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Last updated: March 21. 2013 11:46PM - 1742 Views

AP PHOTOWichita State's Carl Hall (22) shouts after scoring against Pittsburgh in the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA basketball tournament in Salt Lake City Thursday. Wichita State won 73-55.
AP PHOTOWichita State's Carl Hall (22) shouts after scoring against Pittsburgh in the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA basketball tournament in Salt Lake City Thursday. Wichita State won 73-55.
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SALT LAKE CITY — Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton didn’t just shut down Pitt’s leading scorer, he had him in tears after the game.


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 in the second round of 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 game 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 just 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. Freshman Steven Adams led Pitt (24-9) with 13 points and 11 rebounds.


The Shockers will face the winner of the No. 1-ranked Gonzaga-Southern game.


Wichita State forced 15 turnovers and held the Panthers to 35 percent shooting, including 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.”


Cotton deserved a lot of the credit. Armstead compared his teammate to a free safety, full of heart and desire. Marshall corrected him.


“I think he’s more of a strong safety,” Marshall said of Cotton, who finished with six points, three rebounds, two assists an no turnovers. “He’s a terrific athlete, tough as nails.”


Wichita State led 26-21 at the half.


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. Cotton answered with a 3-pointer to bump the Shockers’ lead to 38-31.


Hall’s three-point play on a Cotton assist with under 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 Cotton steals, a dunk by him and two more free throws by Early for a 47-35 advantage with 10:13 left.


The Panthers wouldn’t get any closer than eight after that, as the Shockers scored 21 points off turnovers and took advantage at the free throw line, making 33 of 41 attempts.


 
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