GREENVILLE, N.C. --- East Carolina tipped off the Jeff Lebo era with an exhibition victory over Montreat inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Friday. Darrius Morrow scored 20 points and Jontae Sherrod added 13 to lead the Pirates to an 85-58 victory.
Twelve players saw the court Friday night with seven of them scoring at least six points. Wakefield Ellison came off the bench to add 10 points, but it was sophomore Corvonn Gaines who led the way with nine points, seven assists and five rebounds. Chad Wynn, Brock Young and Robert Sampson added six points each.
The Pirates shot 58.8 percent from floor as they converted 30-of-51 field goal attempts, with 25 of those makes coming off assists. ECU connected on 7-of-19 shots from behind the three-point line, but struggled from the charity stripe shooting just 45 percent, but it did get to the line 40 times (18-of-40) compared to Montreat’s 26 (15-of-26).
ECU was able to take advantage of its size differential and dominated play inside the paint scoring 38 points. The Pirates limited the Cavaliers second chance scoring opportunities with 39 defensive rebounds, only one fewer than Montreat’s rebounding total of 40. Shooting such as high percentage didn’t afford the chance at many offensive rebounds, but the Pirates did win the battle of the boards by seven.
Morrow, who made 8-of-9 shots from the floor, ignited a 16-7 run over a 10-minute stretch in the first half to give the Pirates a 27-15 lead with 4:30 to play, capped by a three-pointer from Young. An 11-3 spurt pushed the Pirates out to a 20-point cushion and they went into locker room up by 18, 38-20.
Young, a Preseason First-Team All-Conference USA selection, played just 16 minutes after having missed most of the first three weeks of practice with an injury. In addition to scoring six points he distributed five assists and grabbed seven rebounds.
The Pirates held the Cavaliers to just 20.7 percent shooting in the first half and 28.1 percent (18-64) for the game.
ECU continued to add to its lead in the second half and led by as many as 32 on one occasion. The Pirates opened the second half on 17-7 run for a 28-point advantage five minutes into the period. Sherrod scored eight points during the run.
The Pirates closed out the game on a dunk from redshirt freshman Darius Morales.
ECU officially opens the 2010-11 season Friday, Nov. 12 against Erskine. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.