McDuffie, Haynes-Jones lead Wichita State to victory on senior night

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McDuffie, Haynes-Jones lead Wichita State to victory on senior night

Wichita State senior Samajae Haynes-Jones celebrates with his teammates after stepping off the court at Charles Koch Arena for possibly the last time. Wichita State beat ECU 72-55 on March 5, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Wichita State senior Samajae Haynes-Jones celebrates with his teammates after stepping off the court at Charles Koch Arena for possibly the last time. Wichita State beat ECU 72-55 on March 5, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Joseph Barringhaus

Wichita State senior Samajae Haynes-Jones celebrates with his teammates after stepping off the court at Charles Koch Arena for possibly the last time. Wichita State beat ECU 72-55 on March 5, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Joseph Barringhaus

Joseph Barringhaus

Wichita State senior Samajae Haynes-Jones celebrates with his teammates after stepping off the court at Charles Koch Arena for possibly the last time. Wichita State beat ECU 72-55 on March 5, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Samajae Haynes-Jones will remember Tuesday’s game against East Carolina for the rest of his life.

Haynes-Jones presumably played his final game in a Shocker jersey in Charles Koch Arena. He and teammate Markis McDuffie stole the show as Wichita State beat the Pirates, improving to a 9-8 record in the American Athletic Conference. Wichita State won for the eighth time in its last 10 games.

“It was just a great feeling, and now that it’s over with I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” Haynes-Jones said.  “It’s like a dream come true.”

Joseph Barringhaus
Coach Gregg Marshall speaks with Samajae Haynes-Jones and his sister after their final game in Charles Koch Arena on March 5, 2019. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Tuesday was reminiscent of a game earlier this year. McDuffie and Haynes-Jones each struggled to find their footing, shooting a low percentage as Wichita State struggled offensively, despite holding an advantage at halftime.

For a brief stint in the second half, McDuffie started knocking down shots. With a near 20-point lead, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall emptied his bench and let the seniors exit the game a final time. McDuffie’s 16 points lead the team in its 72-55 win.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State senior Markis McDuffie hugs coach Gregg Marshall after stepping off the court at Charles Koch Arena for possibly the last time. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

“It’s bittersweet,” McDuffie said. “I’ll never forget being here.”

Marshall said McDuffie will be remembered as the bridge connecting the Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet-era program to the future of Shocker basketball.

Asbjørn Midtgaard, a sophomore, posted a career-high of 11 points. Midtgaard, however, was quick to take none of the spotlight from his two senior teammates. He mentioned that both McDuffie and Haynes-Jones helped him transition as he became accustom to American basketball after he arrived at Wichita State from Denmark.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State center Asbjørn Midtgaard dunks the ball during the second half of the game against ECU on March 5, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

“Seeing him (Haynes-Jones) grow as a player and as a person has been incredible,” Midtgaard said. “He helped me through struggle … You have to keep working and good things will come.”

Wichita State (16-13, 9-8) will play its regular-season finale on Saturday at Tulane.