GREENSBORO, N.C.—East Carolina used a full-court press to spark a 15-0 run late in the second half on its way to a 71-62 win over UNCG, spoiling the debut of Spartan’s interim head coach Wes Miller on Friday at Greensboro Coliseum.
Miller, who was tabbed to replace former head coach Mike Dement on Tuesday, was matched up with fellow UNC alum and East Carolina head coach Jeff Lebo. The Spartans appeared to be on their way to victory before faltering.
Sophomore swingman Trevis Simpson almost single-handedly gave UNCG a 10-point lead midway through the second half. Simpson scored 13 straight points for the Spartans (2-9), turning a 39-35 deficit into a 48-40 advantage with 12:09 to play.
A Korey Van Dussen basket gave UNCG its biggest lead at 50-40 with 11:19 left and, after an ECU (5-4) three-pointer by Miguel Paul cut the lead to 50-43, Simpson gave UNCG a 52-43 advantage with a basket at the 10:36 mark.
But the Spartans wouldn’t score again for more than four minutes, as the Pirates unleashed a full-court press which resulted in five UNCG turnovers during the same span. ECU converted those five turnovers into 13 points and when UNCG finally scored again at the 6:21 mark, the Pirates owned a 58-54 lead.
UNCG never got closer than four points the rest of the way, and East Carolina was 5-of-6 at the free throw line in the final minute to seal the victory.