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ECU Rallies From 17 Down Only To Lose In Overtime

302sports 92 Feb 18

(Fleming, ECU)

GREENVILLE, N.C. 
--- ECU outscored Tulsa 26-9 over a 10-minute stretch to erase a 17-point deficit, but Elijiah Joiner hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in overtime where the Golden Hurricane claimed a 77-73 win Sunday afternoon and handed the Pirates their fifth straight defeat.
 
Martins Igbanu had 16 points to lead six Tulsa (16-10, 6-7 The American) players in double figures. Jeriah Horne added 12 points for the Golden Hurricane. Joiner, DaQuan Jeffries and Sterling Taplin each chipped in 11.
 
Shawn Williams buried a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 26 points for the Pirates (9-16, 2-11). Jayden Gardner recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Isaac Fleming (William Penn) had 13 points and seven rebounds.
 
Williams made a pair of free throws that gave the Pirates a 73-72 lead with 1:11 left in overtime, only to have Igbanu put ahead 13 seconds later with a basket underneath. K.J. Davis then got a wide-open look at 3 but hit the back of the rim and Joiner grabbed the defensive rebound and then sank the game-clinching 3 at the other end.
 
"We all thought it was good," Gardner said of Davis' missed 3-point attempt. "Unfortunately, he missed it, they came down with it and hit a big 3; that was pretty much the game."
 
Tulsa nearly avoided overtime, but Jeffries game-winning attempt at the end of regulation rimmed out as time expired.
 
Curran Scott made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game at 67-all with 37 seconds remaining in regulation after Williams had give ECU a 67-66 lead with his eighth 3 of the game 20 seconds earlier.
 
The Pirates began the second half on a 16-5 run to erase an 11-point halftime deficit in less than six minutes and built six-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining. Tulsa retook the lead with 5:54 left.
 
Five lead changes and five ties ensued as the game moved into overtime.
 
"We were close enough to win the game," ECU Head Coach Joe Dooley said. "That's what we've got to talk to our guys about. We went toe-to-toe and had opportunities to win it. We're going to find a way. We just have to keep plugging away."
 
ECU found itself in an early hole as Tulsa opened the game on a 19-5 run and pushed its lead to 31-14 with 5:45 to play in the first half. Williams made a pair of 3-pointers in the last five minutes of the first half to get the Pirates' halftime deficit to a workable margin of 11.
 
"What we're learning to do is learning how to play hard and compete to win," Dooley explained. "I think there's a difference. You can play hard but that doesn't mean you're playing to win. I think they're learning how to compete and try to win the games." 
 
The Pirates will have six days between games before returning to the hardwood on Feb. 23 against Tulane in New Orleans. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. EST tip and will be televised on ESPNU.