UMass (7-3) still led by 10 with 6:02 to play when the Pirates (4-4) started a big run to close to 59-58 with 40 seconds left.
The Minutemen hit only 4 of 8 free throws in the last 35 seconds, with four players going 1 of 2, but it was enough to seal the win as East Carolina missed two 3-pointers and had a turnover.
Chaz Williams added 10 points for UMass, but also had 10 of the Minutemen’s 24 turnovers. UMass, which came in ranked second nationally in steals, recorded nine, while the Pirates, who ranked fifth, had 13 takeaways in the first meeting between the two programs.
Darrius Morrow scored 13 to lead East Carolina, which has lost three straight.