Gardner’s play at both ends leads ECU past USF, 62-59
Jayden Gardner had 23 points, 10 rebounds and a key blocked shot as East Carolina defeated South Florida 62-59 on Tuesday night.
East Carolina led 60-57 after a 3-pointer by Bitumba Baruti with 1:26 to go in the second half.
David Collins made an uncontested layup for South Florida, making the score 60-59 with 1:01 remaining but the Bulls did not score again.
Tristen Newton made both ends of a one-and-one with 15 seconds to go and Gardner blocked a potential tying 3-pointer with 6 seconds left.
Brandon Suggs had 12 points for East Carolina (7-8, 1-1 American Athletic Conference), which has won five in a row at home.
Laquincy Rideau had 16 points for the Bulls (8-8, 1-2). Collins added 14 points off the bench and Xavier Castaneda had 10 points.
South Florida shot 35%, including 4 of 21 from 3-point distance. The Bulls also missed 11 free throws (15-26), as did East Carolina (9-20).
East Carolina plays SMU at home on Saturday. South Florida faces Memphis at home on Sunday.