ST. THOMAS, V.I. --- East Carolina sophomore Jontae Sherrod scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Pirates to an 82-73 victory over South Dakota State on Monday in the seventh-place game of the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Pirates.
Sherrod sank 5-of-7 shots behind the arc and finished 9-of-15 from the floor. Darrius Morrow added a season-high 16 points, Chris Turner contributed 11 points and Chad Wynn netted 10. Brock Young handed out 10 assists in the victory.
Despite trailing by 20 points in the first half, ECU used its size advantage to mount the program’s largest comeback since rallying from 18 down against Appalachian State in 1991. The Pirates out-scored their opponent by 14 in the paint and out-rebounded them by seven.
Trailing 40-26 with 42 second left in the first half, Morrow’s basket began a 17-0 run that last nearly three minutes into the second half. Sherrod sank a trio of 3s in the first two minutes of the second half to give the Pirates a 41-40 lead. Jamar Abrams jumper then put the Pirates ahead by three, forcing SDSU to call a timeout.
The Pirates shot a season-high 57.1 percent from 3-point land, connecting on 8-of-14 attempts.
ECU regained the lead, 64-62. with 8:47 to play on Sherrod’s fourth 3 of the night. SDSU quickly regained a five-point edge as Clint Sargent sank a three, Garrett Callahan added a free throw and Anthony Cordova put back Callahan’s second free throw miss.
Callahan led the Jackrabbits with 18 points, draining five 3s. Sargent made four 3s and finished with 11 points as SDSU connected on 13-of-25 attempts from beyond the arc.
On the ensuing possession, Turner drilled a 3 from the wing before Morrow’s bucket in the paint tied the score at 71-all. Abrams then put the Pirates ahead to stay with a follow-up of Young’s miss. Abrams converted the 3-point play to put ECU up, 74-71.
Sherrod then stole the ball from Callahan with 1:59 to go and laid it up for a five-point lead.
Consecutive turnovers from Kai Williams resulted in four unanswered points and a seven-point lead. Turner then sank two free throws with 23 second remaining for the final margin of victory.
The Jackrabbits first three field goals, and four of their first five, all came from behind the arc as they built a 10-point, 16-6, lead eight minutes into the game. SDSU held the Pirates without a field goal over a four-minute stretch midway through the half to build a 29-9 lead with 7:49 left before intermission.
ECU pulled within 12 at halftime as it outscored South Dakota State, 19-12, in the last eight minutes of the half.
The Pirates will return to action Saturday, Nov. 28, against UNC Greensboro. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum.