CINCINNATI — East Carolina was in danger of getting blown away at Cincinnati on Wednesday night before the Bearcats withstood a Pirate comeback for a 79-71 American Athletic Conference win in Fifth Third Arena.
Vance Jackson had 35 points for ECU, which trailed 34-11 with 7:42 left in the first half.
The Pirates (10-5, 1-2 AAC) outscored Cincinnati (12-5, 2-2) by a 42-30 margin over the last 20 minutes.
“The problem in the first half, all the things we emphasized — transition defense, we didn’t get back,” said ECU coach Joe Dooley. “We were off-kilter offensively. We talk about it every day, but until we get that down, it’s going to be a problem.”
Jackson was 13 of 24 from the floor, including eight of 11 beyond the arc and made one of two free throws but he didn’t get much help. Tristen Newton was the only other Pirate to reach double figures as he had 11 points.
Freshman Javon Small had seven points in the setback. R.J. Felton scored five. Alanzo Frink had four points. Ludgy Debaut and Brandon Johnson scored three points each. Tremont Robinson-White netted two points and Brandon Suggs added one.
Jackson also had a game-high nine rebounds. Newton and Small had four assists apiece.
The hosts were led by 22 points from Jeremiah Davenport.
ECU slipped to 1-5 in games away from Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. but the Pirates will be home Saturday to take on Memphis (9-6, 3-2), which lost, 74-64, at Central Florida on Wednesday night.
“We’ll get our guys together (Thursday) afternoon and … get prepared,” Dooley said. “Hopefully, there will be a great crowd in Minges.”