ORLANDO - Jamar Abrams scored 20 points, drilling 6-of-10 3-pointers, to lead East Carolina past UCF, 68-66, Tuesday at the UCF Arena. The victory gave the Pirates their third Conference USA road victory of the season and their first at UCF.
ECU (10-19, 4-11 C-USA) trailed by 14 six minutes into the second half and were down 11 when point guard Brock Young went to the bench with an injury. However, the resilient Pirates outscored UCF (13-16, 5-10) 22-4 with Young on the bench for the next eight minutes and held a 60-53 lead when he returned.
Freshman Erin Straughn and Abrams sank back-to-back 3's to start the rally. Straughn's steal and Corvonn Gaines' layup brought the Pirates within one before Abrams drained his fourth 3 of the night for a 53-51 lead. Following two more 3s from Abrams, Jontae Sherrod pushed the lead to seven, 60-53, on a pair of free throws with 4:38 to play.
Darrius Morrow, who finished with 14 points, made 3-of-4 free throws, including the front end of a pair of 1-and1 opportunities, to give ECU a five-point lead with 13 seconds to play.
UCF's Isaac Sosa made a 3-pointer with six seconds to play to cut the lead to two. The Knights then stole the in-bounds pass put their final shot was off the mark and they didn't get off another shot before time expired.
A.J. Tyler led the Knights with 16 points and Taylor Young added 15 for the Knights who suffered their fourth consecutive defeat.
The Pirates held an early first half lead before UCF subbed in Sosa, Young and P.J. Gaynor at the 13:44 mark. The threesome then scored the next 10 points to turn a two-point deficit into four-point lead. Gaynor got free underneath, Young followed with a pair of 3s sandwiched around a Sosa and Gaynor made free throw.
The Pirates pulled within a bucket on a pair of made free throws by Gaines with 9:44 remaining in the half. They then went nearly six minutes without a point before Gaines made another free throw as UCF stretched it lead to 12 with 4:29 left until halftime.
Morrow cut the Knights' advantage to nine with a tip-in just before the halftime buzzer.
The Pirates return to the hardwood Saturday, March 6, at home against Southern Miss. Gametime has been changed to 8 p.m. EST inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.