Links to history
WICHITA STATE (10-10, 3-5) to EAST CAROLINA (11-10, 2-6)
Sunday January 29 | 11:00 am CT (Noon ET) Greenville, NC | Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
TV: ESPNU with Mike Corey and Sean HarringtonRadio: KEYN 103.7 FM (goshockers.com/Listen) with Mike Kennedy and Bob HullReal-time stats: shockerstats. comSeries: WSU leads 6-1 (2-0 in Greenville); Last: December 31, 2022 in Wichita (ECU, 79-69)
- Knock on the closest wooden surface before moving on to the next line…
- For the first time in four years, the Wichita State Shockers will face American Athletic Conference rival East Carolina at home.
- Sunday’s matchup in Greenville, NC comes exactly 1,453 days from the last: a 65-49 WSU win on Feb. 6, 2019. WSU senior forward Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler is the only player still outstanding from both the rosters.
- The Shockers did not make the 1,000+ mile trip in 2020 due to The American’s unbalanced schedule. Subsequent road games in 2021 and 2022 were canceled due to health and safety protocol, the latter hours before the tip, after WSU completed pregame filming inside the Minges Coliseum.
- WSU is 6-1 all-time against ECU (2-0 in Greenville) but now looking to avenge its first series loss. The Pirates won the December 31 game in Wichita, 79-69, despite Kenny Pohto’s 21 points and 11 rebounds. ECU used a 17-2 run to go up 13 points at halftime. The Shockers led by eight at about 2:00 pm of the second half after a 14-2 run of their own, but the visiting Pirates made 10 of their next 15 shots to tie it up and eventually retire.
- Wild momentum swings were a staple of WSU’s 2023 conference season. The Shockers overcame the second half trail by 14, 16 and nine points in January wins over USF, Tulsa and SMU, but blew an 18-point lead in Wednesday night’s 95-90 overtime loss to Tulane.
- WSU’s Jaykwon Walton scored a career-high 24 points against Tulane and Craig Porter Jr. grabbed a personal best 11 rebounds en route to a double-double.
- One of only two Shocker leftovers from last year’s active roster, Porter is averaging 12.1 points and a team-best 6.1 rebounds. The senior point guard ranks in the top 50 in the nation in blocks (1.84) and is also among the AAC leaders in assists (8th, 3.9) and steals (10th, 1.4).
- Walton is the team’s leading scorer (13.3 ppg) and one of nine new transfers on the active roster. He’s made the CAA honor roll each of the last two weeks.
- In AAC games, Kenny Pohto is averaging 10.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.6 steals while James Rojas is putting up 9.8 points and 7.3 rebounds.
ON THIS DATE: JAN. 29
- 1965 – Three-time All-American Dave Stallworth scored 45 points in a 93-92 overtime loss to Loyola Chicago. The following night at the Roundhouse, he finished his Shocker career with 40 points in a win over Louisville.
- 1972 – Terry Benton was everywhere at once in a 92-60 win over Tulsa, finishing with 20 points, 22 rebounds and 10 assists.
QUADRUPLE DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE:
- Craig Porter Jr. finished with a double-double against Tulane, racking up 12 points and 11 rebounds. He was two assists away from a triple-double.
- It was WSU’s 10th double-double of the season. Jaykwon Walton has 3 and the trio of Porter, Kenny Pohto and James Rojas each have two.
- It’s the first time in 28 years that four different Shockers have had multiple double-doubles in a season. The 1994-95 group included Jamie Arnold (10), Larry Callis (5), LD Swanson (2) and Terrance Flowers (2).
STUFFED SHOTS AND STATISTICS SHEET:
- Craig Porter Jr. enters the weekend as one of only six players averaging at least 3.0 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game.
NCAA Division I Average Players: 3.0 Assist, 1.0 Block, 1.0 Steal: Craig Porter Jr. (Wichita St.) — 3.9 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.8 SPG Jalen Slawson (Furman) — 3.5 APG, 1.6 BPG, 1.5 SPG Demarius Jacobs (Ball St.) — 3.3 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.6 SPG Oso Ighodaro (Marquette) — 3.2 APG, 1.1 BPG, 1.8 SPG Ta’Lon Cooper (Minnesota) — 5.7 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG Enoch Cheeks (Robert Morris) — 3.3 APG, 1.8 BPG, 1.2 SPG Data Source: College Basketball Reference Play Index // as of 1/27/23
GUIDE TO SUCCESS:
- Isaac Brown wants his players to stop settling for jump shots and get the field goal. Jaykwon Walton is one of many Shockers who took that advice to heart. In six AAC games, the junior is shooting 71 percent from inside the arc (22/31) and averaging 5.5 free throw attempts (compared to 2.7 in non-conference play).
- Walton hit 5-for-9 threes against Tulane to shrug off a month-long shooting slump. Before that, he was just 2-for-18 deep in conference games.
- The Shockers finished the season non-conference ranked among the national leaders in three-point field goal percentage (6.5 threes with 27.9% accuracy).
- In contrast, Shocker’s opponents have been hitting the ball early in conference play, averaging 8.6 threes with 36.1 percent accuracy (the highest percentage among 11 schools in the league).
- The trend was even worse at the Roundhouse, where WSU is an uncharacteristic 1-3 in AAC home games. The four invading teams combined to shoot 41.6% from three-point range (42-of-101).
- Gus Okafor recorded his 500th career rebound during the Tulane game and needs just 34 more points to reach the 1,000 mark. The 6-6 graduate transfer played his freshman season in Longwood and two more in southeast Louisiana.
