GREENVILLE — East Carolina honored the memory of Jeff Charles with an emotional 75-71 American Athletic Conference victory over Cincinnati on Wednesday night in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
Charles, also known as ‘The Voice,’ died Friday in New Orleans where the Pirates were preparing to play Tulane. He began doing play-by-play description of ECU games in 1988.
The game with the Green Wave was postponed and will be rescheduled.
A moment of silence was held before tipoff and a video salute was presented during the matchup which the Bearcats led, 65-49, with less than nine minutes remaining.
Cincinnati was looking for its eighth straight win in the series, but the Pirates were motivated to pay tribute to Charles, the radio announcer who regularly traveled with the team.
“This was in honor of Jeff,” said ECU coach Mike Schwartz on the Pirate radio network. “That’s the bottom line.”
Schwartz and staff wore white T-shirts with the initials JC for Charles.
The rally launched with a 3-pointer from Quentin Diboundje with 8:41 to go. ECU outscored the visitors, 26-6, over the last nine minutes, taking the lead on a contested mid-range jumper from the right by R.J. Felton, that put the hosts on top, 72-71, with 58 seconds remaining.
The Pirates missed their first four field goal attempts of the second half, but hit 17 of their last 25 shots, a 68 percent accuracy rate.
ECU turned tenacious on the boards with a 46-27 rebounding advantage.
The Bearcats had a 46-29 lead on the boards in an 83-55 win over the Pirates in Cincinnati on Jan. 11.
ECU had offensive balance in evening the season series as Brandon Johnson had 16 points. Felton finished with 15. Ezra Ausar had 14 points and 14 rebounds. Diboundje scored 13 and Jaden Walker added 10.
Felton had six assists.
Cincinnati (17-10, 8-6 AAC) got 19 points each from Landers Nolley II and Jeremiah Davenport.
Patrick Kinas did the play-by-play with an empty chair where Charles normally sat. There were 4,065 on hand.
The Pirates (13-12, 4-8) visit Southern Methodist on Sunday for a 3 p.m. tipoff (ESPN+). The Mustangs (9-17, 4-9) host No. 2 Houston on Thursday at 7 p.m. (ESPN2). ECU took a 77-72 victory over SMU in Greenville on Feb. 4.
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