Second-half surge lifts SMU past ECU

ECU Pirates

(ECU Sports Information photo)

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DALLAS – Kendrick Davis scored 17 points and Feron Hunt recorded a double-double to lead SMU to a 70-55 win over East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams Wednesday night.

Hunt scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Darius McNeil added 13 points off the bench. Ethan Chargois had nine rebounds.

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Leading 30-28 at halftime, SMU (5-0, 1-0 AAC) seized control of the game in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, as it outscored the Pirates 19-7, including 12 unanswered. ECU (5-1, 0-1 AAC) made just 2 of 14 field goal attempts, including 10 consecutive misses, during the game changing stretch.

The Pirates pulled within nine, 54-45, with eight minutes remaining but the Mustangs stretched their lead back out to 17 and settled in for a 15-point victory.

SMU shot over 53 percent from the floor in the second half after ECU held them to just 35.7 percent in the second half.

The Pirates shot over 41 percent in the first half, but made just 10 of 30 field goal attempts during the final 20 minutes and finished the game shooting 37.3 percent compared to the Mustangs’ 45.0 percent.

Jayden Gardner scored 13 points to lead ECU, who suffered its first loss of the season after opening with five straight wins. Bitumba Baruti added 11 points off the bench.

ECU jumped out to a 11-2 lead in the opening five minutes before the Mustangs spurted out to a two-point lead, 18-16, following a 16-5 spurt.

Six lead changes ensued over the final seven minutes of the first half with SMU holding a slim lead at intermission.

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