After a three-game losing streak to open the 2015-16 season, the Stetson Hatters entered the final game of the Las Vegas Invitational riding a two-game winning streak. After taking down Bethune-Cookman on Thursday night, who happens to be their in-state rival, the Hatters set their sights on the East Carolina Pirates.
The Pirates entered Friday afternoon riding a three-game losing streak, suffering losses to California, San Diego State, and Little Rock. Against Stetson, they were looking to regain the confidence they had after they opened the season with two straight victories.
Their offense woke up on their last day in Las Vegas, and they seized control against the Hatters from the outset. East Carolina led from start to finish, and used a strong start to the second half to put the game away early.
To close out the Las Vegas Invitational for both teams, the East Carolina Pirates came away with a 93-73 victory over the Stetson Hatters.
East Carolina got baskets on their first two offensive possessions, as Caleb White and Michel Nzege pushed the Pirates to an early 5-0 lead. Stetson would try to keep pace with the Pirates on offense, but would never hold throughout the entire game.
The trio of Divine Myles, Brian Pegg, and Leo Goodman would do their best to keep the Hatters within striking distance, bringing the Hatters to within a single basket in the early going, but East Carolina would slowly pull away in the first half. Whenever the Hatters made a run to try and cut into the lead, the Pirates came right back with an answer of their own to restore their lead.
After the first 20 minutes, the Pirates held a commanding 47-34 lead over the overwhelmed Hatters.
Stetson was able to cut the deficit to just 10 early in the second half on a pair of free throws from Derick Newton, but that was as close as they would get.
A three-point play from Nzege kick-started a lengthy 22-4 run for the Pirates that took all the momentum from the Hatters, and put the game to rest. The Hatters were held to a pair of layups, from Myles and Pegg, for a span of over 7 minutes in the second half, putting any chance of a comeback at ease.
East Carolina was steady down the stretch, and cruised to the 93-73 victory at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
B.J. Tyson led the way for the Pirates, scoring a game-high 22 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in the victory. White added 14 points of his own, while Kentrell Barkley came off the bench and added in 14 points to help East Carolina end their losing streak.
As for the Hatters, guard Luke Doyle continued his strong play to open the 2015-16 season, recording a team-high 16 points off the bench. Pegg added 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Myles record 12 points and 4 steals in a losing effort.
When they return back to Greenville, NC, the East Carolina Pirates (3-3) will look to build off their dominating performance over the Hatters. They will take on the Florida Atlantic Owls at home on December 1st.
The winning streak was short-lived for the Stetson Hatters (2-4), as they allowed another team to top the 90-point mark on the season. They will look to get back on the winning track when they pay a visit to Miami, FL to take on the Florida International Golden Panthers on November 30th.