NEW ORLEANS – Wichita State moved within a victory of its first American Athletic Conference title with a 78-70 road win over Tulane on Wednesday evening.
The Shockers (14-4, 10-2 American) host South Florida in Saturday’s regular season finale (Noon CT, ESPN+). A win gives them the crown and the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament. A loss drops them into second-place and would set up a Sunday title match between Memphis and Houston.
Trey Wade scored a career-high 23 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting.
Dexter Dennis added 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Alterique Gilbert set a new personal-best with 12 assists – the best single-game effort by a Shocker since Feb. 23, 1991 when Robert George collected a dozen dimes against Drake.
Gabe Waton led Tulane (9-12, 4-12 American) with 14 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting.
Dennis put in an impressive defensive effort against Tulane’s Jaylen Forbes, who was coming off a 37-point effort at Cincinnati. WSU held him to a season-low five points on 1-of-9 shooting.
The Shockers used a 10-0 run to go up 25-13 near the 8:00-mark of the first half.
WSU matched its season-high with 46 first-half points on eight threes and led by 13 at the intermission.
Tulane clawed to within five with 14:00 but would get no closer. The lead bounced between six and 12 points for the rest of the night.
The Shockers hit more threes (13) and than free throws (11). They were a miserable 45.8 percent at the stripe but made 41.9 percent from distance.
Gilbert and Etienne combined for 18 of WSU’s season-high 22 assists.
Continuing a positive trend for their win over Houston, the Shockers out-rebounded the Green Wave 42-33 and allowed just six offensive rebounds.