Preview: ECU men's basketball set to host Wichita State

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – ECU opens the second half of the American Athletic Conference season inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum Wednesday night against Wichita State, who is in search of its first true road win of the year.

The Pirates, who are also winless on the road this season, have compiled a 9-4 record at home this season including wins over conference foes Cincinnati and Tulane.

ECU returns home after suffering a 76-52 loss at UConn Sunday three days after holding off Tulane, 66-65, at home to end a five-game losing streak. The Pirates shot just 33.3 percent against the Huskies, who held freshman Jayden Gardner to nine points. K.J. Davis was the lone Pirate to reach double figures, scoring 13 points.

It was only the fourth time this season that Gardner hadn't scored double digits.

"I just have to play through [being tired] because my team needs me," Gardner said. "I just have to keep pushing."

Wichita State senior Markis McDuffie leads The American in scoring at 18.9 points per game, while Gardner is fifth with 18.3. McDuffie has nine 20-point games to his credit and Gardner has eight.

McDuffie is the reigning American Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Week following a 27-point performance against Tulsa Saturday.

The only other player to average double figures for the Shockers is Samajae Haynes-Jones with 12.3 points per game.

Joining Gardner as double figure scorers for the Pirates are Seth LeDay (11.3 ppg) and Shawn Williams (11.1 ppg.).

Both teams rank at the bottom of the conference's shooting statistics. ECU ranks 11th in field goal percentage and 12th in 3-point field goal percentage, while the Shockers are shooting a league-low 41.3 percent overall and just ahead of the Pirates in 3-point field goal shooting.

ECU and Wichita State both average between 67 and 69 points per game and hold their opponents to approximately 72 points a contest.

The Shockers won the only previous meeting in the series in Greenville last season, 95-60. WSU shot 59.4 percent from the field, including 70 percent (21-30) in the second half.