GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Rauno Nurger scored 14 points and fifth-ranked Wichita State shook off a slow start to roll past East Carolina 95-60 on Thursday night.
Shaquille Morris added 12 points for the Shockers (14-2), who improved to 4-0 in their first season in the American Athletic Conference.
Wichita State trailed 14-9 early after a 3-for-12 shooting start, but the Shockers quickly settled in to take complete control. Wichita State went ahead for good on a 15-0 run, part of a 36-9 avalanche to close the first half and drain the fight out of a once-feisty Minges Coliseum crowd.
By the time the Shockers added two more baskets to open the second half, Wichita State led 49-23 and soon had many fans streaming toward the exits.
B.J. Tyson scored 16 points for the Pirates (7-9, 1-4), who shot 32 percent in the opening half to quickly see any chance of an upset disintegrate.
Wichita State: This is part of the Shockers’ first go-around through the American after moving from its 72-year home in the Missouri Valley Conference. They’re having no troubles so far, winning all four league games by at least 10 points. There was also the encouraging sign of seeing junior forward Markis McDuffie (12 points) hit double figures for the third straight game; he returned roughly three weeks ago from a stress fracture in his left foot that had sidelined him for the first 11 games.
East Carolina: The Pirates have been in a state of flux since coach Jeff Lebo stepped down six games into his eighth season. Assistant Michael Perry has been leading the program in the interim and there was a buzz with only the second top-five team from the AP Top 25 visiting Minges. But after that 14-9 opening, little went right as ECU fell to 5-5 under Perry.
Wichita State: The Shockers visit Tulsa on Saturday.
East Carolina: The Pirates host Houston on Sunday in the second game of a three-date home stand.