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Shockers Escape Orlando

WSU Athletics ReleaseFebruary 10, 2021

ORLANDO — Alterique Gilbert scored five of his team-high 17 points in the final 33 seconds to help Wichita State fend off UCF, 61-60, Wednesday night at Addition Financial Arena.

Darius Perry led UCF (5-10, 3-9) with 27 points but missed a shot for the win in the final seconds. His hanging 15-foot jumper bounced off the rim with three seconds left, and Gilbert secured the rebound for the Shockers as time expired.

WSU (12-4) improved to 7-1 in games decided by five points or less.

At 8-2, the Shockers are out to their best conference start since joining The American. They’re tied with first-place Houston (10-2) in the loss column but still need to make up two victories in the standings.

Gilbert was 6-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point range.

Dexter Dennis scored 14 of his with 16 points before halftime and finished with 10 rebounds to end a rather dubious Shocker streak. WSU had entered the night as one of just 10 active Division I schools without at least one double-double this season.

Morris Udeze added 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

WSU led by as many as 10 points late in the first half and took a 36-30 edge into the locker room.

UCF rallied to tie the game near the 10:00-mark and neither side led by more than four points the rest of the way.

Trey Wade found Gilbert for a corner three with 33 seconds left gave WSU a 59-55 lead.

Perry answered with a jumper, but Gilbert hit both ended of a 1-and-1 opportunity with 17 seconds to go, and the Shockers appeared to have the game in hand, up 61-57.

Instead, two mental mistakes nearly cost them.

The Shockers fouled Perry on a layup with 11 seconds on the clock, and the Louisville transfer converted the free throw for a three-point play.

Up, 61-60, WSU turned the ball over against UCF’s full court pressure, and the Knights prepared for one final attempt with 7.9 seconds on the clock.

For once, Perry missed.

NOTABLE:

WSU improved to 7-0 against UCF (3-0 in Orlando).

WSU is out to its best 10-game conference start since joining The American. The Shockers opened 7-2 in their debut season (2017-18) but dropped game No. 10 at Temple.

Brown is out to the best 16-game start by a first-year Shocker head coach since Gary Thompson (13-3 in 1964-65).

UP NEXT:

WSU is back on the road Sunday at SMU (3 p.m. CT, ESPNU). The Mustangs are 7-4 in league play.

Beginning with Sunday’s game, the Shockers will play four of the next five against teams with winning AAC records. Memphis (8-3), Houston (10-2) and SMU all come to Wichita in the next three weeks.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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