Wichita State MBB: East Carolina Preview

EAST CAROLINA (9-10, 2-4) at WICHITA STATE (8-10, 0-5)
Wednesday, Jan. 24 | 6:30 p.m. CT
Wichita, Kan. | Charles Koch Arena

TV: ESPN+ with Shane Dennis & Bob Hull
Radio: KEYN 103.7 FM with Mike Kennedy & Dave Dahl

• Wichita State returns home for two straight games, beginning with East Carolina on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN+.
• Wichita State coaches will wear suits and sneakers as part of the NABC’s Coaches vs. Cancer Week. Cancer doesn’t wait, and neither should you. Visit coaches.cancer.org to find a screening location near you.
• Wichita State is 12-13 all time when playing on Jan. 24.
• The Shockers lead the series with East Carolina, 7-1. The Pirates picked up their first-ever win against Wichita State in Charles Koch Arena last season.
• East Carolina is 9-10 overall and 2-4 to begin conference play. After opening the league slate 2-1, the Pirates have lost their last three games.
• Wichita State is coming off a seventh straight loss after falling at South Florida on Sunday, 72-68.
• The 7-game losing streak is the longest since Wichita State dropped 11 in a row during Mark Turgeon’s first season in 2000-01.
• The Shockers are 0-5 to begin conference play for the first time since 2008-09. That team lost its first six league games.
• Harlond Beverly has 43 assists over his last 12 games. His 57 total assists are tops on the team.
• Colby Rogers (16.2 ppg; leading scorer) has made a three-pointer in all 18 games this season and multiple in 14 of the 18. He leads the AAC in 3PT per game (2.78), total 3PT FG made (50) and 3PT Pct (38.8%).
• His streak of 18 straight games with a made three-pointer is the 7th longest in school history.
• In 13 of the 18 games Rogers has tallied 15 points or more – a team best. He has a team-high five 20-point games.
• Wichita State ranks 18th nationally in rebounds per game and 20th in defensive rebounds per game.
• Quincy Ballard ranks 20th nationally in blocks (39). He had a career-high 7 vs. Norfolk State on Nov. 25. Ballard has 13 games with multiple blocks.
• Ballard has scored 10 or more points in four of the last seven games. He had three total in the first 11 games of the season. In the last seven games, he’s 28-for-35 (80.0%) from the field.
• Wichita State posted a winning non-conference record for the 26th consecutive season, and has the league’s eighth-best NET ranking.
• Per KenPom the American Athletic Conference is ranked the 9th best conference in the NCAA.
• Wichita State returns only 20.3 percent of its scoring from a season ago, having lost its top four scorers. Pohto is the only returner to average more than 4.0 points per game. Craig Porter Jr., James Rojas, Gus Okafor and Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler exhausted their eligibility, and four others exited via the transfer portal.

• Led by second year head coach Michael Schwartz, East Carolina enters the matchup at 9-10 and 2-4 in league play.
• In Schwartz’s first season at the helm, the Pirates posted a 16-17 overall record and a 6-12 mark in conference play. The 16 wins were the most for the Pirate program in nearly a decade (2013-14) and the six conference victories tied for the most since the Pirates joined the American prior to the start of the 2014-15 season.
• ECU defeated South Florida 73-58 in the first round of the AAC tournament to win its first game in the tournament since 2017.
• Considered one of the most versatile and well-rounded assistant coaches in college basketball, Schwartz spent the seven seasons on staff at the University of Tennessee – including four as the associate head coach. In the fall of 2019, Schwartz earned feature placement on The Athletic’s list of the nation’s top-25 up-and-com-ing college basketball coaches.
• East Carolina was picked to finish fifth in the Preseason American Athletic Conference Coaches Poll.
• The Pirates are led by Preseason American Athletic Conference Second Team selection RJ Felton who scores a team-high 16.1 points per game. He ranks seventh in the AAC in scoring. Felton pulls down 6.3 rebounds (second on the team) and has a team-best 36 steals and 14 blocks.
• Felton had back-to-back games of 30+ points in November, and has scored 10 or more in all but two games this season.
• Ezra Ausar is second on the team in scoring at 14.1 per game and adds 5.6 rebounds. Ausar is shooting 55.3% from the field
• Brandon Johnson leads the Pirates in rebounding at 8.9 per game to go with 14.1 points. He’s second on the team in steals with 28. Johnson ranks third in the American in rebounds per game and second in defensive rebounds and total rebounds. His seven double-doubles are tied for the most in the American and 30th in the NCAA.
• Bobby Pettiford Jr. – a transfer from Kansas has dished out a team-high 73 assists to just 22 turnovers this season. He scores 8.3 points per game. Pettiford ranks 18th nationally and first in the American in assist to turnover ratio at 3.32.
• The Pirates average 70.9 points per game on 43.0% shooting and 30.8% from beyond the arc. East Carolina is converting 69.4% of its free throw attempts. They average only 11.0 turnovers a game. East Carolina ranks third in the American in turnovers per game at 11.0. The Pirates are good on the offensive glass, ranking top 65 nationally, but rank near the very bottom in the NCAA in defensive rebounding.
• Defensively, they allow 69.1 points and opponents are converting 43.4% of their field goal attempts and 30.8% of their attempts from long range. They force 12.7 turnovers a game.

