GREENVILLE — East Carolina came from nine points down in the final minutes to stay perfect in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum for the 2021-22 season with a 68-67 win over Southern Miss on Tuesday.
Tristen Newton had 22 points and six assists as the Pirates improved to 9-0 at home and 9-3 overall going into their American Athletic Conference opener.
ECU hosts Wichita State on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m.
The Pirates trailed 58-49 when Vance Jackson hit a 3-pointer with 7:24 remaining to start a closing run for ECU.
Jackson’s driving layup with 1:23 to go put the Pirates ahead to stay by the final margin.
The Golden Eagles (4-8), who lost their sixth straight, had possession on their offensive baseline for an inbounds play with 10 seconds to go. Jaron Pierre Jr. missed a 3-pointer from the left side and J.J. Miles claimed the rebound for ECU.
Brandon Suggs rimmed out a free throw for the Pirates with four seconds left, but a heave from the backcourt by Isaih Moore of the visitors was off target as time expired.
ECU led 23-12 with 5:54 left in the first half.
“We had a stretch where we really didn’t think very clearly,” said Pirates coach Joe Dooley. “We sort of gathered and regrouped. One good thing we didn’t do, we didn’t turn the ball over.”
ECU committed nine turnovers to 14 for Southern Miss. The visitors made 28 of 56 field goal attempts for 50 percent while the Pirates were 23 for 58 for 39.7 percent.
Free throw shooting helped make up the disparity as ECU was 18 for 24 at the line while the Golden Eagles were 3-for-3. The Pirates led 7-2 in steals and had a 34-32 rebounding advantage that included a 13-5 lead on the offensive glass.
Jackson had 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds for ECU. Suggs scored 11 and Miles added eight points.Brandon Johnsoin had five points.
Newton, Ludgy Debaut and Johnson each had four rebounds. Tremont Robinson-White had three points, three rebounds and two assists. Alanzo Frink and R.J. Felton each contributed two points.
Pierre had 20 points in the setback. Tyler Stevenson had 16 points and eight rebounds. Rashad Bolden tallied 12 points. Moore finished with nine points and nine rebounds.