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Nothing shocking: Wichita rolls past ECU

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Wichita State's Markis McDuffie celebrates during their game against East Carolina on Jan. 11, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


The Daily Reflector

Thursday, January 11, 2018

There were no shocks to be had for poor-shooting East Carolina on Thursday night, as the Pirates were blistered by No. 5 Wichita State in Minges Coliseum, 95-60.

The biggest home crowd of the season turned out and helped to roar the Pirates to an early lead, but they were filing out with 15 minutes left in the game as the Shockers grew their lead past 30 points.

ECU (7-9, 1-4 American Athletic Conference) shot 39.7 percent from the floor and was steadily worn thin by a Wichita team that boasted 11 different scorers. The Shockers rocked the Pirates with big scoring spurts despite going 9-of-22 from behind the arc, and they had 32 assists on 38 total baskets made.

It was the most lopsided home ECU loss in nearly a decade.

“We’ve seen the elite of the elite in this league, and it’s a learning experience for our guys,” interim ECU head coach Michael Perry said, calling Wichita the best team he has seen since the Pirates joined the American. “They’re the No. 5 team in the country right now and they’ve got a lot of strengths, not a lot of weaknesses. There is a lot to learn in playing a basketball team like this.”

WSU (14-2, 4-0) got 14 points from Rauno Nurger, followed by Shaquille Morris and Markis McDuffie with 12 each and 11 from season-long leading scorer Landry Shamet.

ECU rode senior B.J. Tyson for a game-high 16 points, while Kentrell Barkley was hot early and finished with 14 and Dimitri Spasojevic finished with 10 to go with a team-best six rebounds.

“They started out great, and we decided we were going to make this a tons-of-possession game and we’re going to press and we’re going to try to wear them down,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said of ECU, noting that he knew the Pirates were playing with a depleted roster. “In the first half that’s what we were able to do. ... We’ll take the win and move on to Saturday at Tulsa.”

Wichita rocketed out to a 45-23 lead at the half despite having to overcome an early five-point deficit. The Shockers did so with a 14-0 run to take the lead, then capped the half on a 10-0 surge.

The Pirates shot just 32.1 percent from the floor and Barkley and Isaac Fleming managed five points apiece to lead a paltry scoring effort.

WSU, meanwhile, lived up to its season-long trend by getting points from 10 different players in the opening 20 minutes, led by Conner Frankamp’s eight.

Barkley’s dunk gave the Pirates an 11-9 edge before Shawn Williams knocked down an open 3-pointer from the right corner to make it 14-9 Pirates with 12:02 left before the intermission.

“The crowd was tremendous,” Perry said of the 5,539 inside Minges. “One of the things we saw is that we can play with them for 10 minutes or 11 minutes, but then the other 30 minutes you’ve got to figure it out. That’s where they’re really good, and that’s where we’ve got to be able to learn to sustain our level of play for longer periods of time.”

The Shockers took over from there, reclaiming the lead on Frankamp’s bank-in, and McDuffie and Nurger both converted traditional three-point plays to quickly made it a 10-point game, 24-14.

Wichita was off and running, increasing its lead past 20 points just before the break on Shamet’s 3-pointer. The WSU star was held mostly in check in the half, however, as he managed just five points.

The Shockers held a commanding 28-11 edge in rebounds in the half, and 40-26 for the game.

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.