GREENVILLE, N.C. --- Senior Jamar Abrams had 16 points to make Jeff Lebo’s Pirate coaching debut a success as East Carolina posted a 74-46 victory over Erskine Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
The Pirates won their 11th consecutive season opener, as Lebo became the 13th Pirate head coach to begin his tenure with a victory.
Abrams was one of only two Pirates to reach double figures as ECU had a balanced attack with eight players scoring at five points. Sophomore Erin Straughn dropped in 12 points to go along with a game-high eight rebounds and four assists. Senior Jontae Sherrod and junior Darrius Morrow netted nine points each.
All-Conference USA preseason guard Brock Young played just 14 minutes as he continues to rehab an injury. Young, the Pirates’ all-time assists leader, had four helpers during his limited time on the floor.
DaShaun Hall led Erskine with 15 points, while Chris Gore added 11.
ECU scored its first five points from the foul line, going 5-for-5 at the charity stripe, a stark contrast to its exhibition game victory over Montreat when it missed its first seven foul shots.
The Pirates finished 24-of-29 (82.8 percent) from the free throw line.
Holding a five-point lead less than seven minutes into the contest, ECU went on a 13-4 run to seize control of the game. Abrams, freshman Robert Sampson and sophomore Wakefield Ellison each hit a 3-pointer during the spurt to give the Pirates a 28-14 advantage.
Erskine scored nine unanswered points to pull back within five before its bench was assessed with a technical foul. Abrams made three free throws and Straughn drilled a 3-pointer from the corner to push the lead back to double digits.
The lead ballooned to 17 in the first two minutes of the second half on consecutive tip-ins by Abrams and Morrow.
Morrow didn’t play in the first half for disciplinary reasons, but responded by going 3-of-4 from the field and 3-of-3 at the foul line with five rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
The Pirates methodically built their lead in the second half, holding the Flying Fleet to just 32.0 percent shooting in the second half. Erskine finished the game shooting 36.0 percent while ECU recorded a 42.9 shooting percentage (21-49).
East Carolina was credited with 15 assists on 21 field goals.
ECU took advantage of its size with the Pirates out-rebounding the Fleet 40-24 in the contest. The Pirates’ 25 defensive rebounds outpaced Erskine’s total rebound mark of 24. Offensively, the Pirates scored 23 second chance points, while only allowing seven for the Fleet.
The Pirates return to action Monday, Nov. 15, against Campbell. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.