GREENVILLE — East Carolina trailed early and late against visiting Cleveland State before surging to a 72-69 win on Monday night.
The Pirates (2-2) faced an 11-2 deficit at the outset and were down 69-62 with just 1:50 left.
ECU’s 10-0 closing run started with a free throw by Isaac Fleming at the 1:42 mark. Fleming added two more from the line with 1:11 remaining to pull the Pirates within 69-65.
B.J. Tyson made a 3-pointer on an assist by Tyson to close the gap to 69-68 with 56 seconds to go.
The Pirates forced a turnover with extended defensive pressure as Tyree Appleby stepped out of bounds with 47 seconds left.
With 30 seconds to go, Fleming drove for the go-ahead basket and went to the line to complete a 3-point play.
Bobby Word of the Vikings missed a jumper and the ball went out of bounds to ECU.
Shawn Williams made one of two free throws with five seconds left for the final margin. Appleby missed a three with two seconds left for Cleveland State (1-3).
The Pirates had a 48-37 lead with 15:39 left to play after taking a 33-32 advantage into halftime.
Tyson led all scorers with 25 points. Kentrell Barkley scored 14 for the Pirates. Fleming had all eight of his points in the last 1:51 and handed out 11 assists. Dimitri Spasojevic also had eight points for ECU and grabbed seven rebounds.
Jabari Craig had six points and seven rebounds for the Pirates. Freshman Justin Whatley came off the bench to supply seven points.
The Vikings got 17 points from Bobby Word, 15 from Appleby and 14 from Stefan Kenic.
ECU made 27 of 52 field goal attempts for 51.9 percent, including seven of 19 beyond the arc for 36.8 percent, but struggled at the line, making just 11 of 25 for 44 percent.
The Pirates visit Rutgers for a 1 p.m. tipoff on Friday. The Scarlet Knights were 4-0 going into a home game with Bryant (0-3) tonight.