WICHITA – Morris Udeze and Tyson Etienne each scored 20 points to help host Wichita State put away Tulsa, 72-53, Wednesday evening at Charles Koch Arena.
The Shockers (8-3, 4-1 American) won for the seventh time in eight tries and moved to within a half-game of 5-1 Houston atop the standings.
Elijah Joiner scored 11 points to lead Tulsa (7-4, 4-2), which saw its six-game winning streak snapped. The Golden Hurricanes hadn’t lost since Dec. 15 – the last time the two teams met – and were receiving votes in the Associated Press Poll.
WSU made a season-high 11 threes on 38 percent accuracy and outscored the visitors 15-3 at the foul line.
The Shocker defense held Tulsa to 33 percent from the field and a frigid 4-of-29 from distance (.138).
Udeze knocked down 6-of-7 from the field and 8-of-9 at the foul line en route to his first career 20-point performance. His eight rebounds was also a personal-best.
Etienne topped the 20-point barrier for the fourth time in six games and for the fifth time overall this season. He was 6-of-15 from the field with five three-point field goals and also tallied three steals.
Ricky Council IV added 11 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Alterique Gilbert handed out a season-high eight assists – most by a Shocker this year.
WSU built a 15-point lead late in the first half. Council made two threes to key a 9-0 run to make it 37-22 with 1:35 to play in the period.
Four weeks ago in Tulsa the Golden Hurricanes battles back from a 17-point first-half deficit to make a game of it. They showed similar fight on Wednesday.
The Shockers missed nine-straight shots, and Tulsa capitalized with a 12-0 run to draw within 47-42 near the midway point of the second half.
WSU rediscovered its rhythm over the final nine-and-a-half minutes, making seven of its last 11 shots. Up eight with 3:31 left, the Shockers finished the game on a 12-0 run.
- The Shockers committed just nine personal fouls.
- Tulsa was perfect at the free throw line but managed just three attempts – fewest for a Shocker opponent since Feb. 15, 2012 when visiting Missouri State finished 1-for-2 at the line.
- Udeze has scored 38 points over his last two games on 14-of-19 shooting (.737).
- In conference games, Etienne is now the league’s leading scorer (18.0-points-per-game).
- WSU has won 15 of its last 17 against Tulsa, including nine-in-a-row in Wichita. The Shockers swept the season series for the third time in four seasons since joining The American (7-1).
The Shockers are off for eight days after the postponement of Sunday’s game at SMU. Their next action come Thursday, Jan. 21 at Memphis (6 p.m. CT on either ESPN or ESPN2).