SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Malcolm Armstead scored 22 points, Cleanthony Early added 21 and ninth-seeded Wichita State defeated eighth-seeded Pitt 73-55 Thursday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Freshman Steven Adams led Pitt (24-9) with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Carl Hall added 11 points for the Shockers (27-8), who face the winner of the No. 1-ranked Gonzaga-Southern game.
The Shockers forced Pitt into 15 turnovers and held the Panthers to 35 percent shooting, including 1 of 17 from 3-point range.
Pitt’s leading scorer, Tray Woodall, missed his first four shots and finished with two points. He shot 1 of 12, including 0 of 5 from beyond the arc, with five turnovers.
The Shockers scored 21 points off turnovers and took advantage at the free throw line, making 33 of 41 attempts.
Wichita State led 26-21 at the break but nearly doubled its offensive output in the second half.
Early’s layup and two free throws by Armstead pushed Wichita State’s lead to 30-21 early in the second half. Durand Johnson’s 3-pointer cut it to 30-26, and the Panthers were within 35-31 following a three-point play by James Robinson. Tekele Cotton answered with a 3-pointer to bump the Shockers’ lead to 38-31.
Hall’s three-point play with under 12 minutes left gave the Shockers a 10-point lead, 41-31. Pitt pulled within six after four free throws but the Shockers went on a 6-0 run, fueled by a pair of steals, a dunk by Cotton and two more free throws by Early for a 47-35 advantage with 10:13 left.
It was another early exit for the Panthers, who failed to make the field last year, and were knocked out by Butler in their second game in 2011.
The teams were supposed to be mirror images of each other, and in many ways they were — going hard at rebounds, concentrating on defense and having difficulty finding the basket.
With 12 minutes elapsed, Wichita State was shooting just 25 percent and the Panthers 29 percent.
The ugly first half saw the teams combine for as many turnovers (15) as field goals.
Woodall didn’t make a basket until 6 minutes remained in the half.
The game was expected to be a defensive struggle, with Pitt allowing just 55.4 points and the Shockers known for dominating the glass with 38 rebounds a game.
As expected, it was physical.
When Pitt 7-footer Adams went in strong for a dunk in the first half, he was fouled hard by Early.
Adams made both free throws with 9:19 left in the half for a 13-11 Pitt lead.
Pitt’s Lamar Patterson was called for a flagrant foul late in the first half. Ron Baker made one of the two free throws, then Armstead scored after his own miss on the next possession to give the Shockers a 26-21 lead going into the break.
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