GREENVILLE, N.C. — USF had a four-point lead with just under seven minutes left but was outscored 14-6 down the stretch, falling to East Carolina 64-60 Wednesday night for the Bulls’ sixth straight loss.
USF (7-20, 2-13 AAC) led 54-50 with 6:42 left, when the Pirates (14-13, 5-10) rallied to break their four-game home skid. Free throws played a key role as East Carolina shot 27-of-38 (71.1 percent) from the line, compared to 7-of-13 for the Bulls (53.8), who made nine more field goals in the game than the Pirates.
The Bulls also committed five turnovers over the final six minutes and finished with 16 for the game.
Russel Tchewa had 18 points and a career-high-tying 10 rebounds for USF, Caleb Murphy added 11 points and Corey Walker had 10 and eight rebounds.
“Turnovers down the stretch really hurt us,” coach Brian Gregory said. “We had some undisciplined fouls as well that allowed them to get to the free-throw line, and credit ECU for knocking down those opportunities.”
A putback dunk by Walker closed the first half and trimmed the ECU lead to 35-34, setting up the back-and-forth second half. The game had 11 lead changes and four ties.
“What really stood out to me tonight was the fight we showed on the road at this point of the season,” Gregory said. “It’s uncommon for teams, and individual players, to continue to work and show up when the results haven’t been there. But I’ve seen it from this group. And you’re starting to see the emergence of some of the talented young players on this roster.”
Brandon Suggs and Tristen Newton scored 15 each for East Carolina, and Tremont Robinson-White added 13.
It was USF’s second loss to East Carolina in less than a week. East Carolina won 65-57 last Thursday at the Yuengling Center.
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