GREENVILLE — Sophomore guard Tristen Newton scored 30 points on 10 of 16 field-goal shooting with six assists as East Carolina improved to 3-0 with a 95-79 win over Western Carolina in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Sunday.
The Pirates made 34 of 66 from the field (51.5 percent), nine of 18 from beyond the arc (50 percent) and 18 of 22 free throws (81.8 percent).
A 3-pointer by Newton broke a tie at 19 and started a 14-0 run for ECU, which expanded its lead to 59-33 at the half.
“We got off to a good start shooting the ball,” said Pirates coach Joe Dooley. “Our defense was solid but we gave up too many second-chance points. In the first half alone, we gave up 19. ..;. When we were rebounding and out and running, we were effective.
“Outside of a stretch at the end of the game, we played good defensively. They did a lot of dribble drives that bothered us. That is something we can correct. We had a good assist to turnover ratio (21 to 8). When we don’t turn it over, it can become hard for teams to run on us.”
Western Carolina (1-2) had 19 turnovers
“We got 25 points off of turnovers,” Dooley said. “That is a good number. It is hard withstanding a team hitting 17 threes, but the guys did a nice job. With 46 of 63 shots being threes, it is very hard to defend. We did a nice job of taking care of the ball and, when we rebounded, getting out in transition.”
The Catamounts had a 37-33 rebounding advantage. Nick Robinson had 28 points to pace the visitors.
Brandon Suggs had 15 points and six assists for ECU. Tremont Robinson-White had 14 points and five steals. Vance Jackson, Ludgy Debaut and Brandon Johnson had eight points each. Johnson had six assists.
The Pirates open the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Thursday, Nov. 18, against Oklahoma at Coastal Carolina’s HTC Center (ESPNU, 7 p.m.).