As the teams scrapped down to the wire, the Pirates (8-9, 1-3) made 5 of their last 7 shots from the field starting with Marshall Guilmette's first-ever 3-pointer to put East Carolina up 52-48. Terry Whisnant followed with a trey to make it 52-51, answering a long-range dagger from Houston's Cavon Baker.
White added a layup and a jumper and Tyson dunked after a Whisnant steal, putting the Pirates up 61-56 with 96 seconds left to play.
Baker added another trey for Houston (7-9, 0-5) but the Pirates closed it out at the line, making 5 of 7 foul shots.
Whisnant finished with 13 points for East Carolina, which made 24 of 54 shots.