GREENVILLE — East Carolina could not overcome a sizable early deficit in an 85-74 American Athletic Conference loss to visiting Temple on Wednesday night.
The Owls won for the seventh time in their last eight games in improving to 14-3 overall and 4-1 in the AAC.
ECU (8-9, 1-4) fell behind 21-2 at the outset.
The Pirates went on a 9-0 run to start the second half and pulled within 41-39 before Temple had an 8-0 spree to restore a working margin.
Shizz Alston Jr. led the Owls with 23 points, including seven baskets from beyond the arc. Quinton Rose added 19 points in the win. Nate Pierre-Louis added 16 points. Ernest Aflakpui had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Freshman Jayden Gardner led ECU with 27 points, eight rebounds and four assists. K.J. Davis scored 15 points. Seth LeDay had 12 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Isaac Fleming had 11 points and Shawn Williams tallied nine.
Owls coach Fran Dunphy has announced his retirement following the 2018-19 season.
“A gentleman and a great ambassador for the game,” said Pirates coach Joe Dooley of his Temple counterpart.
Next up for ECU is a game at No. 21 Houston on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Dooley said the weekend break will give the Pirate coaches an opportunity to do some recruiting.