A new era in East Carolina basketball got off to a fast start Saturday afternoon as ECU raced past Limestone, 78-60, inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum and gave new coach Mack McCarthy a victory in his Pirate coaching debut.
The Pirates (1-0) jumped out to 14-0 lead blitzing its opponent in the first four minutes and never looked back. Seniors Darrell Jenkins and Cory Farmer made back-to-back 3s to open the scoring followed by consecutive lay-ups from junior Sam Hinnant and sophomore John Fields. Following a pair of made free throws, sophomore Gabe Blair capped the spurt with another lay-up.
Limestone (0-1) responded with a run of its own and took a one-point lead, 16-15, with 11:28 remaining in the half. The Pirates outscored the Saints 29-10 the remainder of the half and held an 18-point lead at intermission, 44-26.
East Carolina limited Limestone to 29.0 percent shooting in the first half and 36.7 percent for the game. Fields and Jenkins each shot 6-of-8 from the field as the Pirates finished the game shooting 45.6 percent.
It was its defensive prowess that allowed ECU to convert 25 Limestone turnovers into 30 points. The Pirates were credited with a total of 11 steals, six coming after halftime.
Jenkins scored 13 of his team-high 17 points before halftime. Fields added 14 points in the victory, while freshman Brock Young netted 10 points in his ECU debut. Blair led the team in rebounding with nine boards.
Limestone senior Marques Williams led all scorers with 24 points.
ECU extended its lead to 24 points in the first five minutes of the second half and never allowed its lead to dip under the final margin of 18 points.
The Pirates return to action Tuesday, November 13, against Richmond. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start in Greenville.