- Wednesday night against Tulane marked the first time in eight conference games that WSU held a halftime lead. The Shockers scored a season-high 48 points and drilled 7-of-15 threes (.467) to go break 13.
- The Shockers ended another streak with less than two seconds into the game when they controlled the starting spike. It was the first time since Dec. 17 (Oklahoma State) that they started a game with possession. Including overtime, WSU is only 4-18 on jump balls.
- ECU is the first opponent the Shockers have faced twice this year. Houston and Temple are the only teams they have yet to meet.
- The overtime loss to Tulane snapped a 49 game hitting streak as he scored at least 90 points. The last setback was a 103-95 double overtime loss at Creighton on February 17, 1990.
- The Green Wave’s 95 points were the most by a Shocker team since a 95-87 loss to Missouri State on January 7, 2007, and the most points scored by a visiting team at the Roundhouse since February 12, 1983, when the Shockers they defeated Indiana State, 111-96.
SCOUTING THE PIRATES:
- ECU has a new head coach (former Tennessee assistant Michael Schwartz) and an almost completely new cast.
- The Pirates returned just one starter and five total lettermen from last year’s 15-15 team that finished ninth in the AAC standings at 6-11.
- That’s not to say the closet was completely bare. A trio of returning sophomores form the core of this year and combined for 55% of the score:
- 6-2 Javon Small is among the AAC leaders in scoring (15.8 ppg, 10th), assists (5.6, 2nd) and minutes (34.7, 3rd) and can beat opponents from the perimeter (2.0 3-pointers per game) or at the foul line (82/96, .854).
- 6-8 forward Brandon Johnson (12.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg) is the AAC’s co-leader in double-doubles (8).
- 6-3 guard RJ Felton is the team’s returning leading scorer from a season ago, he nearly doubled his production, averaging 12.0 points.
- The ECU isn’t a great shooting team, but they crash the backboards and get to the foul line. The Pirates are shooting from the field with a league-low 42.0%, but rank 32nd nationally in offensive rebounding percentage (.343) and lead the conference in free throw percentage (.376).
- The Shockers are 6-1 (2-0 in Greenville).
- Three of the seven meetings occurred in 2018-19, when WSU swept home and house and defeated ECU in the first round of the AAC Tournament in Memphis.
- The teams have met only once in 2017-18 and 2019-20 due to the league’s unbalanced schedule. Both 2020-21 dates have been canceled due to COVID-19. The Shockers traveled to Greenville for the 2021-22 AAC opener, but that contest was canceled hours before the tip was dropped.
- WSU is 2-0 at ECU’s Minges Coliseum, but hasn’t played there since February 6, 2019.
LAST MEETING WITH ECU:December 31, 2022 | Wichita | ECU, 79-69
- Despite a game-changing performance by Kenny Pohto (career 21 points, 11 rebounds), WSU went down to ECU for the first time in seven meetings of the AAC era.
- Brandon Johnson provided 17 points and eight rebounds for ECU, who overcame an eight-point deficit at 2:00 p.m. into the second half to score in 18 of his last 25 trips on the field.
- The Pirates shot 44.6%, ending WSU’s six-game streak holding its opponent under 40%.
- ECU made 10 of 25 shots from three and converted 19 of 22 free throws, including 10 of 10 in the final two minutes.
- WSU shooting 42.9% including 9-for-24 shooting from three.
- Pohto was 9-of-13 from the field and recorded seven offensive boards en route to his first career double-double.
- Shammah Scott — just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc coming into the day — finished with 19 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting.
- Still limited by the injury, Craig Porter Jr. limped for 17 minutes and finished with two points.
- ECU used a 17-2 run to take a double-digit lead midway through the first half.
- The Shockers hit 8-of-14 threes in the first half and opened the second with a 14-2 record to go up 49-41 with 14:52 to play.
- The Pirates made six in a row and 10 of their next 15 shots to tie the game and eventually retire.
A SHOCKER VICTORY WOULD BE…
Take them 11-10 with wins in 4 of their last 6. Take them midway through the AAC schedule with a 4-5 mark on the back of an 0-3 start. He avenges New Year’s Eve loss to ECU and extends their series lead to 7-1 (3-0 in Minges). Take them to 4-3 this season in real away games (3-3 in AAC play). Take them to 12-10 in road games under third-year head coach Isaac Brown.
A SHOCKER LEAK WOULD BE…
Drop them below 0.500 at 10-11. Send them midway through the conference schedule with a 3-6 record. Give ECU a string of regular season series and trim the Shockers’ all-time lead to 6-2 (2-1 in Greenville). Being less good than a win.
Thursday February 2 | 8:00 PM CT | ESPN2 Wichita, Kan. | Carlo Koch Arena
- WSU takes on No. 3 Houston for the first time.
- The Cougars (19-2, 7-1) enter the weekend one game ahead of Temple and Memphis in the losing column and are No. 1 in the NCAA NET rankings
- The last two WSU-UH games in Wichita have been classics. In 2021, the Shockers upset the sixth-ranked Cougars, 68-63, in a game that ultimately decided the AAC regular season championship. UH won last year’s visit on a buzzer-beater in double overtime.
- WSU last faced a top 3 AP team in the 2013 Final Four (No. 2 Louisville) and last bat in that round of 32 that year (No. 1 Gonzaga).
- WSU’s last regular season game against an AP top-3 opponent came on January 4, 1990, when it hosted #2 Kansas.
- WSU is 6-5 against the top 3 AP teams inside the Roundhouse (1955-pr.). The last of those wins was February 25, 1967 over #2 Louisville (84-78).