By Carey Phillips
East Carolina shot the lights out in the first half Sunday and breezed to a 95-79 non-conference men’s basketball victory over Western Carolina in front of 3,245 fans at ECU’s Minges Coliseum.
The Pirates hit 68.8 percent of their field goal tries, including nine of 11 three-pointers, in the first half. They cooled off in the second half, when they were zero of seven from long range and finished at 51.5 percent from the floor.
The Catamounts (1-2) went the opposite direction by shooting 55.6 percent in the second half to finish at 41.3 percent.
ECU’s Tristen Newton poured in 30 points and made five of seven three-pointers. Brandon Suggs finished with 15 points, and Tremont Robinson-White had 14.
Nick Robinson paced Western with 28 points. Also in double figures were Marcus Banks with 13, Travion McCray with 11 and Joe Petrakis with 10.
WCU’s only lead was 6-4 on Robinson’s three-pointer with 17:35 to play in the first half.
The Cats tied it 19-19 at the 11:02 mark on Tyler Harris’ trey.
Newton’s three-pointer at the midpoint of the half put the Pirates ahead to stay, 22-19. It started a devastating 26-3 run, including 11 by Suggs and nine by Newton, for a 45-22 lead on Vance Jackson’s free throw at the 7:50 mark.
The lead reached 59-33 at halftime after Robinson-White’s basket with four seconds left.
Twelve consecutive points, including four by Brandon Johnson, resulted in the largest lead, 77-49, with 12:30 to play.
Robinson’s nine rebounds helped Western to a 37-33 advantage on the boards.
The Cats were hurt by 19 turnovers, while ECU had eight.
Completing the WCU scoring were Harris with eight, Marcus Banks with seven and Marvin Price with two.