BOCA, RATON, Fla. – Wichita State let an 11-point halftime lead slip away in an 86-77 loss at No. 23 Florida Atlantic Thursday night in the Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena.
Wichita State (8-9, 0-4) played its second straight ranked team and dropped to 0-3 on the season against teams in the Top 25. The Shockers also saw their losing streak run to six in a row.
Colby Rogers and Quincy Ballard each scored 18 points to lead the Shockers. Ballard’s 18 points set a new career high on 8-of-10 shooting. Fifteen of Rogers’ 18 points came from beyond the arc where he went 5-for-10.
Bijan Cortes entered the starting lineup in place of Xavier Bell and finished with eight points and four assists.
For the second straight game Wichita State set a season high shooting the ball. The Shockers converted 56.4 percent of their attempts, including 8-for-18 from three-point range. After shooting 1-for-12 from three in the first half, FAU cashed in 8-of-15 in the second half.
Normally Wichita State is one of the nation’s best defensive rebounding teams, but the Owls grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and turned those boards into 21 points. The Shockers were outrebounded by nine after halftime.
FAU also committed only eight turnovers to 14 for Wichita State.
Wichita State couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game, shooting out to leads of 7-0 and 13-2 in the game’s first 4:00 minutes. Rogers (2-for-2) and Ridgnal (1-for-1) drilled three-pointers to help silence the home crowd.
An Isaac Abidde jumper made it 17-4 for the visitors with 14:23 left in the half, but the Owls would start to settle in. Over the next 3:00 minutes, FAU cut it to six behind an 11-4 run. In the blink of an eye it was all tied up at 22 behind five straight points from Johnell Davis.
The second of four first half dunks for Ballard put Wichita State back in front by two, only to see FAU score on back-to-back possessions to grab its first lead of the game with 7:31 left until halftime.
Alijah Martin converted a three-point play to put the Owls on top 31-28 at the 5:53 mark. From that point on Wichita State would hold them scoreless for the rest of the half, closing on a 14-0 run to grab a 42-31 hafltime lead.
Ballard (10 points) and Rogers (10 points on 3-of-6 from 3-pt range) combined for 20 first half points and the Shockers blistered the nets to the tune of 58.1 percent. That offensive efficiency carried over from the Memphis game where Wichita State shot a season-high 55 percent.
FAU missed 11 of its 12 three-point attempts in the half and shot just 36 percent from the field.
The Owls cut that halftime lead to four 6:14 into the second half, but Rogers answered with a triple to make it 55-48.
After FAU trimmed the lead back to two with 9:21 to go, Ballard tossed in a hook shot, putting Wichita State up 64-60.
Back-to-back possessions for the Owls ended in three-pointers, giving them a 66-64 lead. A Ballard slam on Wichita State’s ensuing trip down tied it at 66 and 6:19 remaining. Another Alijah Martin trey catapulted the Owls back in front.
Neither team would score for 2:00 minutes until a back-breaking three from Martin put the Owls up six. With 1:12 to go FAU upped its lead to double digits for the first time and then grabbed its largest lead on the next possession, 85-73.
Wichita State wraps up its road swing in the Sunshine State against South Florida on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.