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Wichita State Outlasts Furman In NIT First Round, 76-70

Wichita State Outlasts Furman In NIT First Round, 76-70

Greenville, S.C. -- Markis McDuffie poured in 20 points and Jaime Echenique added 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 6 seed Wichita State to a 76-70 victory over No. 3 seed Furman in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Wednesday night at Timmons Arena.

With the victory, Wichita State (20-14) advanced to face No. 2 seed Clemson in second round play on Sunday, March 24, at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C. The Paladins wrapped up the 2018-19 season with a school-record 25 wins and a 25-8 overall record.

Tied at 66-66 with under two minute to play, Echenique gave the Shockers the lead for good with a layup and Samaje Haynes-Jones drained a jumper on Wichita State's next possession to push the advantage to 70-66 with 44 seconds to go. Matt Rafferty helped Furman trim the margin back to two points, but Haynes-Jones found McDuffie for a layup to beat the Paladin press and guard Erik Stevenson converted on two free throws with six seconds remaining following Jordan Lyons' missed three-pointer to seal the verdict.

McDuffie connected on 8-of-17 shots to net his team-high 20 points, while Echenique made good on 8-of-10 chances from the floor en route to a double-double. Stevenson scored 12 points off the bench and center Asbjorn Mitdgaard added nine points and 10 rebounds to help the Shockers to a 25-3 edge in bench points and 43-26 advantage on the boards.

Furman reeled off a 10-2 run late in the first half to grab a 31-28 lead before Wichita State finished the period on a 7-0 spurt to carry a 35-31 lead into the half. The Paladins roared back to take a 40-39 advantage with the first of six lead changes in the second half.

Rafferty, playing his final game as a Paladin, hit on 11-of-19 shots to score a game-high 27 points and added eight rebounds, five assists and five steals. The Hinsdale, Ill., native concluded his four years at Furman ranked 23rd on the career scoring list with 1,340 points. Lyons drained four triples to score 19 points and become the 45th player in school history to eclipse 1,000 career points. Sophomore Clay Mounce finished with 10 points.

The Shockers shot 50% from the floor and managed a 46-32 scoring edge in the paint. Furman connected on 41.9% of its shots and converted on 10-of-12 trips to the foul line.