Every USF player to see extended minutes contributed at least two points, led by senior Melvin Buckley's 20 points. Freshman Solomon Bozeman also chipped in 16 points, five rebounds and three assists in the win.
The Bulls dominated the boards at both ends of the court, finishing with a 51-28 advantage overall and a 15-7 margin at the offensive end. Senior McHugh Mattis topped the roster with 14 boards and sophomore Aris Williams chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds in his first career start.
The two teams traded the lead early in the first half, but it was the Bulls who held a 28-23 advantage at the intermission. The Pirates shot just 29.0 percent from the field in the opening frame, but 11 USF turnovers led to 13 ECU points to keep the Bulls from extending the lead even further.
USF cut down its turnovers in the second half, with just four following the break, and as a result the Bulls moved ahead by as many as 11 points midway through the period. ECU had one last run left, cutting the gap to 43-39 with 11:06 left. A trey by Buckley, however, pushed the advantage back to seven points and the Pirates would get no closer than five points the rest of the way.
Free throw shooting down the stretch proved to be the difference. USF concluded the night 18-of-24 (75 percent) from the line, thanks to a 10-of-10 performance by Bozeman.
The Bulls will take a break this week to concentrate on finals before returning to action on Sunday against Norfolk State at the Duel In The Desert on Dec. 17.
USF Men BBall Win 65-52 At East Carolina
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