Cincinnati 59, East Carolina 53
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) (AP)—Leonard Stokes scored six of his 16 points in the final 4:38 to help Cincinnati beat East Carolina 59-53 on Wednesday night.
The Bearcats (12-3, 5-0 Conference USA) led twice by as many as 10 points, the last coming at 39-29 with 13:14 remaining. But East Carolina (10-6, 1-4) went on a 16-8 run to get within two with 5:18 to play.
Cincinnati pushed the lead back to seven, then center Moussa Badiane answered with a short hook and a three-point play to get East Carolina to within 52-50 with 2:14 remaining.
Jason Maxiell and Stokes each countered with two free throws for Cincinnati before Belton Rivers sliced the six-point lead in half with a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left. That was the closest the Pirates would get as the Bearcats made three of four free throws to end the game.
Gabriel Mikulas scored 15 points to lead the Pirates, which lost their fourth game in a row while shooting 31 percent from the field. Badiane and Rivers added 13 points each for East Carolina.
Tony Bobbitt and Armein Kirkland came off the bench to each finish with nine points for Cincinnati.
Both teams struggled offensively in the game’s first 12 minutes.
The Pirates made just two of their first 14 field-goal attempts while Cincinnati went just 3-for-15 in the same stretch.
East Carolina took its only lead of the first half on a pair of Mikulas free throws with 6:23 to play. The Bearcats closed the half by hitting seven of their last nine shots to lead 29-25.