TULSA, OK — Tulsa never trailed in a 70-56 American Athletic Conference win over East Carolina on Wednesday night.
The Golden Hurricane matched its biggest lead with a 39-23 advantage at thehalf.
The Pirates pulled within eight points on several occasions in the last 20 minutes, the last time at 59-51 on a basket by Brandon Suggs with 5:07 left.
Tulsa ended a 2-game losing streak in improving to 16-8 overall and 8-3 in the AAC. Pirates coach Joe Dooley expected the hosts to come out with a sense of desperation and ECU was in a 23-7 hole with 11:44 left in the half.
“I thought we settled in a little bit towards the latter part of the first half,” said the ECU coach. “Then in the second half, we came out with a lot better energy and cut it to eight, and then we turned it over six of the next 13 times, which you can’t do on the road against a good team.”
J.J. Mile led the Pirates (10-15, 4-8) with 21 points on eight of 16 shooting, hitting four of 11 from beyond the arc.
Jayden Gardner added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Suggs finished with 13 points.
Tulsa was led by 24 points and 10 rebounds from Martins Igbanu.
ECU returns home to take on Cincinnati on Sunday at noon. The Bearcats (15-8, 8-3) host Memphis on Thursday at 7 p.m.