GREENVILLE — Southern Methodist forged an 11-0 lead and was not threatened in a 77-58 American Athletic Conference win over East Carolina in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Five players scored in double figures for the Mustangs as they improved to 16-12 overall and 6-9 in the AAC.
ECU (10-16, 4-11) was led by Isaac Fleming with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Fleming also had a technical foul and five of the team’s 13 turnovers.
The Pirates didn’t score until freshman Dimitri Spasojevic dropped a short jump hook with 14:24 left in the first half.
“We came out flat, distracted and as a coach you scratch your head sometimes and try to figure out how something like this happens, particularly with our team because we’ve been playing really good basketball lately,” said interim ECU coach Michael Perry. “That’s what’s disappointing because you don’t see this coming. … To come out tonight with a lackluster approach to start the game was very disappointing.”
ECU closed within 12-6 but SMU reeled off 14 unanswered points to extend its lead to 26-6.
The Pirates got no closer than 13 points in the second half.
The Mustangs, playing without standout Shake Milton, ended a five-game losing streak with their eighth straight win in the series with ECU.
B.J. Tyson had 14 points in the loss, becoming the sixth player in school history to exceed 1,500 career points.
Spasojevic and K.J. Davis scored six points each. Shawn Williams had five points on one for 11 field goal shooting. Aaron Jackson and Kentrell Barkley added two points each.
Barkley returned after a two-game absence but picked up two technicals and had to leave the game in the second half.
SMU was led by 20 points from Jahmal McMurray. The Mustangs got 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists from Ben Emelogu. Jimmy Whitt had 13 in the win. Adding 11 apiece were Elijah Landrum and Akoy Agau.
The Pirates visit Houston on Sunday for a 3 p.m. tipoff at Texas Southern University.