Senior Michael Jenkins scored 20 points to lead Winthrop to a 72-57 victory over host East Carolina here Wednesday night. The victory was the fourth consecutive for the Eagles in the series since it was renewed in 2004.
Senior Taj McCullough added 18 points in the victory, while senior Chris Gaynor added 13 points. ECU senior Cory Farmer was the lone Pirate in double figures netting 10 points. Freshman Jontae Sherrod and senior Darrell Jenkins were the Pirates' (2-4) second leading scorers with eight points each.
Both teams struggled to score for most of the first half until Winthrop (4-2) broke open a low scoring affair in the final six minutes.
Darrell Jenkins' 3-point basket at the 5:44 mark of the first half tied the game at 19-all. Winthrop then ended the half on a 16-3 run to take a 35-22 lead into the locker room. The Eagles scored seven unanswered points to take a 26-19 lead as Andy Buechert scored four straight points. Gaynor began the run with an and-one conversion and ended it with a 3-point basket.
The Eagles forced 12 first half turnovers and converted them into 11 points. WU also grabbed six offensive rebounds before halftime and scored 13 second chance points.
McCullough scored the first five points of the second half to push Winthrop's lead to 18 before Michael Jenkins' basket gave the Eagles a 20-point advantage less than two minutes into the half, 42-22.
The Eagles maintained a 15-point advantage during the game's final 18 minutes.
ECU returns to action Sunday, Dec. 2, against former CAA rival George Mason as part of the BB&T Classic in Washington, D.C. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. at the Verizon Center.