Gardner’s big night helps ECU win home opener against NC Wesleyan

ECU Pirates

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GREENVILLE, N.C. — Jayden Gardner led four players in double figures with 27 points as East Carolina eased by North Carolina Wesleyan 91-62 in its home opener on Tuesday.

Gardner finished 11-of-12 shooting from the floor and 5-of-7 at the foul line in 28 minutes of action.

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Brandon Suggs added 14 points, Tristen Newton had 11 and Bitumba Baruti scored 10.

The Pirates (2-0) shot 51.5 percent from the field and recorded 24 assists on 36 made field goals, while committing just nine turnovers. ECU scored 36 points of 24 Battling Bishop miscues and outscored their opponent in the paint by 18, 40-22.

Tremont Robinson-White dished out a career-high nine assists without committing a turnover and Newton matched his career-best mark of seven dimes. Newton also grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.

Freshman Noah Farrakhan made his Pirate debut, sinking a pair of 3s and handing out three assists. ECU finished 9-of-23 outside the 3-point arc after missing their first four attempts.

ECU used a 28-8 run during the first half to turn a 13-11 lead into a 41-19 advantage as Suggs buried his second of two 3s to cap the outburst.

N.C. Wesleyan (0-3) finished the first half on a 11-3 run and ECU led by only 14 at halftime, 44-30.

A 16-4 spurt at the start of the second half gave the Pirates a 26-point advantage that ballooned to the final margin of 29.

Damon McDowell led N.C. Wesleyan with 26 points and Isaiah Lewis had 14.

It was the Pirates’ 18th consecutive home opening victory and seventh straight in the series against the Battling Bishops.

ECU has opened the season with back-to-back wins for the first time in four years and will look to open the season with three straight victories for the first time since 2013-14 when it hosts Radford on Saturday.

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