Pirates' (11-6, 0-2 Conference USA) senior Akeem Richmond's 20 points and sophomore forward Michael Zangari's first career double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) were not enough to capture the team's first win in conference play.
FAU (6-11, 2-1 C-USA) had four players score into double-figures led by sophomore guard Trapp Jackson, who was 6-for-10 from three-point range for a game-high 22 points. Junior center Justin Raffington grabbed a game-best 13 rebounds – seven of which were offensive – to go along with 16 points.
The score was tied, 56-56 with less than nine minutes remaining in the game when foul trouble caught up with ECU. The Pirates' defensive stopper Paris Roberts-Campbell fouled out and three others were in danger of disqualifying with at least three fouls. Two of them had four.
Freshman guard Marquan Botley provided the Owls a cushion down the stretch. With FAU leading 60-57, Botley scored 11 of the team's next 13 points – hitting three 3's during the spurt – to fuel a back-breaking 13-4 run. He finished with 17 points.
ECU was in control early on Thursday before it got in foul trouble. The Pirates jumped out to an 11-4 advantage stemming off made-3's from Richmond, freshman Caleb White and junior Antonio Robinson.
They built their lead up to 16-5, their largest of the game, before FAU recovered. The Owls put together a key 13-3 run to tie the game, 30-30, with 24 seconds remaining in the first half. On the ensuing possession, Richmond drilled a triple to give ECU a 33-30 lead going into halftime.
Jackson was instrumental in keeping the game close with his 15 first-half points.
Richmond continued his success from beyond the arc in the second half by hitting his first three-pointers to put ECU in front 42-38. He finished 6-for-14 on 3's.
FAU responded by attacking ECU's interior defense and found success. The Owls went on a 10-2 run to take their first lead of the game.
The Pirates quickly turn around Saturday night when they close their two-game road trip at Florida International. Tip-off time is set for 5 p.m. from Miami.
The game will be broadcast on the Pirates IMG Sports Network and you can follow IES on Twitter at @InsideECUSports for live updates.