After winning the first game of the season against Virginia Military Institute (0-1, 0-0 SoCon) by a score of 80-68, the East Carolina University (1-0, 0-0 AAC) men’s basketball team will travel to Annapolis, Maryland to play the United States Naval Academy (0-1, 0-0 Patriot) in the Veteran’s Classic on Friday.
The Naval Academy will be coming off a loss in its first game of the season that ended in overtime by the score of 55-68. Navy started junior guard Cam Davis who went on to be their leading scorer for the game with 14 points and making 2-of-3 free throws in his 41 minutes of play.
Another key player for Navy was sophomore guard Greg Summers. In his 32 minutes of game time he earned Navy 13 points, making 3-of-5 free throw attempts and led his team with eight rebounds.
As a team, Navy finished its first home game with a three point field goal percentage of 20% and a free throw percentage of 62.9%. They had a combined total of 44 rebounds and 19 turnovers.
"Great effort by our squad," Navy head coach Ed DeChellis in a press release. "I like the way we were resilient and had a chance to win the game. We just didn't make the play we needed to make to win it."
For ECU, sophomore forward Jayden Gardner was the highest scorer for the game with 28 points. Despite a small spill and leg cramp in the second period, he returned to the court after being checked on the sideline. By the end of the game Gardner also acquired a double-double, scoring double digits in both points (28) and rebounds (11).
Second leading scorer for ECU was freshman guard Tristen Newton. The freshman finished his first collegiate game with 20 points and three rebounds, shooting 83.3% from the free throw line to go along with 60% shooting from the three-point line.
“The whole team, like in practice, they have been telling me to work hard, it’s your chance, work hard, so they got me prepared. So it’s all thanks to them,” Newton said.
ECU won the game against VMI 80-68. After shaking first game jitters in the first half, the Pirates made significant improvements to their stats in the second half of the game. Improving their three point percentage 11.43% and their free throws by 12.5%. They finished the game with 44 rebounds, 17 assists, and 13 turnovers.
“We had jitters, like we expected, especially early in the game,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “We got a little discombobulated for a while offensively, and turned it over, did some layups. I thought our defense changed in the second half. Obviously we didn’t give up as many easy layups.”
The Veteran’s Classic against the United States Naval Academy will be this Friday in Annapolis, Maryland. Tip-off is scheduled 8:30 p.m.