Junior James Legan scored a game-high 17 points to lead East Carolina to a 64-45 victory over Rice on Wednesday night inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Junior Sam Hinnant added 15 points.
The 19-point win, which was ECU’s largest margin of victory in a C-USA game, ended a four-game losing streak for the Pirates (8-12), who improved to 2-5 in league.
The Owls (3-18) lost their 11th consecutive game and dropped to 0-8 in Conference USA.
The Pirates went on 19-4 during a nine-minute stretch in the first half to seize control of the game. Legan capped the run by scoring the final eight points, making a pair of 3s. He scored 10 first half points and led ECU to a 33-21 halftime lead as the Pirates connected on 40 percent of their first half shots (12-of-30).
Rice shot just 27.3 percent from the floor (9-of-33) in the first half. The second half was much of the same.
The Owls made just 8-of-26 field goal attempts in the second half and finished the game shooting 28.8 percent. The Pirates concluded the game shooting 41.1 percent (23-of-56) from the floor.
Hinnant made back-to-back 3s at the start of the second half to push ECU’s lead to 16. The Pirates maintained a double digit lead throughout the last 20 minutes and established their decisive margin of victory in the final minute.
Hinnant and Legan combined to go 8-of-18 from behind the arc with Hinnant making five 3s.
Sophomore Gabe Blair grabbed double digit rebounds for the fourth time this season with 11, missing his third double-double of the year by a point.
Senior Rodney Foster led the Owls, who were held to their lowest scoring output of the year, with 11 points.
East Carolina returns to action Saturday afternoon at Marshall. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, W.Va. The Pirates defeated the Thundering Herd, 75-62, at home earlier this season.