SALT LAKE CITY — Malcolm Armstead scored 22 points, Cleanthony Early added 21 and ninth-seeded Wichita State defeated eighth-seeded Pittsburgh 73-55 Thursday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Wichita State advanced to play the winner of Thursday’s game between No. 1-seeded Gonzaga and No. 16-seed Southern on Saturday.
Senior Malcolm Armstead led the way for the Shockers with 22 points, five assists and just one turnover in 28 minutes. Senior Carl Hall added 11 points for the Shockers (27-8), and junior Cleanthony Early led the team with seven rebounds.
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.
The Shockers forced Pitt into 15 turnovers and held the Panthers to 35 percent shooting, including 1 of 17 from 3-point range.
Freshman Steven Adams led Pitt (24-9) with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Pitt's leading scorer, Tray Woodall, missed his first four shots and finished with just two points. He shot 1 of 12, including 0 of 5 from beyond the arc, with five turnovers before fouling out of the game at the 4:05 mark.
Wichita State led 26-21 at the break but nearly doubled its offensive output in the second half.
Pitt's Lamar Patterson was called for a flagrant foul late in the first half. Ron Baker made one of the two free throws, then Armstead scored after his own miss on the next possession to give the Shockers a 26-21 lead going into the break.
Early's layup and two free throws by Armstead pushed Wichita State's lead to 30-21 early in the second half. Durand Johnson's 3-pointer cut it to 30-26, and the Panthers were within 35-31 following a three-point play by James Robinson. Tekele Cotton answered with a 3-pointer to bump the Shockers' lead to 38-31.
Hall's three-point play with less than 12 minutes left gave the Shockers a 10-point lead, 41-31. Pitt pulled within six after four free throws but the Shockers went on a 6-0 run, fueled by a pair of steals, a dunk by Cotton and two more free throws by Early for a 47-35 advantage with 10:13 left.
The Panthers never got within nine the rest of the game as the Shockers shot 52 percent (11-21) from the field and 82 percent (24-29) from the free throw line. Pitt finished the game shooting 35 percent (19-54) for the game and 6 percent (1-17) behind the arc.
It was another early exit for the Panthers, who failed to make the field last year, and was knocked out by Butler in their second game in 2011.