WICHITA, Kansas – Brandon Johnson scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds as East Carolina defeated Wichita State 79-69 on Saturday afternoon at Charles Koch Arena.
Ezra Ausar added 16 points for the Pirates (10-5, 1-1 AAC) and RJ Felton and Javon Small chipped in 13 and 14 points respectively. The win marked the Pirates’ first over the Shockers and the team’s first road win of the season.
Kenny Pohto led Wichita State (7-7, 0-2 AAC) with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The Pirates were blitzed early by a 6-0 run from the Shockers before scoring four of the game’s next six points to trail 8-4 at the first media timeout. ECU would stay hot after back-to-back threes from Wynston Tabbs and RJ Felton would put the Pirates ahead 10-9 at the 14:30 mark of the first half.
ECU would impose its will over the next four minutes, forcing Wichita State to miss nine of their next 10 shots while making four of their five in that span to stretch its lead to 21-12 with 9:49 remaining in the first half.
Both teams would combine for 14 first half threes as the Pirates took its first lead at the half in a road game at 39-35.
Wichita State would begin the second half in similar fashion to the first as the Shockers went on a quick 6-0 run to regain the lead at 41-39 and force a Pirate timeout. The Pirates would finally get a second-half basket on a layup from Tabbs but ECU would have to burn another timeout as Wichita State increased its lead to 49-41 with 14:46 to go.
The Pirates would respond with an 8-0 run to bring the game to a 49-49 tie at the 11:49 mark. The teams would trade baskets before ECU would take the lead for good with a 13-4 run to take a 69-60 lead with under four minutes to go.
East Carolina returns to Minges for a mid-week matchup with UCF on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.