GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina men's basketball team opened its season with a 71-56 victory in the first-ever meeting against Coker College at Minges Coliseum Friday evening. The Pirates improve to 1-0, while the Cobras take the loss, although it does not count in their record, as it is considered an exhibition game on their schedule.
The ECU win marked the ninth consecutive victory to open a season and 17-straight against Carolinas Conference opponents.
Senior Sam Hinnant was the Pirates top scorer with 21 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. Sophomore Chad Wynn set a career-high with 15 points and sophomore Brock Young chipped in with seven points and nine assists.
Vatrick Thompson led three Coker players in double figures with 16 points. Josh Poston added 12 points and Mason Abler tallied 11 and four rebounds.
Darrius Morrow knocked down a pair of free throws to push the Pirates to a commanding 21-4 lead at the 12:54 mark in the first half. Wynn scored six points during a 13-0 span to give ECU its largest lead prior to intermission.
The Cobras answered with an 8-0 run of their own. Three straight baskets by Vatrick Thompson and a Josh Poston layup cut the Pirates lead to 21-12. James Legan broke a nearly five-minute scoreless drought for the Pirates with a layup to extend the lead, 23-14.
Hinnant hit four free throws in the final 1:31 of the half to give ECU a 32-22 lead. The Pirates shot 40 percent (10-for-25) from the field in the first half compared to 36 percent (9-for-25) by Coker.
The Pirates entered the second half firing on all cylinders, posting a 15-2 run to make the score, 47-24. A Young no-look pass to Wynn for a two-handed dunk highlighted the second half break-out.
The lead reached a game-high 29 points on a Hinnant basket with 7:02 remaining. ECU went 24-for-49 from the field to shoot 49 percent for the game. Coker connected on 24-of-58 shots for 41.4 percent.
ECU is back in action on Sunday when St. Andrews travels to Minges Coliseum at 1:30 p.m.