RALEIGH, N.C. - Four Pirates scored double figures led by senior Akeem Richmond's 23 points, but East Carolina was unable to overcome NC State's size advantage and dropped a 90-79 decision at the PNC Arena Saturday afternoon.
The Pirates shot 47 percent and hit 10 3-pointers but fell to 0-57 in road games against ACC schools.
A win would have given East Carolina (10-3) its best start in school history.
Richmond shot 8-for-18 from the floor and 5-for-14 from 3-point range, while playing all 40 minutes. Caleb White scored 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with four rebounds and four assists. Prince Williams added 12 points, four boards and four assists while Paris Roberts-Campbell chipped in 11 more points. Antonio Robinson led the team with six rebounds on the day.
ECU and NC State (9-2) exchanged baskets through the first four minutes of the game, as the Pirates held a 9-8 lead at the 15:45 mark before going on an 8-0 run to pull ahead, 17-8, at the 13:41 mark of the first half.
Trailing by nine, the Wolfpack responded with a 9-2 run to cut the Pirates' lead to two at 19-17, but ECU punched back with a 9-2 run of its own to extend its lead back to nine at 28-19 with 10:13 to go in the half.
The two sides traded baskets over the ensuing five minutes, which were played at a very fast pace that saw both sides barter dunks and 3-point baskets. A 3-pointer by Paris Roberts-Campbell kept the Pirates ahead, 38-30, with 6:13 to go in the period.
NC State closed the half with a 15-0 run and took its first lead of the game since the opening minute at 40-38 on a layup by TJ Warren with 1:56 left. The Wolfpack finished off its scoring spree with a layup at the halftime buzzer and took a 45-38 lead into the locker rooms.
ECU shot 16-of-33 (.485) and 4-of-10 from 3-point land in the first half, while NC State was 20-of-37 (.541) from the field and just 2-of-7 (.286) from three.
Although he missed all three of his 3-point attempts in the first half, Richmond found his stroke from beyond the arc in the second half, hitting 5-of-11 treys, including conversions on back-to-back possessions to cut the Wolfpack's lead to one at 50-49.
NC State increased its lead to 10 less than three minutes later with the score 61-51, but the Pirates' resiliency was evident with a 9-0 run that was capped by a jumper from White with 12:39 remaining in the game to bring the deficit back to one.
ECU could not get over the pair of one-point humps, as the Wolfpack immediately responded with an 8-0 run to push its lead back to nine with 9:09 left.
The Pirates made one last effort to challenge NC State with 2:36 to go as Richmond's fifth 3-pointer brought ECU within five of NC State at 82-77.
LSU transfer Ralston Turner countered with a 3, Vandenberg followed with a left-handed hook shot and Barber hit a layup with 1:18 left to give the Wolfpack their largest lead, 89-77.
Warren led all scorers with 32 points on 14-of-23 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds, as Jordan Vandenberg shot 9-of-10 from the floor for 18 points to go with five boards and three blocks. Anthony Barber contributed 16 points and a game-high eight assists for NC State.
East Carolina finished the day 30-for-63 (.476) overall and 10-of-27 (.370) from 3-point range, while making all nine of its free throw attempts. NC State shot 39-of-67 (.582) from the field and 7-of-19 (.368) from downtown in the contest.
The Wolfpack used its size advantage for the duration of the afternoon, muscling its way to a 58-26 edge in points in the paint, while ECU outscored the Pack, 16-14, off the bench and 15-11 off of turnovers.