WICHITA STATE (11-11, 4-6) at TULSA (5-16, 1-9)
Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023 | 2 p.m. CT
Tulsa, Okla. | Reynolds Center (8,355)
TV: ESPN+ w/ Josh Haley & Bryndon Manzer
Radio: KEYN 103.7 FM (goshockers.com/listen) w/ Mike Kennedy & Bob Hull
Live Stats: shockerstats.com
Series: WSU leads 75-63 (is 31-36 in Tulsa); Last: Jan. 14, 2023 in Wichita (WSU, 73-69)
- The Wichita State Shockers hit the road Sunday for a 2 p.m. CT matchup with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
- WSU has been better on the road (3-2) than at home in AAC play with wins at SMU, ECU and USF.
- WSU overcame a 16-point second half deficit to win the Jan. 14 meeting with Tulsa in Wichita, 73-69. Jaywon Walton led a group of five double-figure scorers with 19 points and James Rojas tallied a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
- The Shockers look to sweep their home-and-home with Tulsa for the fifth time in six AAC seasons. They’re 9-2 against the Hurricane since joining the league.
- Tulsa is WSU’s third-most-played opponent behind Drake (152 meetings) and Bradley (144). Sunday marks the 139th game in a series that began in 1931. The Shockers lead 75-63 with wins in 18 of the last 21.
- WSU is 31-36 all-time in Tulsa but owns a 7-4 mark at the Reynolds Center. WSU has won four of its five visits in the American era with the lone loss coming on a buzzer-beater (Feb. 1, 2020).
- WSU started the conference slate 0-3 but has victories in four of its last seven.
- The Shockers played some of their best basketball in Thursday night’s 70-61 home loss to No. 3 Houston, leading as late as the 6:25-mark of the second half before an 11-1 Cougar run turned the tide. Walton matched his career-high with 24 points to go with Rojas’ 15. Helped by a Kenny Pohto’s career-best 12 rebounds, WSU out-rebounded UH, 35-30, but finished the night just 3-of-20 from beyond the arc.
- One of just two holdovers from last year’s active roster, Porter is averaging 12.2 points and a team-best 6.0 rebounds. The senior point guard entered the weekend ranked among the AAC leaders in the rare trifecta of blocks (3rd, 1.71), assists (8th, 3.8) and steals (t-9th, 1.4).
- One of nine new transfers, Walton is the team’s leading scorer at 13.9 points-per-game. The junior wing is averaging 15.9 points in AAC play while shooting an incredible 73% from inside the arc.
- Improvement from the starting frontcourt duo of Rojas (11.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.5 spg in AAC play) and Pohto (10.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.2 bpg) has played a major role in WSU’s offensive improvement over the past three weeks.
- The Shockers rank among the national leaders in field goal percentage defense, limiting foes to 39.4% (17th).
ON THIS DATE: FEB. 5
2000 – Senior Jason Perez put up 34 points in a win over Evansville. It was his second straight 30-point performance.
- Craig Porter Jr. was hobbled for the first two games of conference play. Jaykwon Walton missed games 3 and 4. The Jan. 14 Tulsa contest (AAC game No. 5) marked the first time that WSU’s two leading scorers had both started a conference game together.
- Per KenPom, WSU’s offensive efficiency rating has been at 100-or-higher (better than the national average) in five of the last six games. That had happened just five times in the first 16 contests.
- Over this six-game stretch, the Shockers are averaging 76.3 points (up from 64.9 ppg). Three-point and field goal percentages haven’t improved much, but WSU is getting to the line with regularity, averaging 19.3 free throws-per-game on 24.7 attempts (78.4%) compared to 10.4 and 15.3 previously (68.0%). For context, UAB – the current NCAA leader in free throw makes – averages 18.6-per-game.
- The 2022-23 Shockers are morning people – at least according to the numbers. They’re 7-3 this year in afternoon games (Noon-5 p.m. tip offs), 4-3 in evening action (5-7 p.m. tips) and 0-4 in starts after 8 p.m.
- The Shockers’ earliest start of the season (Noon ET last Sunday at ECU) was also their best. They scored a season-high 49 in the first half and went into the locker room with a 21-point lead.
- Good news! Four of the eight remaining games tip at 2 p.m. CT. None of them start after 8.
- WSU is 23-21 (.523) in AAC road games in six seasons since joining the league, including 8-9 under third-year head coach Isaac Brown.
- For the sixth-consecutive year, the men’s basketball team will partner with Coaching for Literacy to host a #Fight4Literacy game in support of literacy efforts in the local community.
- Coach Brown and staff will wear green lapel pins during the Feb. 8 UCF game to raise awareness for the cause.
- Fans are invited to make a donation in support of local programs. One hundred percent of funds generated at the game will stay in the community through a grant partnership with the United Way of the Plains.
