Daniel Fountain scored 16 points to lead UNC Wilmington past East Carolina, 71-67, here Saturday night in each team's final game before the Christmas break.
ECU sophomore John Fields led all scorers with a career-high 26 points to go along with five rebounds and four blocks. Fellow sophomore Gabe Blair recorded his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Darrell Jenkins also scored double figures as he netted 10 points.
Todd Hendley added 15 points in the win for UNCW, while T.J. Carter added 11 points.
UNCW (8-4) took its largest lead of the game with 14 minutes left in regulation when Fountain scored to give the Seahawks a 10-point cushion, 53-43, before the Pirates rallied to within one.
Down a point, 56-55, with 9:53 left ECU (4-6) turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions and UNCW scored six straight points off those turnovers to push its lead back to seven. The Pirates cut their deficit to three with fewer than seven minutes remaining but never got any closer.
With his team trailing by eight, Jenkins hit a 3 to cut the Pirates' deficit to five before Fields scored in the paint to get them within three, 70-67, with a minute to play.
ECU had a chance to send the game into overtime, but Jenkins' shot was off the mark and Hendley grabbed the rebound and calmly stepped to the foul line and sank the front end of a 1-and-1 situation with four seconds remaining to seal the victory for UNCW.