GREENVILLE — Brandon Johnson had a career high 29 points to lead East Carolina to a 91-61 win over Division III Ferrum in the Pirates’ season opener on Monday night in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
Johnson hit eight of his 14 field goal attempts, dropped all 10 of his free throws and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
“I didn’t do too much forcing,” Johnson said on the Pirate radio network. “I let the game come to me. I played off my teammates and I wasn’t too rushed.”
Johnson had ample support in the scoring column as Ezra Ausar had 13 points while Kalib LaCount and R.J. Felton tallied 11 each. Scoring eight apiece were Jaden Walker and Benjamin Bayela. Kansas transfer Bobby Pettiford Jr. added four points.
LSU transfer Cam Hayes is awaiting a ruling on his eligibility by the NCAA and did not play.
The Pirates hit 27 of 52 from the floor, 51.9 percent, as LaCount had six assists.
ECU dropped 30 of 39 free throws for 76.9 percent, compared to three of six (50 percent) for the Panthers (0-1).
The Pirates led 32-26 on the boards and had fewer turnovers, 15-19.
Ausar scored on a layup 19 seconds into the game and ECU led the rest of the way. The Pirates were on top, 41-31, at the half.
Jikari Johnson led the visitors with 19 points.
Second-year ECU coach Michael Schwartz planned to work on isolation defense before the Pirates host Campbell on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Camels started their season with a 59-48 win over Navy in Buies Creek on Monday night.