Men lose conference home opener in defensive battle


Emmie Boese / The Sunflower

Redshirt freshman guard Jalen Ricks looks to steal the ball against East Carolina on Dec. 31. Ricks scored three points in the Shockers 79-69 loss against the Pirates.

A 42.9% performance from the field and 37.5% shooting from the 3-point line was not enough for the men’s basketball team against East Carolina University on New Years Eve. 

“Overall, we didn’t defend like we needed to,” head coach Isaac Brown said. “We didn’t get back in transition, give them all the credit.”

The Shockers lost 79-69 despite snagging 13 offensive rebounds and scoring 34 points in the paint. Sophomore forward Kenny Pohto scored a career high 21 points and snagged 11 rebounds. 

“That’s something I’m trying to do, like take it into the next games and be more consistent,” Pohto said. 

Sophomore Shammah Scott got the start at point guard against ECU due to senior Craig Porter’s ankle injury. Scott scored 19 points and recorded only one turnover. 

“I thought he did a good job of running our team and getting us in our offense,” Brown said. 

At halftime, the Shockers trailed ECU 34-40. Midway through the second half, they led 49-41. 

“In the second half, we had a big stretch where we were just making play after play, but then we just let up in the second half,” Scott said. “We had some wide open threes, missed communication on our part, so I think we just gotta wake up and just lock in on that part.”

The men are now 0-2 in the American Athletic Conference. Earlier this week, they lost to UCF 52-45 on Dec. 28. 

Pohto said in order to win in conference play, the Shockers need to play well the whole game. 

“We really gotta work on (playing for) 40 minutes,” Pohto said. “The whole 40 minutes. Going hard the whole 40 minutes.” 

The men will play Cincinnati at home on Jan 5. at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN 2 and KEYN 103.7 with Mike Kennedy and Dave Dahl. Charles Koch Arena will be hosting a yellow out theme.