DALLAS – Wichita State rallied from a 24-point second-half deficit to stun host SMU, 66-62, Sunday afternoon at Moody Coliseum in the largest comeback in school history.
Wichita State (22-7, 10-6 American) trailed 50-26 with 14:48 to play, at which point ESPN calculated SMU’s win probability at 99.8 percent. Instead, the Shockers outscored the Mustangs 40-12 the rest of the way to take over sole possession of fourth-place in the conference standings and keep its hopes alive for an NCAA tournament bid.
The comeback was the second-largest in Division I basketball this year behind Eastern Illinois, which surged from 27 down to defeat Murray State.
Dexter Dennis set career-highs with 25 points and seven three-point field goals on 14 attempts to lead the Shockers. Grant Sherfield supplied 14 points and six assists and Jaime Echenique added seven points and team-high 13 rebounds.
Isiaha Mike scored 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting for SMU (19-9, 9-7), which lost at home for the first time in conference play and for just the second time all season.
WSU led 17-16 near the midway point of the first half, but SMU scored 16 of the next 17 points and went into the break with a 37-24 cushion. Mike supplied 10 points in a 13-2 SMU run to begin the second half, which pushed the lead to 24 points.
That was rock bottom for the Shockers who were 9-of-36 from the field (.250) at that point.
Over the last 14:00 they made 14-of-24 attempts, including 9-of-14 from three. Dennis hit five of those triples on his way to 17 second-half points. He became just the sixth player in school history to sink seven-or-more threes in a game.
As a team, Wichita State nailed 14 three-pointers – one shy of the school record – and its 36 attempts were the second-most in program history.
WSU won on the glass, 41-29, and outscored SMU 23-10 on second-chance opportunities, helped by 17 offensive rebounds.
The Shockers scored 17-straight points on five three-pointers to hack the 24-point deficit down to four with 7:22 to play.
Jamarius Burton’s three-point play put the Shockers in front with 1:14 to go, 62-61.
Emman Bandoumel answered with a layup through contact with 48 seconds remaining to put SMU ahead 63-62, but his free throw missed.
Dennis hit his seventh-and-final triple with 39 seconds on the clock to give WSU the lead for good, 65-63.
The Shockers forced a defensive stop to regain possession with seven seconds left and Dennis scored a transition layup as WSU played keepaway for the final margin.
The Shockers reached the 22-win mark for the 11th-consecutive year, joining Duke, Kansas and Gonzaga as the only programs to hit the number in every season since 2010.
WSU’s 13-point halftime deficit was its third-largest in a victory. The 2013-14 Shockers overcame an 18-point halftime hole to win at Missouri State, and the 2017-18 team defeated Temple at home in a game it trailed by 14 points at the intermission.
This was the only regular season meeting between WSU and SMU, giving the Shockers a potential head-to-head tiebreaker over the Mustangs. WSU is game ahead of both Memphis and SMU with two to play.
The Shockers are 5-4 in true road games.
WSU won its fourth-straight over SMU and improved to 3-0 at Moody Coliseum since joining the conference. Only Cincinnati (3-3) has won as many times at Moody in the AAC Era.
The Shockers now lead the all-time series with SMU, 8-6.
The Shockers go back on the road Thursday against Memphis inside the FedExForum (8 p.m. CT, ESPN.
WSU defeated Memphis on Jan. 9 in Wichita by a score of 76-67. Both squads were nationally-ranked at the time.