WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita State got an 800-pound Bearcat off its back, Sunday.
Freshman Ricky Council IV scored a career-high 23 points and the Shockers snapped a six-game losing streak against American Athletic Conference rival Cincinnati, 82-76.
Council’s total was the highest for a Shocker true freshman since Feb. 10, 2009 when Toure’ Murry put up 23 points — including the game-winner at the buzzer — in a 62-61 victory over Missouri State.
Morris Udeze scored 18 points to go with 16 from Tyson Etienne to help Wichita State (7-3, 3-1) keep pace with conference leaders Houston (5-1) and Tulsa (4-1) in the loss column. Tulsa will face the Shockers Wednesday night in Wichita (6 p.m. CT, ESPN+).
Former Topeka Hayden standout Zach Harvey scored 19 points to lead Cincinnati (3-7, 1-4), which had won all three American era visits to Charles Koch Arena – two of them by a single point.
The Shockers earned their first series since Feb. 18, 2018 when they ended then fifth-ranked Cincinnati’ 39-game home winning streak, 76-72.
Instead of settling for jumpers as they had in past matchups against the Bearcats, the Shockers spent most of the second half in attack mode. Council and fellow guards Etienne and Craig Porter Jr. took turns driving the lane for baskets and/or Bearcat fouls. The trio combined to draw 15.
Up 49-46, Wichita State scored 33 points over the last nine minutes of the game to push a three-point lead to as many as 16 down the stretch. Etienne (14 points), Udeze (8) and Council (8) combined for all but three points during that burst.
WSU attempted just 12 three-pointers – fewest by a Shocker team since Jan. 17, 2015 when they made 4-of-11 tries in a 20-point win at Evansville.
The Shockers went to the line 34 times to Cincinnati’s 23 and outscored the visitors 23-16. They also converted 15 Bearcat turnovers into 28 points.
Council sank 8-for-11 shots from the field, canned 7-of-11 free throws and grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
Etienne (6-of-13, 2-for-4 from three) handed out a team-high three assists to go with five rebounds.
Udeze dunked three times in an 8-for-12 shooting performance.
Led by Council’s 23 points and six-each from Porter and Clarence Jackson, the Shockers bench supplied 41 points. Reserve accounted for two-third of the first-half scoring to send WSU into the break with a 30-29 advantage.
All-time the Shockers are now 9-10 against Cincinnati inside the Roundhouse. Their last win came in 1981 behind 16 points from Antoine Carr. The victory narrows Cincinnati’s overall series lead to 24-13.
The teams meet again in 17 days – Jan. 27 – at Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena.
- The Shockers are home again Wednesday night to take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (6 p.m. CT, ESPN+).
- WSU won the first meeting on Dec. 15 in Tulsa by a score of 69-65.
- The Shockers have won 14 of the last 16 series meetings.
- Tulsa has dropped eight-straight to the Shockers in Wichita (seven at CKA, one at INTRUST Bank Arena), last winning on Dec. 8, 2001.