- Join the #Fight4Literacy by visiting unitedwayplains.org/literacy
- Tulsa (5-16, 1-9) is in its first season under Eric Konkol, who posted six 20-win seasons during a seven-year run at Louisiana Tech and guided the Bulldogs to a spot in the 2021 NIT semifinals.
- Konkol inherited a team that lost three of its top-4 scorers from a year ago when it finished 11-20 (4-14 AAC).
- Tulsa’s top returner, junior guard Sam Griffin, leads the scoring at 15.7 points. He’s averaging 2.5 threes-on 31.0% accuracy and is 43-of-48 at the foul line (.896).
- 6-9 sophomore forward Bryant Selebangue (12.7 ppg) has been an impact addition to the front court. The Florida Southwestern State College transfer is the conference’s leading rebounder (9.6) and his .641 field goal percentage is 11th on the NCAA leaderboard (minimum 5 FGM/game).
- 6-1 Chicago State transfer Brandon Betson (10.6 ppg) has been a three-point weapon off the bench, knocking down a league-high 46.9% (46-of-98).
- The Shockers lead the series, 75-63, and have won 18 of the last 21. They’re 10-2 in the AAC era.
- Tulsa is WSU’s third-most-played opponent behind Drake (151) and Bradley (142). This is meeting No. 139 in a series that began in 1931.
- The teams have met at least once in each of the last 13 seasons going back to 2010-11 and will play home-and-home for the sixth year in a row.
- Since joining the AAC, WSU has faced Tulsa more times than any other foe. Cincinnati (11) is second.
- Eric Konkol is 20th-different Tulsa coach that WSU has faced in the series, while Isaac Brown is WSU’s 15th.
- The Shockers are 31-36 in Tulsa but have narrowed the gap in recent years, thanks to a 7-4 mark at the Reynolds Center.
- WSU is 4-1 in its five AAC visits. The lone loss came on a long buzzer-beater (Feb. 1, 2020).
LAST TIME vs. TULSA:
Jan. 14, 2023 (Wichita) | WSU 73, TLS 69
- WSU rallied from 16 down in the largest second-half comeback in Charles Koch Arena history.
- Jaykwon Walton led a group of five double-figure scorers with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting and made all seven free throw attempts.
- The Shockers trailed 47-31 at the 18:26 mark but tightened things up with a 15-2 run. They took their first lead of the night with 1:11 to play.
- Walton was a second-half catalyst, scoring 13 of his 19 points after the intermission. Ditto for Xavier Bell, who sat the entire first half but chipped in 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 16 second-half minutes.
- James Rojas scored 11 points and notched his first double-double with career-highs 10 rebounds and five assists.
- Sam Griffin delivered 25 points for Tulsa, which made 9-of-13 threes in the opening half to into the break with a 41-27 cushion, but hit just 1-of-9 thereafter.
- It was the second dramatic comeback in as many games for WSU, which overcame a 14-point deficit at South Florida its last time out.
- The Shockers were a miserable 2-of-17 from three but but attacked the rim relentlessly down the stretch, outscoring the visitors 23-5 at the free throw line and 44-22 in the paint. They also held an 18-0 edge in fast break points.
- The win was WSU’s 11th straight over the Golden Hurricane in Wichita.
A SHOCKER WIN WOULD…
- Make them 12-11.
- Make them 5-6 in AAC play after an 0-3 start.
- Up their road record to 5-3 (4-2 in AAC games).
- Give them a regular season sweep of Tulsa for the fifth time in six AAC season and make them 10-2 overall against the Hurricane in that span.
- Make 76-63 all-time against Tulsa (32-36 in Tulsa and 8-4 at the Reynolds Center with three straight wins).
A SHOCKER LOSS WOULD…
- Drop them to 11-12 — the first time since the 2008-09 season that a WSU team has been below .500 at or after the 23-game mark.
- Dip their AAC record to 4-7.
- Give Tulsa split of the home-and-home.
- Be their first loss at the Reynolds Center since Feb. 1, 2020.
- Narrow their all-time series lead to 75-64 and make them 31-37 against the Hurricane in Tulsa (7-5 at Reynolds Center).
UP NEXT: UCF
Wednesday, Feb. 8 | 7 p.m. CT | ESPN+
Wichita, Kan. | Charles Koch Arena
- WSU plays three of the next four at home, starting next Wednesday evening against UCF.
- Playing without point guard Craig Porter, the Shockers scored a season-low 45 points in their Dec. 29 loss in Orlando.
- WSU holds an 8-2 series lead over the Knights and has taken all five matchups in Wichita.
- WSU hosts its sixth annual #Fight4Literacy game. Coaches will wear green pins ito raise awareness and funds for local reading programs. Visit unitedwayplains.org/literacy to join the fight.