WSU closes out regular season with win over East Carolina

Freshman Ricky Council IV earns two points for the Shockers with a slam dunk on East Carolina on March 5. (Mia Hennen/ The Sunflower)

The Shockers won their regular season finale on Saturday, defeating East Carolina University 70-62. This is WSU’s 750th win in the Roundhouse.

Sophomore Tyson Etienne opened the Shocker’s offense with a three-pointer, capturing an early lead. This was Etienne’s 196th three-pointer of his Shocker career. He is currently tied with Jason Perez for fifth on the all-time list. 

“We’re playing with confidence which is something we haven’t really played with from a collective through the whole season,” Etienne said. 

Etienne sparked a fire under the Shockers offense grabbing them the first run of the game 9-0. Since their run, the Shockers struggled offensively. 

ECU cut the Shocker advantage to three before the end of the half. The Shockers were determined to get their strong lead back and went into halftime with a five-point lead 34-29.

Once the Shockers got their offensive rhythm, Ricky Council IV regained the Shocker lead with a layup followed up by a two point jumpshot. Junior Craig Porter Jr. followed Council by obtaining the lead for a second time with two jump shots.

“The crowd, once they get to going, they can really get us going in any game no matter who we play against,” Porter said. “Really, I feel like the crowd took over and that helped us a lot.”

Junior Morris Udeze prepares to deliver a slam dunk to the East Carolina Pirates on March 5 in Koch Arena. (Mia Hennen/ The Sunflower)

The second half of the game was run by Council, Porter and junior Morris Udeze. The three players all led to a 10-0 run against ECU who went over four minutes without making a shot. 

“Tonight, we drove the basketball,” said Brown. “I think we had 42 points in the paint. I told certain guys on this team you need to think 65% of your shots need to come in the paint. The other 35% need to be stationary 3’s. When we figured it out we’re a pretty good basketball team.”

The Shockers put up double digits from Udeze, Eitenne, Porter and Council. The Pirates, on the other hand, struggled to make big plays and only had two players in double digits, Vance Jackson and Tristen Newton. 

“I felt like Tristan Newton had it going on offense and he wasn’t having to guard,” Brown said. “He was guarding Porter who was making the pass and cutting through, so their leading scorer had to play both defense, and we wanted to attack him, so we started attacking and we were able to get to the rim get some wide open shots and I thought it affected his offense on the other end.”


Council led with 20 points and seven rebounds for the Shockers, despite only scoring four points in the first half.

“He started taking care of the basketball, he started driving and attacking,” Brown said. “No doubt in my mind he should be sixth man of the year. When he comes off the bench it’s like instant offense.”

Porter had a big day for the team obtaining his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds..

The Shockers finished their conference season with a record of 6-11 and are currently on a 2-0 winning streak. Going into the AAC Championship in Fort Worth, the team must win all four games in four days to make it to an NCAA Tournament. 

“We all have one common goal to make it to the NCAA Tournament and we can’t do that unless we win four in four days, so we’ve just got to stay locked in,” Council said.

The Shockers struggled throughout their conference season, but are hopeful to end on another high. After a difficult loss to Memphis, the Shockers have brought two point percentage. They sat down and had a conversation on what needs to change. Since then, the Shockers have clicked and come together as a team collectively.

“We’ve won four games before,” Brown said. “We went on a streak where we won in Vegas, we won on the road, we won two in the SEC, the Big12. We’ve got enough guys on our team in order to do that. We’re gonna take it one game at a time.”