ATLANTA (AP) — Curtis Haywood II scored a career-high 18 points Friday, and Georgia Tech overcame a slow start to ease past East Carolina, 79-54, as the Yellow Jackets found their lost shooting touch.
Jayden Gardner scored 13 points for ECU (2-2) and Seth LeDay added nine points and nine rebounds off the bench, but the Pirates could not overcome 22 turnovers and a big difference in 3-point shooting.
Tech made 9-of-17 to East Carolina’s 2-of-17, and the Jackets (3-1) coasted after building a 40-22 halftime lead.
The Jackets made 12 3-pointers in a season-opening win over Lamar, which was the most made in a game in head coach Josh Pastner’s two-plus seasons at the helm, but then shot just 27.6 percent from the field in Tuesday’s 66-53 loss at Tennessee, the lowest percentage in Pastner’s tenure. Friday, they hit 9-of-17 long shots.
Jose Alvarado added nine points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals for Tech and Michael Devoe, coming back from a toe injury, had 13 points and four steals.
The Jackets missed eight of their first 10 shots and fell behind 9-2 before warming to a 40-24 halftime.
Tech pulled away in the middle of the first half when Haywood hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions before Shembari Phillips followed with a third straight long ball and a bank shot for a 34-18 lead.
East Carolina: The Pirates held each of their first three opponents (Delaware State, James Madison and Lamar) under 30 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. The Jackets made 52.9 percent.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets showed improvement on defense by gambling less.
East Carolina: The Pirates will be at home Monday night against Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets will be at home Wednesday night against Texas-Rio Grande Valley.