Tulsa 65, East Carolina 50

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Calvin Walls scored a career-high 15 points, and Rod Earls added 13 to lead Tulsa to a 65-50 victory over East Carolina on Wednesday in the final game of the Conference USA tournament’s opening round.

Walls connected on 6 of his 9 shots in the game, while Earls missed only one of his six shots and was 3-of-4 outside the arc. The Golden Hurricane shot 49 percent in the game.

“My teammates were doing a good job of feeding me the ball,” Walls said. “I just tried to get down there and be tough and finish around the basket.”

Tulsa (20-10), the tournament’s fifth seed, will face Tulane, the No. 4 seed, in a second round game Thursday.

“I thought we took advantage of our depth,” Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said. “We rebounded well, and our shooting percentage was good. It seemed like we had about 24 turnovers instead of 14.”

Courtney Captain led East Carolina with 27 points, hitting 10 of 18 shots.

East Carolina (6-24) finished with the league’s worst record and was the tournament’s No. 12 seed.

Tulsa put together a 15-2 run in the first half to build a 31-15 lead over the Pirates and carried a 34-21 advantage into intermission.

Captain led East Carolina with 13 points, including 3-of-5 shots from outside the arc, the only Pirate 3-pointers in the half. The rest of the Pirates were 0-5 from 3-point range. East Carolina would shoot 33 percent from the field for the game.

Brett McDade and Walls had seven points apiece for Tulsa, with Walls hitting all five of his shots from the field.

The Golden Hurricane benefited from shooting 52 percent from the field in the half, compared to 33 percent for East Carolina. Tulsa also outrebounded the Pirates 22-11 in the half, but was hampered by eight turnovers.

East Carolina cut the Tulsa lead to 8 points when Gabe Blair hit a jumper with 12:56 left in the game.

It was the only time in the second half the Pirates would get the deficit to single digits as Tulsa answered with eight straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers from Ben Uzoh (8 points) and Earls to extend the lead back to 52-36.

Tulsa eventually would lead by as many as 17 points with 5 minutes left.

“We just wanted to try and weather the storm,” Earls said of East Carolina’s second-half rally. “Keep pushing and being aggressive.”

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