ECU men’s basketball comes up just short against South Carolina

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Meechie Johnson and Myles Stute scored 15 points apiece and South Carolina held on to beat East Carolina 68-62 on Saturday.

B.J. Mack added 13 points for the Gamecocks (8-1) which shot 43.8% (21 for 48 overall). Johnson, Stute and Mack combined to make 14 of the team’s 21-made baskets.

RJ Felton scored 15 points, Ezra Ausar and Bobby Pettiford Jr. scored 14 points apiece and Brandon Johnson 10 for East Carolina (6-4).

Mack’s 3-pointer with 1:22 left gave South Carolina a 62-60 lead and it never trailed again. Pettiford tied it after an ECU timeout before Mack made 1 of 2 foul shots with 37 seconds left for a 63-62 advantage. On its next possession, Ausar lost control of the ball underneath the basket and it went out of bounds. Ta’Lon Cooper made 1 of 2 fouls shots on South Carolina’s next possession for a two-point lead. ECU’s Pettiford turned it over on the Pirates next possession and Davis sank two foul shots with four seconds left for the final margin.

East Carolina rallied from a 35-28 halftime deficit and outscored the Gamecocks 12-3 and took its first lead at 40-38 on Ausar’s soft layin in the lane.

The Gamecocks turned an 11-10 lead into a 23-12 margin with 3-pointers coming from Davis, two from Cooper and Morris Ugusuk with each make off an assist as South Carolina worked the ball around the perimeter to counter the Pirates’ 2-3 zone.

East Carolina responded with a 12-3 run pushing the pace to get within 26-24 with 3:27 before halftime, but South Carolina outscored the Pirates 9-4 and went to intermission up 35-28.

Saturday marked the first time the Pirates had welcomed a Southeastern Conference opponent to Minges Coliseum since 2002 when ECU beat Ole Miss, 65-58.

The Gamecocks hadn’t visited Minges Coliseum since Jan. 13, 1988, when South Carolina defeated ECU 78-51. The Pirates now are 2-3 in home games against South Carolina.

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