WICHITA, Kan. — Dexter Dennis scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to lead rv/22 Wichita State to an 87-79 victory over UCF on Saturday evening at Charles Koch Arena.
Wichita State (17-3, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) matched its regular season win total from last year and improved to 4-0 all-time against UCF (11-8, 2-5).
Dennis was 4-of-8 from three-point range and pulled 11 rebounds to record his first double-double of the year.
Four other Shockers also scored in double-figures. Grant Sherfield finished with 14 points and matched his person-best with six assists. Jaime Echenique added 14 points and seven rebounds to go with 11 points from Erik Stevenson and 10 from Trey Wade.
A pair of reserves, Darin Green Jr. (18 points) and Tony Johnson Jr. (16), turned in big performances to lead the visiting Knights.
Wichita State banked 20 assists on 24 baskets and effectively controlled the glass. The Shockers outrebounded UCF by 17 (45-28) and outscored the Knights 19-3 on second-chance opportunities.
The Shockers shot 40 percent to UCF’s 37.7 percent. Both sides were 10-of-26 from deep. WSU tied its season-high with 42 free throw attempts and made 29 of them. UCF was 23-of-26 (.885) from the line.
UCF committed only seven turnovers and outscored the Shockers 23-7 on fast break points, helped by 10 steals.
WSU led by as many as 16 points late in the first half, but UCF whittled the margin to nine at the intermission, helped by Johnson’s full-court buzzer beater.
The Shockers seemed poised to break it open on a handful of occasions, only for UCF to reel them back in. The Knights pulled to within four points near the midway point of the second half. Dennis answered with a deep three to key a 7-0 run.
UCF connected on six threes over the final 10:00 to keep things tight, but the Shockers countered with 20 free throw makes.
The Shockers are tied for third place with Cincinnati at 5-2 in the conference standings. They’ll travel to face co-leader Tulsa (tied with Houston at 5-1) next Saturday at 5 p.m. CT on ESPNU.