FORT WORTH, Texas – 22 points each from RJ Felton and Jaden Walker propelled No. 9 seed East Carolina to a 73-58 victory over eighth-seeded South Florida in the first game of the 2023 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship Thursday at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.
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With the win, the Pirates (16-16) will face No. 1 Houston in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 10 at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT on ESPN2. It was the Pirates’ first win at the American Championship since defeating Temple in the First Round in 2017.
South Florida (14-18) led by as many as 10 halfway into the first half before the Pirates went on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to one at 26-25 with 5:42 remaining. ECU closed the half on a 16-4 run to go into break with a 41-33 lead.
In the second half, the Pirates built their lead to as many as 20 with just over a minute to go.
Walker added 10 assists to go along with his 22 points, while Felton converted four 3-pointers on the way to his 22. Ezra Ausar and Dave Kasanganay each added 10 points.
Tyler Harris led South Florida with 26 points, including six 3-pointers.
The latest tournament information can be found online at The American’s Championship Central by visiting www.TheAmerican.org/mbb. Tickets for the championship are on sale through Ticketmaster.
2023 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship Schedule
First Round | Thursday, March 9
Game 1: No. 9 East Carolina 73, No. 8 South Florida 58
Game 2: No. 10 SMU vs. No. 7 UCF | 2:30 p.m. | ESPNU
Game 3: No. 11 Tulsa vs. No. 6 Wichita State | 7 p.m. | ESPNU
Quarterfinals | Friday, March 10
Game 4: No. 9 East Carolina vs. No. 1 Houston | 1 p.m. | ESPN2
Game 5: No. 5 Temple vs. No. 4 Cincinnati | 3 p.m. | ESPN2
Game 6: Game 2 Winner vs. No. 2 Memphis | 7 p.m. | ESPNU
Game 7: Game 3 Winner vs. No. 3 Tulane | 9 p.m. | ESPNU
Semifinals | Saturday, March 11
Game 8: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner | 3 p.m. | ESPN2
Game 9: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner | 5 p.m. | ESPN2
Final | Sunday, March 12
Game 10: Semifinal Winners | 3:15 p.m. | ESPN