Black Friday: No bargains for Pirates in first road test

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Black Friday took on a new meaning for the East Carolina men’s basketball team and its big two in the first road trip of the season.

Leading scorers B.J.Tyson and Kentrell Barkley found no bargains in attempting to score against Rutgers, combining for just eight points in a 61-47 loss. Tyson, a senior averaging 17.0 points through four games, didn’t score until 1:49 into the second half and added a pair of three-pointers in the final 4:02 after the Scarlet Knights (6-0) had built their biggest lead at 57-33.

Barkley, averaging 15.0 per game, was held scoreless for just the third time in his career — he failed to score in two games as a freshman. The junior had scored at least 13 points in every game this year with a high of 19 and reached double figures in 23 games last season.

Tyson and Barkley were a combined 0-for-10 from the field in the first half and 3-for-15 overall.

As a team, the Pirates (2-3) shot just 33.3 percent (8 of 24) in the first half and 38.8 percent (19 of 49) overall.

ECU also struggled from the line for the second straight game, converting just 4 of 11 after an 11-of-25 showing against Cleveland State on Tuesday.

Rutgers also suffered through a tough shooting day, hitting 20 of 62 (32.3 percent) from the field and 14 of 23 from the line. The trio of Corey Sanders, Geo Baker and Mike Williams combined to shoot just 6 of 32.

Jabari Craig scored a career-high 14 points, and Isaac Fleming also scored 14 to lead ECU. Freshman Dimitri Spasojevic contributed six points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Only five players scored for the Pirates.

Rutgers got at least one point from 10 of the players that saw action. Deshawn Freeman scored 15 points, hitting just 5 of 16 shots, and added 11 rebounds for a double-double. Shaquille Doorson, a 7-0, 275-pound junior from The Netherlands, had career highs of eight points and nine rebounds in 15 minutes.

The Pirates got off to a quick start and led 6-0 behind three points each from Fleming and Craig. ECU led 12-5 after another bucket by Craig at the 14:35 mark but managed just one free throw in nearly eight minutes, missing five shots from the field and committing four of their 19 total turnovers. Rutgers took advantage of the drought, taking a 19-13 lead with a 12-0 spurt.

A three-point play by Freeman and a three-pointer by Baker sparked a 10-0 run to extend the lead to 29-16. Issa Thiam’s three-pointer put the Scarlet Knights up 32-18 before Fleming’s trey with two seconds left in the half made it 32-21.

Consecutive dunks by Sanders and Goodson capped a 10-1 run early in the second half as Rutgers pushed the margin to 42-26. A three-pointer by Williams with 7:54 left gave the Scarlet Knights their biggest lead at 57-33.

ECU closed the game with a 14-4 run, getting a pair of three-pointers from Tyson and six points from Fleming.

The Pirates return home Sunday to host N.C. A&T at 4 p.m.

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