MEMPHIS, TN — Wichita State turned back East Carolina 73-57 in the opening round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday night at the FedEx Forum.
The Shockers, who have won 10 of their last 12 to improve to 18-13, got 15 points from Markis McDuffie, who made 11 of 12 free throws.
Freshman Jayden Gardner led the Pirates (10-21) with 16 points and six rebounds. Gardner made six of nine from the floor.
Shawn Williams made six of 12 field goal tries and scored 14 points in the season-ending setback.
Senior Isaac Fleming had 12 points, five rebounds and seven assists in his last college game for ECU.
“They just buried us down low,” said ECU coach Joe Dooley as the Shockers had a 44-32 lead in rebounding.
Jaime Echenique had 14 points and nine rebounds in the win. Dexter Dennis scored 13. Asbjorn Midtgaard finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Wichita State advances to meet Temple(23-8) on Friday at 9 p.m.
In other opening round matchups Thursday, Connecticut ousted South Florida, 80-73, Memphis defeated Tulane, 83-68 and Southern Methodist beat Tulsa, 74-65.
The Huskies (16-16) face No. 11 Houston (29-2) at noon Friday, Memphis (20-12) meets Central Florida (23-7) at 2 p.m. and SMU (15-16) takes on No. 24 Cincinnati (25-6) at 7 p.m.