SALT LAKE CITY – Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton didn’t just shut down Pitt’s leading scorer, he had him in tears.
The Shockers’ guard held Tray Woodall to two points while coming up with five steals and a key 3-point basket in helping ninth-seeded Wichita State to a 73-55 win over eighth-seeded Pitt on Thursday at the NCAA tournament.
At the news conference after the game, Woodall broke down and had to be comforted by Dante Taylor, who wrapped an arm around his teammate’s shoulder.
“It’s a bitter taste in my mouth to end my career with one of worst games I’ve ever played,” said Woodall, who came into the game averaging 11.8 points. “I’m sorry. I let my team down.”
Cotton, a 6-2 sophomore, hit his 3-pointer to start as 12-4 run and added a fast-break dunk to put the Shockers ahead 45-35 with 10:31 remaining.
Woodall finished 1 of 12 from the field and 0 of 5 from 3-point range.
The game was a physical one, with players receiving an occasional elbow in the mouth or to the head.
Malcolm Armstead led Wichita State (27-8) with 22 points, Cleanthony Early added 21 and Carl Hall had 11.
Steven Adams led Pitt (24-9) with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Wichita State forced 15 turnovers and held the Panthers to 35 percent shooting, 1 of 17 from 3-point range.
“Our guys took the fight to them, by getting a body on them, being quicker to the ball,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said.
“The steals we had on them were big, big baskets and gave us a lead, and a comfortable lead as the game went on.”
The game was expected to be a defensive struggle, with Pitt allowing just 55.4 points and the Shockers known for dominating the glass with 38 rebounds a game.