Greenville, N.C. – James Legan drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3.9 seconds left in overtime to help East Carolina defeat Rice, 91-88, Saturday night inside Minges Coliseum at Williams Arena.
The Pirates closed out the game on a 6-0 run after trailing 88-84 with 1:38 left in overtime. Jamar Abrams made a pair of free throws followed by a running jumper from Brock Young to tie the score at 88-all. After a Rice turnover, Legan curled off a screen to make the game winning shot to give the Pirates their third consecutive win at home.
With its victory, ECU improved to 13-11 overall and 5-6 in Conference USA, matching its record most for most C-USA wins in a season. The loss dropped the Owls to 3-7 in C-USA and 8-16 overall this season.
The night was highlighted by a pair of record performances by Young. The sophomore point guard tied a school record with 14 assists on the night and established a new school record for assists in a season with 189, surpassing Darrell Jenkins’ former record of 181. Young added 17 points, six rebounds and three steals in the victory.
Legan poured in a team-high 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Darrius Morrow tallied 19 points and made 13-of-15 shots from the foul line, while Sam Hinnant made 5-of-9 3-point attempts en route to 17 points for the Pirates.
Rodney Foster led the Owls in scoring with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. Foster made six 3-pointers and added six assists and five rebounds. Trey Stanton added 21 points, Lawrence Ghoram had 13 and Connor Frizzelle scored 12 points as four Owls finished in double figures.
The Pirates opened the game by making their first two 3-point attempts from Hinnant and Legan to take an early 6-2 lead at the 18:09 mark.
An 8-3 spurt by ECU, thanks to a jumper by Chris Turner followed by a steal and lay up from Young pushed the home team lead to 26-20.
The Owls answered with a 13-4 run by sinking three 3-pointers to take their first lead since the opening minutes of the game, 37-33.
Morrow made a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left to close out the half with the Pirates trailing, 42-40.
In the second half, ECU drained five 3-pointers, including three from Hinnant, as part of a 15-7 run to retake the lead, 57-53, with 13:57 left in the game.
Leading 78-77, Abrams made a mid-range jumper from the left baseline on a pass from Young to push the lead to three points with 32 seconds remaining.
Rice knotted the score at 80 when Foster buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 11 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Young banked a runner from just inside the foul line to tie the score at 88-all. On the ensuing play for Rice, the Pirates forced a turnover to regain possession with 27 seconds left. Legan curled off a screen and drained a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left to give the Pirates the win, 91-88.
The Pirates next scheduled contest is Tuesday, Feb.17, at Southern Miss. The C-USA match up is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST in Hattiesburg, Miss.