NASSAU, BAHAMAS — East Carolina fell 77-69 to Rice on Sunday as the Owls overcame a 32-27 halftime deficit in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase.
The score was tied at 49 when Drew Peterson scored five straight points for Rice (6-3) and the Owls maintained a lead the remainder of the game.
Junior guard Tyrie Jackson led ECU (2-5) with 20 points.
Sophomore Jayden Gardner had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Pirates before he was ejected on a Flagrant 2 foul with 5:38 to go.
Despite Gardner’s exit, ECU pulled within 67-61 with 3:29 to go on a jumper by Jackson
A 5-0 run by the Pirates’ former Conference USA foe pushed the margin to 72-61 with 1:38 left.
Freshman Brandon Suggs added 12 points in the setback.
Peterson had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Owls. Ako Adams had 15 points in the win. Robert Martin had 14 points and seven rebounds. Chris Mullins contributed 11 points.
The Pirates had a 45-37 rebounding advantage, but were just one for 20 on 3-point attempts. The lone three for ECU didn’t come until Logan Curtis found the range with 11 seconds remaining.
The Pirates will look to regroup from a 36 percent field goal shooting performance as they visit James Madison on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Dukes are 5-1 following a 76-53 home win over Liberty (1-5) on Saturday.