GREENVILLE — Temple held off East Carolina for a 59-57 win on Wednesday night in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Brandon Johnson had 11 points, 18 rebounds and four assists for the Pirates (9-5) for his seventh double-double of the season as 4,352 looked on.
Jaden Walker also had 11 points for ECU with six steals. Walker’s 42-footer at the buzzer gave the hosts a 23-22 lead at the half.
The Pirates made just 20 of 35 free throws in failing to win their first AAC game at home for the first time in four seasons.
“We were physical and we rebounded the ball well, but it’s tough when you miss that many free throws,” said Pirates coach Michael Schwartz.
ECU had a 48-39 advantage on the boards
Ezra Ausar had 10 points in 32 minutes before fouling out. Javon Small had nine points and seven rebounds as a winning streak ended at three games for the Pirates.
Small’s driving layup attempt with 13 seconds left caromed off the glass and the front of the rim with Temple leading, 57-55. Kur Jongkuch claimed the rebound for the Owls, who extended the lead to four points with two free throws by Zach Hicks with 11 seconds to go.
The Owls (7-7) were without Kinston native Damian Dunn, who was averaging 14.7 points, and Jamille Reynolds, who was scoring at an 11.1 clip with a team-high 6.3 rebounds.
Khalif Battle led the visitors with 18 points. Jahlil White had 10 points and seven rebounds. Jongkuch paced Temple in rebounding with nine.
ECU continues AAC play at Wichita State (7-6) on Saturday with a 4 p.m. tipoff. The Shockers dropped their first league game, 52-45, at Central Florida on Wednesday night.