East Carolina edges Rice 68-66 in C-USA 1st round



MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Darrius Morrow scored 16 points and Erin Straughn had 13 points and 11 rebounds as East Carolina defeated Rice 68-66 Wednesday in the opening game of the Conference USA tournament.

Maurice Kemp, who had 10 points, put the 10th-seeded Pirates (15-15) ahead to stay, 66-64, on a layup with 57 seconds left — the game’s 13th lead change.

Miguel Paul’s two free throws widened the margin to 68-64, but the seventh-seeded Owls (17-15) cut it to 68-66 on Arsalan Kazemi’s dunk at the 19-second mark.

Paul missed a free throw for East Carolina, but Lucas Kuipers couldn’t hit a tying jumper for Rice with 4 seconds remaining.

Paris Campbell added 12 points for the Pirates, making 4 of 9 3-pointers, while Morrow pushed his career points total to 1,506.

Kuipers and Kazemi scored 10 points each for Rice, and Kazemi had 12 rebounds, for the junior’s 44th career double-double.