GREENVILLE — East Carolina was a defensive rebound away from a likely American Athletic Conference comeback win over visiting Cincinnati on Sunday.
The Pirates rallied from a 51-39 deficit with seven minutes to go and took a 59-58 lead on two free throws by Vance Jackson with 25 seconds left.
David DeJulius rebounded his own miss and scored on a putback with 3.7 seconds left to give the Bearcats a 60-59 win.
ECU’s Tristen Newton was short on a desperation 3-pointer under pressure from about 30 feet as time expired
“The last four or five minutes, we executed great,” said Pirates coach Joe Dooley on the Pirate Radio Network. “We defended really hard. … One rebound we don’t come up with. That’s a rough one.”
Jackson had 25 points and 10 rebounds as ECU slipped to 10-2 at home, 11-9 overall and 2-6 in league play. Newton had 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.
R.J. Felton had seven points and five rebounds. Alanzo Frink totaled six points and five rebounds. Tremont Robinson-White finished with five points and four assists. J.J. Miles added two points and five boards.
Jackson had 35 points in a 79-71 loss at Cincinnati on Jan. 12.
The Pirates missed all 12 of their shots inside the arc in the first half and trailed, 32-26, at the break.
ECU made 15 of 52 field goal attempts for the game for 28.8 percent, while limiting the visitors to 21 of 60 (35 percent).
“Thankfully, we were able to get to the free throw line,” Dooley said. “We were in the bonus early in the first half. … The free throw line saved us.”
The Pirates hit 23 of 27 foul shots for 85.2 percent.
The Bearcats (15-6, 5-3) got 21 points from Mika Adams-Woods, 15 from Jeremiah Davenport and 14 from DeJulius.
ECU will be home to take on Temple (11-7, 4-3) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Owls topped the Pirates, 78-75, in Philadelphia on Jan, 8 as Damian Dunn hit a three at the buzzer in scoring 33 points.