Sophomore Jayden Gardner
led four Pirates in double figures with 22 points to help East Carolina snap a four-game losing streak with a 79-67 win over Campbell inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum Saturday.
Freshman Brandon Suggs
scored a career-best 16 points for ECU (3-7), while junior J.J. Miles
and freshman Tristen Newton
added 12 and 11 off the bench respectively.
After allowing Campbell (6-3) to score the game's first point East Carolina never trailed again. The Pirates used an 11-0 run over a five-minute stretch to take a 15-4 advantage midway through the first half and stretched their lead to 16, 25-9, with 7 1/2 minutes remaining before intermission.
The Camels closed the half on a 10-3 run to pull within eight at halftime, 38-30.
Cedric Henderson, who led Campbell with 18 points, brought his team within five less than five minutes into the second half. However, the Pirates stymied the turn as Gardner made two free throws, Newton finished a fast break and Miles drilled a 3 as ECU scored seven unanswered to push its lead back to double figures.
Campbell made another small run to cut the Pirates' lead to seven, 59-52, with 6:48 to play, but ECU didn't break. Suggs made two free throws with 1:32 remaining to cap a 15-8 run and give the Pirates a 14-point cushion, 74-60.
East Carolina made 26-of-29 free throw attempts with Gardner going 14-of-16 at the charity stripe and Suggs a perfect 7-of-7. Campbell was just 9-of-13 at the free throw and made only 8-of-28 shots outside the 3-point arc.
Milos Stajcic and Austin McCullough each scored 11 points for Campbell
East Carolina returns to the hardwood Tuesday, Dec. 17, against Maryland-Eastern Shore. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
East Carolina Head Coach Joe Dooley
"I thought we got off to a much better start. I thought that our defensive recognition and attention to detail was better, which I thought got us off to a good start with the exception really of a number of turnovers that we hadn't done this year."
On practice during the week
"We had a good week of preparation. We've probably won five of the last six practices. We were good which means we won the day. We talked about trying to stick with that. If we can win four out of five, or five out of six, you're going to get better."
On what the win means
"It's a tale of two seasons. You've seen teams that have started slowly and gotten better all year, and you've seen teams that started out great and sort of fizzled off at the end. Hopefully we can sort of keep building and these young guys will figure some things out."
Sophomore Jayden Gardner
On snapping the losing streak and picking up a victory
"It's exciting If you don't like being a winner you're playing the wrong sport, any sport really. It's nice to get back in the [win] column tonight."
On what he's been working on since last game
"Being more active and communicating with my teammates. We're pushing each other in practice... We've been getting practice really established and we've been doing a really good job at it, and we got some good results tonight."
On the team getting to the free throw line
"It's huge. We've been working on free throws everyday as well. The team locked in tonight and everybody really stepped up. I stepped up, Suggs stepped up, lots of guys stepped up tonight from the free throw line."
Freshman Brandon Suggs
On how it feels to break losing streak
"It feels good because we had a good week of practice, so I feel like all the work we did in practice showed today."
- East Carolina won its third straight in the series against Campbell and improved to 40-20 all-time against the Camels. It was the Pirates' seventh win on the last 10 meetings versus their instate foe.
- ECU Head Coach Joe Dooley improved to 5-0 against Campbell as the Pirates' leader.
- The Pirates scored a season-high 28 fast break points, besting their previous high of 12 in two games. ECU had scored just 27 fast break points in the previous five games combined.
- East Carolina used its ninth different starting lineup of the season as with the combination of Tremont Robinson-White, Tyrie Jackson, Edra Luster, Suggs and Gardner.
- The Pirates held their largest halftime lead of the season, eight points.
- With 22 points against Campbell, Gardner brought his season points total to 199, the most points by an ECU player in the first 10 games of a season since Blue Edwards scored 258 points in opening 10 games of the 1988-89 campaign.
- Gardner's 16 free throw attempts were three off his career high of 19 against Appalachian State last season (11/30/18) while his 14 makes were two shy of his career-best of 16, also versus the Mountaineers a year ago.
- Gardner scored over 20 points for the second straight game and fifth time this season. It was his 13th career 20-point game.
- Newton pulled down a season-best eight rebounds, besting his previous high of four set in three games.
- Suggs scored a career-best 16 points. His previous season-best was 14 against Kansas City in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase. He also grabbed a season-high nine rebounds to finish one board shy of his first double-double.
- Miles scored double figures for the third time this season, scoring 12 points in 22 minutes of action. It was his first game action since Nov. 24 against Rice as he missed the previous two games due to injury.