East Carolina, Tulane looking for first conference win

·2 min read

Tulane and East Carolina are both undefeated in nonconference games.

But American Athletic Conference play is another story.

The two conference rivals have learned that as they prepare to meet on Tuesday afternoon in Greenville, N.C.

The Green Wave (5-1) lost their conference opener at home to Memphis last week. The Pirates (6-1) went undefeated in nonconference play for the first time in Division I, but lost their conference opener to SMU last week.

Both teams bounced back from their loss in the AAC opener with another nonconference victory, but now it's all about conference play.

Tulane defeated visiting Grambling State 77-65 on Saturday afternoon.

The young Green Wave have been relying on their defense early in the season, but the offense is starting to come around.

"We are starting to shoot the ball better like I said that we would," coach Ron Hunter said. "I think our turnovers were cut down and when this group peaks, I think we are going to be pretty good.

"We are so far from that, but I like where we are right now. All and all, it was a good effort (against Grambling), and I thought we played better."

The offense had 20 assists -- the most in Hunter's two seasons -- and it set a program record by making 10 3-pointers in the first half.

The Pirates, like the Green Wave, bounced back from its AAC loss to win a nonconference game. They defeated James Madison 73-64 in a home game Saturday.

Coach Joe Dooley lamented the performance of his team's offense against SMU, but it improved against JMU.

"Good win after bouncing back from SMU," Dooley said of the victory against JMU.

Tristen Newton made four 3-pointers to finish with 14 points as one of four Pirates scorers in double figures.

"It feels great," Newton said. "We're learning how to win so we'll take those wins and pick up some confidence. We can get a lot better rebounding, defense and shooting."

ECU took control by holding JMU to just 25 first-half points.

"We just wanted to take it from them and play good defense in the first half and the second half and put it all together," said Brandon Suggs, who had a team-high 18 points against JMU.

--Field Level Media