Davidson rallies past ECU, 76-67

ECU Pirates

Tristen Newton (ECU Sports Information photo)

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CONWAY, S.C. – Davidson out-scored East Carolina by 20 in the second half Sunday evening to post a 76-67 victory in the fifth-place game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational inside Coastal Carolina University’s HTC Center.

Tristen Newton led all scorers with 28 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field while Hyungjung Lee netted 25 for the victorious Wildcats. Luka Brajkovic and Foster Loyer added 14 and 10 respectively as Lee completed a double-double by pulling down 10 rebounds. Vance Jackson notched his second double-double of the campaign, finishing out the weekend with 12 points and 11 boards.

ECU (4-2) cooled off considerably after halftime, hitting just seven of 24 from the floor while Davidson (3-2) drained 16 of 30 (53.3 percent). The Pirates out-rebounded the Wildcats 37-33 but were out-scored 32-18 in the paint.

“They totally dominated the second half,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “I thought the big difference was on the backboards. Our shot selection also got a little suspect when we got tired. We need to do a better job understanding time, score and momentum. We led the game for 30 minutes, but not the last four which were the most important. I thought we took some bad shots and missed from free throws. Their guys did a good job making some huge shots and running down loose balls. That was the difference in the game.”

East Carolina got off to a quick start from the jump, knocking down a trio of three-point field goals to build an 11-5 lead at the 16:23 mark. Davidson answered with a run of its own, out-scoring the Pirates 9-2 to grab a 14-13 advantage with 11:53 remaining before the intermission.

Unfazed, ECU received a triple from J.J. Miles that represented the first three of eight straight that put East Carolina back ahead 22-14. The Pirates began to pull away as the half wore down, going up by double digits for the first time at 38-28 on the back of a pair of Newton free throws with 2:30 showing on the clock. ECU extended the lead to 12 before Miles hit a jumper from the right side at the buzzer to leave the Pirates with a 45-34 cushion at the break.

East Carolina shot absolutely lights out in the opening 20, knocking down 15 of 29 from the field (51.7 percent), seven of 14 from three-point land and a perfect 8 of 8 at the line. Davidson was not quite as good, draining just 12 of 32 for a 37.5-percent showing. The Pirates also dominated the boards to the tune of 24-11, scoring seven second-chance points. Newton netted a game-best 18 points while Lee collected 15 of his own on the strength of a trio of three-point field goals.

ECU enjoyed its largest lead of the evening right out of the intermission as Newton dropped in a bucket with just 28 seconds gone to make it 47-34. After a Newton three put the Pirates up 51-39, the Wildcats ripped off an 18-4 run to take the upper hand at 57-55 with 7:47 remaining in the contest.

Tremont Robinson-White would respond right away with a three to make it 58-57 in favor of East Carolina, but that would be the last time the Pirates would lead in the game. Davidson hit a couple of clutch shots down the stretch, including a triple by Brajkovic at the 1:05 mark that gave the Wildcats a five-point cushion at 72-67. ECU would not score again.

Up Next: East Carolina returns to the court after Thanksgiving, kicking off a four-game homestand Nov. 27 with a non-conference affair versus Coppin State. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

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