• Wichita State and East Carolina had never played prior to the Shockers joining the league in July, 2017, and they haven’t had many encounters since then, either. This is only the ninth game in seven seasons.
• The Shockers are 7-1 (3-1 in Wichita) against the Pirates.
• East Carolina shocked Wichita State a year ago in Charles Koch Arena, handing the Shockers a 79-69 home loss for its first
• Three of the eight meetings came in 2018-19 when Wichita State swept the home-and-home and defeated East Carolina in the first round of the AAC tournament in Memphis.
• The teams met just once in 2017-18 and 2019-20 due the league’ unbalanced schedule. Both 2020-21 dates were canceled due to COVID-19. The Shockers traveled to Greenville for the 2021-22 AAC opener, but that contest was called off just hours before tipoff.
• Wichita State is 3-0 at ECU’s Minges Coliseum but hasn’t played one game there since Feb. 6, 2019.
• Only two of the games played between the two schools have been decided by single digits. The closest finish came in 2020 when Wichita State won by just six points in Charles Koch Arena.

• East Carolina sophomore forward Valentino Pinedo spent his final prep season in Wichita at powerhouse Sunrise Christian Academy.
• Former Shocker Gabe Blair – a starter on the 2011 NIT Championship team – played his first two collegiate seasons at ECU before transferring to Wichita State.

• Quincy Ballard is on pace to shatter the single season school record for field goal percentage.
• Through 18 games Ballard is shooting 70.2% (59-for-84) from the field. The current school record is 61.6% by Steve Grayer set in 1987-88.
• That number would rank 2nd nationally but to qualify players must average 5 FGM per game. Currently Ballard is at 3.4 FGM per game.
• On the defensive end, Ballard is trending towards a top five season blocking shots. He’s currently fourth on the single season blocks per game list.
• Ballard needs just 12 blocks to move into the top 10 on the single season total blocks list.

• Colby Rogers and Xavier Bell have formed a potent 1-2 scoring attack for Wichita State through 18 games. Rogers leads Wichita State in scoring at 15.9 per game and Bell is right behind at 12.5.
• Rogers ranks 8th in the American in points and 9th in points per game.
• The duo of Rogers and Bell make up 38.4 percent of Wichita State’s scoring as they’ve accounted for 512 points.
• Rogers has scored in double figures in 15 of the first 18 games, and Bell in 13 of the 18. They each have multiple 20-point outings to their name (Rogers – 5, Bell – 3).

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• Colby Rogers is riding a streak of 18 straight games with at least one made three-pointer to start the season.
• He has multiple three-pointers in 14 of the first 18 games, including 11 of the last 14.
• Rogers is attempting 7.17 three-pointers per game, which currently stands as the third most in school history behind Tyson Etienne (8.30 in 2021-22; 7.55 in 2020-21).
His 2.78 three-pointers made per game are currently the second-most in school history.

• Wichita State has an elite rim protector in Quincy Ballard. His season was cut short in 2022-23 due to injuries, so he’s only played 28 total games in his Shocker career. In those 28 games he has 53 blocked shots. Thirty-nine of those have come in the first 18 games.
• Through 18 games his 39 blocks rank 20th nationally and his 2.17 blocks per game rank 22nd.
• He has multiple blocks in all but five games this season.

• Through the first 18 games of the season Wichita State has been among the nation’s top rebounding teams. Wichita State ranks 18th nationally in rebounds per game, 20th in defensive rebounds per game and 62nd in rebound margin.
• Wichita State has four players averaging 4.5 or more rebounds per game (Dalen Ridgnal – 7.3; Kenny Pohto – 6.9; Quincy Ballard – 5.8; Harlond Beverly – 4.6).
• Wichita State has been outrebounded seven times this season with five of those coming in the last seven games.
• Wichita State has pulled down 40 or more rebounds in 9 of the 18 games, including three games of 50+.

A SHOCKER WIN WOULD…                                                                     
… Make them 9-10 this season.
… Make them 1-5 in AAC play.
… Snap a seven-game losing streak.
… Make them 13-13 all time on Jan. 24.
… Give Paul Mills 115 career coaching victories.
… Run their record to 1,666-1,255 all time.
… Make them 8-1 vs. East Carolina all time.

A SHOCKER LOSS WOULD…                                                                     
… Make them 8-11 this season.
… Drop them to 0-5 in AAC play.
… Be their eighth straight loss – the longest since 2000-01.
… Make Paul Mills 8-11 as Wichita State head coach.
… Drop them to 12-14 all time on Jan. 24.
… Drop their record to 1,665-1,256 all time.
… Make them 7-2 all-time vs. East Carolina.

GAME 20: SMU                                               
• SMU is 12-5 and under second year head coach Rob Lanier.
• The Shockers won both meetings a season ago by a combined four points.
• Wichita State leads the all-time series, 11-6, and has won the last seven meetings.
• Wichita State is 6-2 against the Mustangs in Wichita.