Pirates fall short at surging Memphis
The Daily Reflector
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Memphis basketball has the ability and talent to blow out opponents at the FedEx Forum and it beat East Carolina on Thursday night in Memphis, but it required a steadfast effort and late charge to put away the Pirates.
One game after it upset Cincinnati in Greenville, East Carolina started out hot before ultimately falling 78-72 to the Tigers. Memphis, which had six players score in double figures led by Tyler Harris’ 16 points, improved to 9-1 at home this season.
ECU’s Jayden Gardner led all scorers with 18 points. K.J. Davis recorded his first-career double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the Pirates (8-7, 1-2 American Athletic Conference).
The previous meeting between the teams was a 90-70 victory by Memphis last season, and the Tigers won by 30 points as recently as 2016.
A 12-1 ECU run in this one during the first six minutes reversed Memphis’ early 10-9 lead and gave the Pirates a 21-11 advantage.
UM (10-6, 2-1) didn’t lead again until converting two free throws, after a Justice Obasohan flagrant foul, for a 60-59 edge with 10:30 left in the game.
“We led for 27 minutes of the game, but we couldn’t have some of the empty possessions like we had where we didn’t even get off a shot,” ECU coach Joe Dooley said on the Pirate IMG Network. “We knew they would make a run and we answered most of them, but we didn’t get the key one at the end.”
ECU led 40-36 at halftime.
It was 49-49 when Shawn Williams’ 3-pointer sparked a 10-2 run by the visitors. Isaac Fleming’s steal and layup created a 59-51 ECU advantage with 13:16 remaining.
The final tie was at 65 with 8:06 remaining. ECU trailed 72-70 before cold shooting by the Pirates led to Memphis opening up its largest lead of eight points during the final minute.
ECU’s largest lead was 15 points, when it was 33-18 after a Seth LeDay basket with 8:03 left until halftime. LeDay, who had nine points, three steals and four rebounds during the first 20 minutes, finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
East Carolina made its first nine free throw attempts. The Pirates finished 12-of-15 from the line, and Memphis was 20-for-30.
UM got hot late in the first half, closing on a 10-0 run thanks to 3-pointers by Kyvon Davenport and Tyler Harris to create the 40-36 halftime margin.
ECU finished 4-of-22 from 3-point range.