HOUSTON, Texas – Tyson Etienne and Dexter Dennis combined for 43 points, but Wichita State fell 70-63 to No. 11 Houston on Wednesday night at the Fertitta Center, snapping a five-game winning streak.
WSU (6-3, 2-1 American) lost its hold on first-place in the American Athletic Conference standings.
The Shockers were positioned for an upset, leading by 10 points early in the second half but instead missed nine-straight shots and turned the ball over four times during a 7:00 scoring drought.
Houston (9-1, 4-1) capitalized with a 16-0 run to go up 41-35 at the 12:55-mark and kept the lead at two possessions the rest of the way.
Etienne was blanketed by Cougar defenders for much of the night but made seven of his career-high 20 shots, including 4-of-9 from three, to reach the 20-point plateau for the third time in four games.
The sophomore was 7-of-8 at the charity stripe and also set a new personal-best with eight rebounds.
Dennis added a season-high 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting and was 6-of-7 at the foul line. He dunked three times.
Quentin Grimes scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half to lead the Cougar scoring, while DeJon Jarreau (13 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) and Justin Gorham (14 points, 10 rebounds) each turned in double-double performances.
WSU outscored Houston 14-0 off turnovers to build a 31-25 halftime lead.
The hosts made 12 of their first 20 shots to start the second half, including 5-of-9 from three.
The Cougar guards were the catalysts in that run, repeatedly attacking the basket for layups and short jumpers.
Houston finished the game at 38.3 percent from the field and held WSU to 33.9 percent.
The Cougars turned 15 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points and out-rebounded the Shockers 45-41 overall while limiting them to just 16 points in the paint.
It was WSU’s first true road loss of the year after a 3-0 start and its sixth-straight loss to Houston going back to 2018.
The Shockers return home to face Cincinnati (Sunday, 3:30 p.m. CT). Tipoff has been moved back 30 minutes to accommodate a national broadcast window on ESPN2.