WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita State gave up 22 offensive rebounds and committed 19 turnovers, but found a way to defeat WKU, 71-61, Thursday night in Charles Koch Arena.
Wichita State (2-0) was able to overcome an up-and-down game in large part to WKU going 0-for-21 from beyond the arc. It marked the first time an opponent failed to connect on a three-pointer since Loyola Marymount went 0-for-5 on Dec. 22, 2014.
On a night when the Shockers played only seven guys, four of those seven finished in double figures, led by Kenny Pohto with 16. Pohto pulled down 11 rebounds to go with 16 points for his first double-double of the season and third career.
Xavier Bell was 8-for-10 from the free throw line, finishing with a career-high tying 14 points. Harlond Beverly scored all 13 of his points in the second half to go with five rebounds, three assists and four steals.
Colby Rogers added 10 points, while battling foul trouble most of the night.
Quincy Ballard (11) and Dalen Ridgnal (13) both grabbed double digit rebounds. Ridgnal set a new career high with his 13. Ballard also swatted four shots, one shy of a career high.
Wichita State shot 48.1 percent from the floor behind another relatively quiet night from three-point range (4-for-13).
A back-and-forth first half saw Wichita State go into halftime trailing, 29-27, but immediately came out on a 7-0 run, forcing a WKU timeout just 2:28 into the half.
Near the 12:00 minute mark, WKU cut the Shockers’ lead to 44-40 only to see Wichita State mount an 11-3 run. The margin would stay in double digits over the next 7:00 minutes until back-to-back scores pulled the Hilltoppers within six, 56-50.
Five straight points from Beverly immediately made it a 10-point game again.
One last push from WKU in the final 1:30 had the Hilltoppers within six, but a layup and two free throws from Ridgnal essentially put the game away.
Wichita State closes the week with an inter-city matchup against Friends on Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN+.