GREENVILLE, N.C. — After a sluggish start in Wednesday afternoon’s American Athletic Conference opener, the Tulane men’s basketball team woke up and used a huge run to come from behind and defeat East Carolina 67-59 in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
ECU (7-7, 0-1 AAC) jumped out to a 24-10 lead over the first 12 minutes of the game, but the Green Wave (10-3, 1-0 AAC) rattled off a 25-2 run to close the half to lead 35-26 at halftime. Tulane junior Louis Dabney scored nine points during the run, while sophomore Kajon Mack added six points on a pair of 3-pointers.
The Pirates’ only two points during that eight-minute stretch came from the free-throw line.
The nine-point lead at halftime was the largest of the game for Tulane. ECU was able to chip away at the deficit in the second half and cut the score to 48-47 eight minutes into the half with a 9-2 run, but Dabney and Mack answered with jumpers of their own.
ECU got within one point two more times as the game progressed, including 54-53 with 7:04 left, but Tulane closed the game by scoring 13 of the last 16 points to secure the program’s first win in the American Athletic Conference.
“First off, credit Jeff (Lebo) and his ballclub,” Tulane coach Ed Conroy said. “They really answered the bell and came out with a lot more intensity and purpose and had us on our heels.
“Then I’m proud of our guys with the way we responded in the last eight minutes of the first half especially. Several guys stepped up for us from a leadership role during that time, but none bigger than our back court of Dabney, (Jonathan) Stark and Mack.”
Dabney finished with 19 points, including 13 in the first half and Mack had 10 points. Stark led the Green Wave with 22 points, that included four 3-pointers. Dabey and Mack each dropped a pair of 3-pointers as well.
Both teams shot well from the floor. Tulane connected on 26-of-48 field goals (54.2 percent), including 63.6 percent in the first half.
The Green Wave connected on 8 of 13 3-pointers and hit 7 of 8 free throws. ECU shot 47.6 percent (20 of 42) from the floor and made 10 of 19 3-pointers.