Mustangs Rout Pirates 77-54
Looking to pair together its first win streak in American Conference play, the East Carolina men’s basketball team was purely outmatched in a 77-54 road loss against SMU. The Mustangs (14-4, 5-1 AAC) assisted on 21 of their 30 made-field goals, shooting 59 percent against the Pirates (8-10, 1-4 AAC) Saturday. While facing NCAA allegations of academic improprieties, SMU made it look easy, and it pretty much was. There were plenty of dunks for last season’s NIT runner-up — including a one-handed slam in the game’s closing moments by walk-on Jonathan Wilfong — and even a blocked shot that was followed by a Dikembe Mutumbo-inspired finger wag in the second half to send the vast majority of fans inside Moody Coliseum home satisfied. The Pirates have now lost 11 straight road games dating back to last February and four out of their last five games overall to begin conference play. Shooting guard Terry Whisnant had a game-best 24 points on 6-for-11 shooting from 3-point range and White finished with 13 points. Forward Michel Nzege had six points and a team-high nine rebounds. ECU’s leading scorer, freshman B.J. Tyson was held scoreless until he hit a two-point jumper in the game’s final two minutes. Junior guard Nic Moore led SMU’s five double-figure scorers with a team-best 14 points and supplied a game-high six assists. Moore’s classmate, forward Markus Kennedy, scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, and guard Sterling Brown had 10 points and seven rebounds. The Mustangs scored the first seven points of the game and never looked back — jumping out to a 21-9 lead in the first half. With the help of a pair of 3s from sophomores Marshall Guilmette and White, the Pirates trimmed the deficit down to 30-22, but they could not sustain any offense. SMU the game’s next 13 points — capped by a monster slam by Ryan Manuel on the baseline — on its way to a 17-2 run to push its lead back to 47-22. The Pirates never recovered and couldn’t put together much resistance to fight back as the Mustangs’ advantage ballooned to as many as 32 points, 62-29, with eight minutes, 22 seconds left in the second half. SMU snapped a two-game skid in the head-to-head series with its victory Saturday and now leads the series over the Pirates 6-4. ECU will have a week off before returning home to host Tulsa next Saturday at Minges Coliseum. Tip-off time is scheduled for noon on ESPNews.
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