GREENVILLE, N.C. – UNCG made a run midway through the second half to close to within 10, but East Carolina used a 20-6 run to pull away late for an 81-53 win in nonconference men's basketball action Saturday evening at Minges Coliseum.
Darrius Morrow led the way for the Pirates (5-2) with 21 points and five rebounds. He was 7-of-8 from the floor and 7-for-10 from the free throw line. Jontae Scherrod added 17 points for the Pirates, who had four scorers in double figures.
UNCG had cut the lead to 10, 53-43, with 12:43 to play, but scored just 10 points the rest of the way as the Pirates pulled away for their third straight win.
"We got off to a tough start, but I thought we fought back quickly," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "We fought back and we were able to maintain where we were. But we had trouble containing Brock (Young). We made a run in the second half, but then we missed a couple of shots that could have made it a little more interesting.
"Morrow hurt us, too. We've rebounded well in some early games this season but we didn't tonight. That's disappointing. We've rebounded against some bigger teams and you hope to get to be a better rebounding team playing against those teams, but right now I think it is beating us up a little bit."
The Spartans struggled with Morrow in the opening half. The big-bodied post player had 28 points and 19 rebounds in two previous meetings with UNCG and picked up from there on Saturday. He was 4-of-5 from the floor on his way to 11 first-half points that helped ECU to a 37-24 lead at the intermission.
The Pirates were hot from three-point range early on, knocking down their first four attempts to open up a 20-10 advantage midway through the first half. UNCG was finally able to get it back to single-digits with 4:31 left in the half on Korey Van Dussen's pull-up 15-footer in transition, cutting it to 27-18. But after a Van Dussen bucket cut the margin to eight, the Pirates scored nine of the final 13 points to close out the half and take a 13-point lead into the locker room.
The Pirates expanded the lead to 20, 53-33, early in the second half before the Spartans ran off 10 straight points. A monster dunk by David Williams followed Trevis Simpson's 15-footer to pull the Spartans back to within 10 with 12:43 to play. The Spartans held the Pirates scoreless for three minutes during the run to get back into it.
But the Priates slowly stretched the lead back out again. A conventional three-point play by Morrow gave the Pirates their largest lead to that point, 71-49. Another bucket by Morrow put him over the 20-point mark a minute later and capped off a 20-6 ECU run. After quieting Morrow in the beginning of the second half, he scored seven of his 10 second-half points late to help put the game away.
UNCG committed just 12 turnovers on the night, but the Pirates shot 54 percent from the floor for the night (26-of-48) and went to the free throw line nearly twice as often (32-18).
The Spartans return to action Monday night when they take on North Carolina A&T at the Greensboro Coliseum. The first meeting between the two cross-city schools in nearly a decade gets underway at 7 p.m.
EAST CAROLINA 81, UNCG 53
Korey Van Dussen 5-10 2-2 13; Trevis Simpson 4-12 1-2 10; Brian Cole 3-5 0-0 6; Aaron Brackett 2-3 0-0 5; Kyle Randall 1-7 2-2 4; Aloysius Henry 1-3 2-5 4; Cody Henegar 1-2 2-3 4; David Williams 1-4 2-4 4; Drew Parker 1-3 0-0 3; Elhanan Bone 0-2 0-0 0; Brandon Evans 0-3 0-0 0; Darrius Sellers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-54 11-18 53.
EAST CAROLINA (5-2)
Darrius Morrow 7-8 7-10 21; Jontae Sherrod 4-9 7-8 17; Jamar Abrams 5-6 0-0 13; Brock Young 3-5 4-6 10; Erin Straughn 3-6 1-2 9; Robert Sampson 1-3 1-2 3; Petar Torlak 1-2 0-0 3; Wakefield Ellison 1-2 0-1 2; Chad Wynn 1-4 0-1 2;
Corvonn Gaines 0-2 1-2 1; Darius Morales 0-0 0-0 0; Evan Salzano 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-48 21-32 81.
Halftime: ECU 37-24. 3-point goals--UNCG 4-17 (Aaron Brackett 1-1; Trevis Simpson 1-3; Korey Van Dussen 1-3; Drew Parker 1-3; David Williams 0-1; Brandon Evans 0-2; Kyle Randall 0-3; Brian Cole 0-1), East Carolina 8-16 (Jamar Abrams 3-3; Erin Straughn 2-4; Jontae Sherrod 2-5; Petar Torlak 1-2; Wakefield Ellison 0-1; Brock Young 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, East Carolina-None. Rebounds—UNCG 25 (Korey Van Dussen 6; Aloysius Henry 6), East Carolina 41 (Erin Straughn 6; Jontae Sherrod 6). Assists--UNCG 11 (Kyle Randall 5), East Carolina 21 (Corvonn Gaines 7). Total fouls--UNCG 23, East Carolina 16. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, East Carolina-None. A-3168
FREE THROWS: Former Spartan and Greenville native Montel Smith paid a visit to his former teammates prior to Saturday's contest at Minges Coliseum… the Spartans committed just 12 turnovers in the loss, although eight of them were steals again. The Pirates went to the free throw line 32 times, compared to UNCG's 18 attempts, and also outrebounded the Spartans, 41-25… UNCG had just two field goals in the final 12:53.
- UNCG -