WICHITA, Kan. – For the eighth straight game Wichita State finished on the wrong side of the scoreboard, falling 54-52 to East Carolina Wednesday night in Charles Koch Arena.
Wichita State (8-11, 0-6) has now lost three straight at home during the longest losing streak since 2000-01.
Wichita State’s 52 points were a season low behind 19 turnovers and 3-of-18 shooting from beyond the arc. The 19 turnovers led directly to 22 ECU points on the other end. Another problem area recently for the Shockers has been keeping teams off the offensive glass. ECU grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, scoring 17 points on those second chances.
Harlond Beverly tied a season high with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while adding six rebounds and three assists. Quincy Ballard tied a career high with seven blocked shots – five of them in the second half.
Colby Rogers had a tough night, going 1-for-9 from the field for just seven points.
Before Wichita State could attempt its first shot of the game, the Shockers had totaled four turnovers. A Dalen Ridgnal three-pointer finally opened the scoring and sparked a 9-0 run.
Another turnover stretch plagued the Shockers at the 10:00 minute mark, leading to an ECU 12-2 run and nearly 3:00 minutes without a basket.
The first half wasn’t easy on the eyes for either offense. East Carolina took a 26-22 lead into the half despite shooting 37 percent from the field. Wichita State shot 45 percent but 13 first half turnovers led to 14 ECU points. The 22 points marked a season low.
Outside of Beverly, who had a game-high 12 points, scoring was hard to find. Take away Beverly’s 5-of-7 shooting and the rest of the team combined to shoot 4-for-13.
Behind stellar defensive play from Ballard, Wichita State scored the first six points of the second half. Ballard had four blocks in less than 4:00 minutes, igniting the crowd.
Following a Ridgnal three-pointer at the 15:42 mark, Wichita State grabbed a 31-28 lead, but would not lead again. An ECU triple on the next two possessions put the Pirates back on top. ECU would lead by as many as seven in the second half, but Wichita State could not string enough stops or consecutive scores together to gain any momentum.
With 2:59 to go, a Bobby Pettiford steal and score put the Pirates up 54-47. Wichita State cut it to three following an Xavier Bell floater and two Ronnie DeGray III free throws.
Wichita State got a stop on the defensive end for a chance to tie. Ridgnal heaved a contested three-pointer that came up short, but Ballard was able to grab the offensive rebound and was fouled with just 2 seconds on the clock. He would make the first and intentionally miss the second for a chance at an offensive rebound, but ECU was able to corral the miss, essentially ending the game
Wichita State hosts SMU for the final time as members of the American Athletic Conference on Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.