Wichita State Athletics
WICHITA, Kan. – An all-around effort from Erik Stevenson helped No. 24/23 Wichita State outlast East Carolina, 75-69, in a New Year's Day matinee at Charles Koch Arena.
Stevenson posted team-highs across the board for the Shockers (12-1, 1-0 American, finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds, five assists, five steals and a block.
Wichita State won its sixth-straight game and extended its home winning streak to 12 games.
Jayden Gardner, the conference's leading scorer, put up 20 of his game-high 29 points in the second half to lead ECU (6-8, 0-1 American, which had won four-in-a-row coming in.
ECU shot 49.2 percent – best by a Shocker opponent this year -- and became only the second opposing team to out-rebound them, winning the battle of the boards 36-33.
Wichita State connected on 43.9 percent from the floor, including 9-of-27 from distance, but struggled from the foul line. The Shockers attempted 20 more free throws than ECU but hit just 16-of-29 (.552).
Helped by 12 steals, the Shockers finished plus-six in takeaways (17-11) and outscored the Pirates 13-6 off turnovers.
The Shockers led for 39 minutes but never comfortably. They scored the game's first nine points but struggled to sustain any momentum.
Down 37-30 at halftime, ECU rallied to take its only lead, 45-44, with 12:46 to go.
Stevenson helped turn the tide with a three-pointer and a free throw that keyed a 6-0 Shocker run. He scored 10 of his 17 points over the last 10 minutes of the game.
Etienne, who entered the week ranked 15th nationally in three-point percentage, missed six of his first seven attempts to start the day but hit back-to-back in a span of less than 40 seconds during another 8-0 spurt. Wade's dunk made it 65-54 with 6:38 to play.
Gardner took over for ECU over the next five minutes, pulling the Pirates to within three with under a minute to play.
Morris Udeze (nine points and four rebounds) made two key defensive plays on consecutive possession, blocking a shot and then stealing an entry pass. Two trips later, Stevenson added a steal of his own. The Shockers sank five free throws over the final 41 seconds to seal the win.