All five of UTSA's starters scored in double figures, but it wasn't enough to overcome Akeem Richmond's 36 points as ECU owned the second half and escaped with the 79-76 win.
The Roadrunners dominated the first half, opening the game on an 18-5 run, and eventually led by as many as 18 at 46-28 late in the opening stanza following a layup by Thomas Hyjii. East Carolina would end the half on a 9-1 run though, and cut the deficit back to single digits at 47-38 as the teams headed into the locker rooms.
The Runners would quickly push their lead back to a dozen after a made three by Jordan Sims 43 seconds into the second frame, but they wouldn't be celebrating for long. The Pirates would score six straight and use a 21-2 run to blow ahead of UTSA 59-52.
Although the Roadrunners wouldn't fold, a pair of made free throws by Prince Williams would give ECU their largest lead of the night at 68-55 with 6:31 left. The game, however, was still far from over.
Down 72-60 with 3:35 to play, UTSA used a 16-6 run to pull within two with 11 ticks on the clock. Williams would split a pair at the line, leaving the door open, but a three by Devon Agusi missed at the buzzer, and ECU escaped with the 79-76 win.
East Carolina, the 12 seed, now advances to take on the home team and 5th seeded Miners in the second round of the Conference USA tournament. Tipoff for that game is slated for 6:00 p.m. MT.
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