Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the news and information section for East Carolina University men's and women's sports.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP)
Wichita State outlasted East Carolina 75-69 on Wednesday in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Erik Stevenson scored 10 of his 17 points after halftime for the Shockers (12-1, 1-0 American), who trailed midway through the second half thanks to East Carolina's Jayden Gardner
scoring 20 of his 29 points after halftime.
Gardner, who entered the game leading the American in scoring at 20.7 points a game, was 12 of 20 from the floor and had a game-high 10 rebounds.
"His 15-footer is almost automatic,"
Marshall said. "He was able to get it a little more than we wanted."
Jamarius Burton had 15 points for Wichita State while Tyson Etienne and Trey Wade added 11 each for the Shockers.
scored 12 points for the Pirates (6-8, 0-1 American), and Tremont Robinson-White
Wichita State shot out to a 9-0 lead, and East Carolina coach Joe Dooley
admitted his team "got frazzled."
But Gardner was not going to let them get blown out.
"It's fun to play in an atmosphere like this,"
Gardner said. "Once guys got adjusted to it, we settled down and played well."
The Pirates came all the way back to take a 45-44 lead on Bitumba Baruti
's jumper in the lane with 12:46 remaining.
"I thought we weren't playing aggressively enough,"
Marshall said. "That's one of the reasons they could keep scoring."
Stevenson scored seven points over the next three minutes to push Wichita State back ahead 53-47.
"We have a lot of veteran guards,"
Stevenson said, "and I think that helps us from getting too down about losing the lead, especially at home. We know we can turn that momentum around."
East Carolina had two final-minute possessions down four or less that resulted in a turnover and a blocked shot, helping Wichita State seal the win.
"Ill-timed turnovers really hurt us,"
The Pirates return to action Tuesday, Jan. 7, at home against South Florida.
ECU Head Coach Joe Dooley
On the fight his team displayed
"You're playing a really good team on the road and I thought we did a lot of good things. We've got a lot of new guys, so to come in this environment and get down like we did and fight back, I thought they responded in a really good way. I'm proud of the way they responded."
- ECU used its 10th different starting lineup this season with Robinson-White, Tyrie Jackson, Brandon Suggs, Gardner and Charles Coleman on the floor for tip-off. It was Coleman's first start with the foursome.
- Gardner scored a season-high 29 points and posted his sixth consecutive 20-point game. It was his ninth 20-point performance of the season and seventh double-double. He also tied his career-high for field goals made with 12.
- The Pirates lost for the first time this season when shooting better than their opponent (6-1).ECU finished the game shooting 49.2 percent, while Wichita State shot 43.9 percent.
- Miles scored in double figures for the fourth time this season, finishing one point off his season-high (13 vs. Kansas City).
- Robinson-White scored double digits for the third consecutive game and fifth time in seven games played this season.
"We made some ill-timed turnovers both in the first and second half. I thought we got a little sped up and took some bad shots. It wasn't lack of effort. We've got to get where we're a little more patient offensively. I thought we played hard and competed. But we've just got to clean up some things."
On Jayden Gardner
"Jayden was spectacular. It shows how much he's worked on his face up game. He wasn't around the basket as much. He had a couple of good finishes at the basket. He made some mid-range gains and he drove the ball good which were a couple of big plays."
ECU Forward Jayden Gardner
On his performance
"In the offseason I worked a lot on my all-around game and being able to face up. I think my ability to face up (Wednesday) really helped me. I didn't really attack the basket that much. They were sagging off on me, so I was able to hit some jump shots."