GREENVILLE — East Carolina evened its American Athletic Conference record at 1-1 with a 62-59 win over South Florida in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Tuesday night.
Sophomore Jayden Gardner had 23 points and 10 rebounds as the Pirates improved to 7-8 overall.
ECU led 51-38 with 13:11 remaining after a 19-foot jumper by Brandon Suggs, who had 12 points.
USF (8-8, 1-2) rallied to go ahead 57-55 with 3:02 left on a 17-footer by Laquincy Rideau.
Gardner scored in the paint with 2:41 to go for a tie at 57 and Bitumba Baruti connected from outside the arc to put the Pirates ahead to stay at 60-57 with 1:26 to play.
Tristen Newton made two free throws at the 15-second mark for the final margin after claiming a defensive rebound.
“The big thing I was happy with was when we got ourselves in a jam at the end and they took the lead, we found a way to battle our way out of it,” said ECU coach Joe Dooley.
Tyrie Jackson had nine points for the Pirates. Newton scored seven and Baruti added six.
Charles Coleman had five rebounds in 10 minutes and 33 seconds.
Rideau led the visitors with 16 points, David Collins tallied 14 and Xavier Castaneda netted 10 points.
Justin Brown had 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who led 37-32 on the boards.
ECU made 23 of 50 shots from the floor, 46 percent, including seven of 18 on 3-pointers, 38.9 percent, but the Pirates struggled at the line, making just nine of 20 for 45 percent.
ECU hosts Southern Methodist on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Mustangs are 11-2 overall and 1-0 in the AAC going into a league game with Central Florida (9-5, 0-2) in Dallas on Wednesday at 8 p.m.