WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita State put an end to its eight-game losing streak with an all-around performance on Sunday, defeating SMU, 77-72 in Charles Koch Arena.
Wichita State (9-11, 1-6) outscored the Mustangs, 40-31, after halftime and won the turnover battle by four. The Shockers had 11 at halftime, but committed just one in the second half.
The Shockers closed the game on an 8-0 run over the final 1:43 to secure the much-needed win.
Harlond Beverly was 6-for-12 from the field for a team-high 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Colby Rogers added 12 and Dalen Ridgnal was 3-for-5 from beyond the arc for 11 points. Ronnie DeGray III scored all 11 of his points in the second half, including back-to-back layups that proved to be the go-ahead scores.
SMU came in ranked top 10 nationally on the defensive side of the ball in field goal defense, three-point defense and scoring defense, but Wichita State finished with 77 points on 46.7 percent shooting and 6-of-16 from three-point range.
After back-to-back three-pointers just under the 10:00 minute mark, SMU grabbed an 11-point lead, 29-18. Five straight points from Xavier Bell brought the Shockers back within six.
With SMU still holding an eight-point advantage with 4:31 left in the half, a Quincy Ballard dunk and Dalen Ridgnal three-pointer cut it to 33-30. Consecutive scores for the Mustangs briefly silenced the Shockers’ run.
A Beverly putback dunk just before the halftime buzzer sounded made it 41-37. Both teams shot 50 percent or better from the field over the first 20 minutes, and combined to shoot 9-for-14 from long range. SMU came into the game with the third best field goal defense in the country.
Turnovers were once again problematic, finishing with 11 in the half. Wichita State was able to hang in by forcing 10 SMU turnovers. Rogers and Ridgnal led with eight first half points apiece.
Beverly’s tip dunk to end the first half sparked a renewed energy into the team for the second half. Nearly 7:00 minutes into the half, Wichita State tied the game at 50, and then took the lead with 10:23 to go on an Xavier Bell floater. It was Wichita State’s first lead since the 17:20 mark of the first half.
Kenny Pohto put the Shockers up 58-55 before SMU cashed in a three-pointer with 8:07 left to give the Mustangs a 60-59 advantage.
On a Samuell Williamson pull-up jumper, SMU led 65-61 at the 5:47 mark and then made it 70-65 2:00 minutes later. From there, Wichita State would put the clamps on the Mustangs, holding SMU to just two points over the final 3:24.
Two Pohto free throws and the first of six straight points from DeGray cut the deficit to one. Chuck Harris answered with what proved to be the final bucket for SMU with a jumper and 1:43 remaining.
Pohto found a cutting DeGray wide open in the lane for an uncontested layup, giving the Shockers a 73-72 lead and 34 seconds on the clock. Needing a stop, Rogers smothered SMU’s leadind Zhuric Phelps into a tough floater, which Rogers blocked and corralled the rebound.
Rogers proceeded to sink both free throws after being fouled to make it a three-point game. With one chance left, SMU missed a game-tying three-pointer and the front end of a 1-and-1 after grabbing the offensive rebound. After securing the miss off the free throw, Bell went down and iced the game with two free throws on the other end.
Wichita State and Tulsa square off for the first time this season in the Donald W. Reynolds Center Wednesday night at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.