(10) Seton Hall 66

(18-12, 9-7 Big East)

(7) Wichita State 86

(25-8, 14-4 MVC)

    12:20 PM ET, March 16, 2006

    Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina

    1 2 T
    #10HALL 24 4266
    #7WICH 40 4686

    Top Performers

    Seton Hall: D. Copeland 17 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Wichita St: S. Ogirri 23 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    MVC's Wichita State blows past Big East's Hall

    GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Sean Ogirri threw down a slam, then ran by the Wichita State fans with his arms extended as if to announce, "Here I am."

    He might as well have been talking for the Missouri Valley Conference.

    Ogirri had 23 points and hit six 3-pointers to lead Wichita State past Seton Hall from the vaunted Big East 86-66 Thursday in the first round of the Washington Regional, giving the mid-major conference an impressive debut after hearing plenty of criticism about its haul of four NCAA Tournament bids.

    "We're really proud of what we've done, and we weren't going to let a bunch of people around the country who haven't seen us make us feel any different," Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon said of the conference. "We know what we have and it's pretty special."

    Paul Miller scored 15 points for the seventh-seeded Shockers (25-8), who advanced to face Tennessee in Saturday's second round. It was Wichita State's first NCAA win since reaching a regional final in 1981, and its first tournament game since an 83-62 first-round loss to DePaul in 1988.

    The win also provided the MVC a quick bit of vindication after the league raised eyebrows with four bids, the same as the Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Pac-10 conferences. The criticism included CBS analyst Billy Packer grilling selection committee chairman Craig Littlepage over the selections, which clearly bothered Turgeon.

    The coach insisted his team -- which won the regular-season title but lost in the league tournament -- belonged in the NCAA Tournament. He said the Shockers were eager to play a Big East school. He was proven right on both counts.

    Wichita State led just about the entire way, getting a strong first half from Ogirri and Miller to build a 20-point lead late in the half and lead by 16 at the break. Tenth-seeded Seton Hall (18-12) never got closer than 11 in the second half.

    The Pirates were the lowest-seeded team among a record eight NCAA bids for the Big East. And even though they were the lower seed in this matchup, their players sure talked like a favorite from the bigger conference, with Donald Copeland making that mind-set clear by promising Wednesday that the Pirates wouldn't underestimate the Shockers.

    It should have been the other way around.

    Miller scored 11 points in the first half, starting the game with a hook shot just 9 seconds in followed by a jumper from the right corner on the next possession. Ogirri, meanwhile, provided the perimeter counterpart to the 6-foot-10 senior and league player of the year, scoring 12 points on four 3-pointers.

    "We came into the game with a lot of confidence," Miller said. "Any time you get a lot of time to practice, it can build your confidence. And we're excited to be here. We felt like we belonged and felt if we came out and executed like we did in practice, we'd be fine.

    "We were excited to play, and hungry."

    After Ogirri hit his fourth 3 with about 4 minutes left in the half, Miller hit a free throw and a layup while Wendell Preadom scored on a baseline drive to make it 40-20 with 2:19 left.

    "They got off to a great start," Seton Hall coach Louis Orr said. "They made shots early and it seemed like they kept making them throughout the game. They got us on our heels early, and we didn't get stops. From that point, it was an uphill battle."

    Seton Hall tried to rally, pulling to 55-44 on a 3 from Copeland with about 12 minutes left. But the Shockers never let the Pirates get the lead below double figures, getting Ogirri's fifth 3 and a goaltended layup by Matt Braeuer to push it back to 63-46 with 9:13 left.

    Ogirri hit his final 3 despite being fouled and knocked to the ground in the left corner with about a minute left. He hit the free throw to complete the four-point play for an 84-64 lead.

    "It just felt good shooting in practice and in the shootaround," Ogirri said. "It just felt fluid and natural. I just was shooting, and it kept falling."

    Kelly Whitney scored 18 points to lead the Pirates, who ended an up-and-down season that saw them beat Pittsburgh and West Virginia while also tallying a pair of three-game losing streaks and a 53-point loss to Duke in November.

    "All year we faced adversity and we were doubted," said Copeland, who scored 17 points. "You have to deal with a lot of things off the court, but the coaches and everybody in the program never quit."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 66 86
    FG Made-Attempted 21-61 (.344) 27-57 (.474)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-20 (.300) 10-22 (.455)
    FT Made-Attempted 18-19 (.947) 22-32 (.688)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 20


    » Mar 16, 2006 @WICH 86, HALL 66Recap