – ECU Head Coach Joe Dooley
“I’m a patient guy, I’m an unselfish guy and my team is winning, that’s the main thing. We were up by seven and the game just came to me slowly. Some nights you’re going to start off strong and some nights you’re going to start off in the second half and my half was the second half, but we were winning and at the end of the day it’s just about getting the W and being there for my teammates and executing really well.” – Jayden Gardner
“We struggled out of conference last year, so I feel like winning one of these games and getting back to 1-1 in the conference gives us confidence going into the Christmas break.” – J.J. Miles
• The Pirates are off to their best start at 6-1 since the 2013-14 squad posted the same record through seven games.
• ECU won its sixth straight over Tulane and improved to 16-14 all-time against the Green Wave
• Gardner became the 16th player in school history to reach 600 career rebounds.
• Gardner posted his 26th career double-double, fourth-most in school history and third-most in American Athletic Conference lore.
• The Pirates used their fifth different starting lineup of the season (Gardner, Debaut, Suggs, Miles, Robinson-White).