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Second Half Comeback Falls Short In Loss To East Carolina

Keith Lucas

CONWAY, S.C. -- A second half comeback bid fell short as Old Dominion lost 73-60 to East Carolina on Friday night in the consolation round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
The Monarchs will face Penn on Sunday at 12:30 pm on ESPNEWS for seventh place in the event.
"Our guys responded today after a lackluster performance against Indiana State. The guys really came out and revealed their character, not only to one another but to the staff and to everybody who's been following ODU basketball," said Acting Head Coach Bryant Stith. "I'm proud of their effort and how hard they played, but we are not into moral victories."
East Carolina started the game on a 9-2 run as a Ludgy Debaut jumper with 17:05 left in the half, but Old Dominion responded using a pair of AJ Oliver jumpers and two Jaylin Hunter free throws to tie the game at 13-all with 12:57 remaining.
The Pirates responded with a 21-4 explosion to take a 34-17 lead with 4:34 left after a pair of Tristen Newton free throws.  ODU trimmed the lead down to nine at 38-29 on a Mekhi Long putback with 94 seconds remaining.
In the second half, the Pirates pushed the lead to 50-36 after a Tristan Newton traditional three-point play with 16:31 left.  Old Dominion answered with a 10-1 run to bring the margin to 51-46 after a CJ Keyser bucket at the 12:12 mark.
That was the first of four times that Old Dominion got the deficit to five points.  The last one came with 8:30 left on a Kalu Ezikpe layup for a 57-52 score.   East Carolina quickly doubled the deficit to 10 after a 3-pointer from RJ Felton and a layup by Newton for a 62-52 score with 7:22 remaining.
Ezikpe was the leading scorer for Old Dominion with 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Charles Smith IV added 12 points and two steals.