Jayden Gardner, Shawn Williams propel ECU past A&T

The freshman star dominates inside while last season's AAC Rookie of the Year hit six 3s in 77-57 beatdown of Aggies

ECU freshman star Jayden Gardner goes strong to the basket over NC A&T's Milik Ganz in the Pirates' win Saturday (Rob Goldberg/ECU athletics photo)

GREENVILLE (AP) — Freshman Jayden Gardner had his fifth double-double of the season and Shawn Williams scored 18 points to help East Carolina beat N.C. A&T 77-57 on Friday night.

Gardner finished with 27 points, on 9-of-14 shooting, and 13 rebounds and Williams tied his career high with six 3-pointers. Seth LeDay and Isaac Fleming scored 13 points apiece for ECU (7-5).

Fleming hit a 3-pointer, made a layup and had a tipin before Williams hit a 3 and LeDay added a layup to make it 12-2 and the Pirates led the rest of the way. Ibrahim Sylla’s layup capped a 9-2 spurt that spanned halftime and trimmed NC A&T’s deficit to 38-29 but Gardner made 1 of 2 free throws and, after an Aggies miss, Williams hit a 3-pointer to push the lead into double figures for good.

Milik Ganz had 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting for NC A&T (4-9). The rest of the Aggies made just 14 of 44 (32 percent) from the field.

“We had great energy tonight and I think that was a direct reflection of the way we practiced the last couple of days,” ECU coach Joe Dooley said. “I think it was noticeable tonight the way the ball moved and we looked a little bit more fluid offensively.

“I think the best part that got us going definitely came from the defensive end. We guarded very well. They were only 31 percent in the first half, and they are an efficient offensive team. I thought that gave us some confidence. We got some stops early that we needed to get.”