Jan 01, 2020 11:25 PM

No. 24 Shockers outlast ECU in conference opener

Posted Jan 01, 2020 11:25 PM

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.

Jamarius Burton added 15 points and Trey Wade and Tyson Etienne finished with 11 points and six rebounds apiece.

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.

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Jan 01, 2020 11:25 PM
Kansas State, Navy set to face off in liberty bowl
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No. 21 Navy is seeking to match a program single-season record by earning its 11th win as it faces Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl at Memphis, Tennessee.

Kansas State will be trying to slow down Navy's top-ranked rushing attack. Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry has run for 1,804 yards. Perry is 116 yards away from the Football Bowl Subdivision single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback. Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch ran for 1,920 yards in 2013.

This game matches two of the nation's most improved teams. Navy won just three games last season and Kansas State only five.