Eastern Kentucky started with a 15-5 lead when Ty Taylor scored nine. The Colonels led 39-32 at halftime before East Carolina (6-7) erupted to start the second half with a 21-8 run and led 53-47 with 12:51 left. Robinson-White made 1-of-2 shots from the foul line for a 48-47 advantage; the first lead for the Pirates since 2-1.
Gardner put in a layup off his own miss and the Pirates extended it to 60-51. The Colonels used a 12-5 spurt and closed to 65-63 on a 3 from Taylor but couldn't get closer. The Pirates reeled off nine straight to take control.
Eastern Kentucky (3-10) begins Ohio Valley Conference play on Thursday when it hosts Tennessee Tech.
East Carolina starts American Athletic Conference action at Wichita State on New Year's Day.
For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP-Top25
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