Cougars shake off loss, defeat the Pirates
The Cougars rebounded from their loss to Cincinnati to handily defeat East Carolina 74-58 on Wednesday night in Greenville, North Carolina. The Cougars improved to 13-4 overall and 4-1 in the conference.
The Cougars’ 3-point struggle against Cincinnati last Saturday did not follow them to East Carolina. The team didn’t miss a single one of their first seven shots from deep. Their first miss came with 9:59 left in the first half, and the score read 29-16. Only 8 of those points came from within the arc.
Redshirt junior Rob Gray shot out of the gate with deadly precision from beyond the arc, converting the Cougars’ first two possessions to a pair of 3-point baskets. Redshirt senior Damyean Dotson and junior Wes VanBeck followed in the next minutes with 3-pointers of their own. Of the Cougars’ 17 first points, 15 came from distance.
In the last 8 minutes of the first half, freshman guard Armoni Brooks stepped off the bench and put on a show. He began with two back-to-back 3-point shots and ended the half with 12 points in total.
The score was 47-25 at halftime.
While the Cougars thrived beyond the arc, the Pirates struggled, shooting an abysmal 9.1 percent (1-11) in the first half.
The Pirates made a surge in the second half, outscoring the Cougars by five points and keeping them to only two 3-point shots.
The Pirates’ chance at a comeback turned sour when junior guard B.J. Tyson injured his left knee. After making a perfect alley-oop, he landed awkwardly on his left leg and fell to the ground, clutching his knee.
The Pirates closed the point gap to 14 but were unable to turn the game around.
The Pirates shot 3-for-22 from 3 and and went 17-for-50 from the field in total. Sophomore Kentrell Barkley led them with 13 points.
Gray finished the game leading the Cougars in points with 19. He also added four rebounds and two assists.
Dotson had his second double-double in a row with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Vanbeck put up 13 points, going 3-3 from range.
Brooks made a standout appearance with 15 points and five rebounds. He went 3-5 from deep, and 6-10 in total field goals.
Redshirt senior Danrad “Chicken” Knowles contributed 6 points, five blocks and three assists. He fouled out in the last few minutes.
The Cougar squad went 56.5 percent from range (13-for-23) and 46.7 percent for total field goals (28-for-60).
The Cougars continue their road trip to Orlando, Florida to play the UCF Knights, who are 12-4 overall and 3-1 in conference. The game is scheduled for Jan. 14 with tip off at 3 p.m.