Jeff Lebo

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) is congratulated by fans after an NCAA college basketball game against East Carolina, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, in Dallas. SMU won 74-63. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP Photo/LM Otero

Nic Moore has 22 points for No. 21 SMU in 74-63 win over ECU

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DALLAS (AP) Nic Moore had 22 points, including four 3-pointers after halftime, and seven assists as No. 21 SMU beat East Carolina 74-63 on Sunday.

Markus Kennedy added 19 points while Jordan Tolbert had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Mustangs (22-4, 10-4 American), who have alternated losses and wins in their last eight games since an 18-0 start.

SMU never trailed after an 8-0 run going into the halftime, and took the lead for good when Moore hit consecutive 3s in a 27-second span after that.

Prince Williams had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting for East Carolina (10-17, 2-12), the AAC last-place team which lost its sixth consecutive game. Kentrell Barkley added 15 points and Caleb White had 14.

East Carolina was even at 38-all on Michael Zangari’s short floater with 17:19 left. That was the sixth and final tie of the game.

Moore made a 3-pointer from the top of the key only 9 seconds after that, then after a Pirates miss hit another 3 from nearly the same spot. When White hit a 3 for ECU, Moore responded with another 3 – this one from the right wing when he started the ball movement that led to him being left wide open.

While coach Larry Brown’s Mustangs are banned because of NCAA sanctions from postseason play, and can’t play in the American Athletic Conference tournament, they are still in contention to win the league’s regular-season title for the second year in a row.

Temple, the first team to beat SMU this season, went into its game Sunday night at Houston at 10-3 in the league. Cincinnati was 10-5 in the AAC after its win Saturday over UConn, which beat the Mustangs on Thursday night.

East Carolina had a 35-28 lead when Barkley made a 3-pointer with 4:27 left in the first half, which came after Moore’s attempted alley-oop pass was stolen by Zangari and started the break the other way.

The Pirates missed their last field goal attempts and two free throws the rest of the half.

Tolbert started SMU’s half-ending 8-0 run for the lead after a pass from Markus Kennedy whose second basket in the spurt was a layup with 1:44 left in the half for a 36-35 lead. Moore made a jumper between the Kennedy baskets.


East Carolina: The Pirates made 12 of 24 3-pointers. … East Carolina’s last win was 64-61 over Temple on Jan. 27, three days after the Owls handed SMU its first loss of the season. … Like SMU’s Larry Brown, East Carolina coach Jeff Lebo played collegiately at North Carolina for Dean Smith. Lebo also played for Brown with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs during the 1989-90 season.

SMU: Tolbert has his sixth double-double this season, matching the number he had over 91 games at Texas Tech (2011-14) before transferring to SMU for his senior season. … The Mustangs are 14-1 this season at home, and 76-21 overall since the start of the 2013-14 season.


East Carolina at Tulane on Wednesday night.

SMU at Memphis on Thursday night.

East Carolina nabs a local 2015 wing

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East Carolina got its recruiting efforts going in the 2015 class with the commitment of North Carolina native Kentrell Barkley. Barkley’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of Phenom Hoops Report.

The 6-foot-5 Barkley played with Team Loaded Virginia this spring and summer and had a lot of success as a do-it-all wing for them. On the adidas Gauntlet this spring, Barkley averaged 8.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game. Barkley also shot an impressive 59 percent from the field over his 14 games.

Barkley could see early minutes at East Carolina thanks to his high motor and effort on both ends of the floor. With a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Barkley can defend multiple positions as well.

The native of Durham is also known for getting into an altercation with former North Carolina wing and 2014 NBA Draft pick P.J. Hairston this summer. Hairston was charged with assault and battery for allegedly punching Barkley twice during a pick-up basketball game at a local YMCA. The court case regarding the matter is next scheduled for September 12th.

East Carolina opens new basketball practice facility

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East Carolina opened a new $17 million basketball facility this week and the brand-new, state-of-the-art, Williams-Smith Center will give the Pirates’ program the ability to compete with high-major programs in the area.

With the move to the American coming soon, East Carolina is playing with the big boys now and this new facility gives them the ability to show recruits that they’re taking that next step rather seriously. Inside ECU Sports got a quick take from head coach Jeff Lebo and he sounds enthused for the new facility.

“It’s exciting to see a project go from an idea to the final thing,” Lebo told Inside ECU Sports. “A lot of people have chipped in a lot of different ways to help this become a reality and it’s something we all appreciate and don’t take lightly.”

The facility checks in at 49,000 square feet, connects to Minges Coliseum and provides full courts for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Previously, the Pirates had to wait for other programs like volleyball at times to get shots up, but this new facility gives them 24-hour access to their own court and allows them to play whenever they want.

East Carolina is already reaping the benefits of the new facility on the recruiting trail as they landed a crucial point guard commitment in Florida-native Lance Tejada at the end of August to go along with small forward Grant Bryant. In a class that is lacking in floor leaders, Tejada is a great start to East Carolina’s recruiting efforts in the 2014 class.

Inside ECU Sports has a photo gallery of the facility here.