Wichita State Basketball defeats Houston

Wichita State basketball perhaps won itself a tournament bid with the win over the Cougars.

The battle for first place in the American Athletic Conference. Houston basketball took care of business in the first meeting beating Wichita State basketball in Houston.

The Shockers showed some resilience and had a shot at winning the game. Wichita State basketball led in the first half in the first meeting but really broke down in the second half allowing Houston to come out firing. In this game, Houston basketball led Wichita State basketball at the half 34-33.  At one point, the Cougars led the Shockers 20-9. However, the Wichita State basketball clawed back by making some open shots and getting to the free-throw line. The Shockers managed to shoot an astonishing 60.0% from the 3-point range while only shooting 39.1% from the floor.

Wichita State basketball had even scored as Tyson Etienne caught fire, tying for leading scorer with Alterique Gilbert with 16 points.  Gilbert was much more efficient, making six of his 11 shots and three-of-four from the 3-point range. Meanwhile, Etienne shot five-for-14 from the floor and two-for-seven from the 3-point range. Dexter Dennis added 12 points, and Ricky Council IV added 11. DeJon Jarreau led Houston basketball with 16 points, followed by Quentin Grimes 13 points and Justin Gorham’s 10 points. Wichita State basketball won 68-63 over Houston. This allows the Shockers to take the led in the AAC.

1) Wichita State overcame rebounding woes

Wichita State basketball has been one of the worse defensive rebounding teams in the nation. The team had so much success in the first game since they kept the rebounding margin at four. Houston basketball only grabbed one more offensive rebound in their first meeting. This was a huge help for Wichita State basketball as it limited the shots that the Cougars could take. The Shockers had 15 offensive rebounds and 35 total rebounds compared to Houston basketball’s 15 offensive rebounds and 33 total rebounds. This is not something that the Cougars are used to. Interim head coach Isaac Brown brought a game plan that focused on rebounding and boxing out.

2) Shockers drove the ball

Both teams are known to have an excellent defense against the three-ball. Allowing under 28.4% of shots from beyond the 3-point line, Houston basketball is actually the nation’s leader in 3-point defense. Wichita State basketball comes in at number 9 in 3-point defense, and both teams will need to drive the ball and cause some fouls. Wichita State did exploit this as the team drove the ball and got to the foul line 11 times in the first half. Houston did not, as the team did not shoot a single free throw in the first half. In the second half, Houston basketball found a spark and attacked. This allowed the team to get into the bonus relatively quickly and caused the Shockers to have three fouls in the first minute and a half. The Wichita State basketball did not get into the bonus until the final minute and a half. It actually seemed that the Shockers made 10-for-22 from 3-point shooting a 45.5% while holding Houston basketball to 8-for-24 from 3-point or 33.3%.

3) Wichita State limited fouls

In the first half, Wichita State basketball was able to get into the bonus. Meanwhile, Houston basketball only caused the Shockers to foul them twice. While this isn’t huge, Wichita State basketball had 11 free-throw attempts and made nine of them. This was a huge help in keeping the Shockers in the game against Houston in the first half. Houston basketball flipped the Shockers script in the second half as the team did not allow the Shockers to get into the bonus until there were less than two minutes in the game. However, Wichita State basketball made it to the free-throw line 23 times and made 18 of them. Meanwhile, the Cougar’s only shot 11 free-throws and only made five of them. Houston basketball had 18 fouls, one of which was huge on Justin Gorham off a Dexter Dennis steal labeled a flagrant 2. In addition to two free-throws and getting the ball back, his ejection from the game was a huge lift as Dennis sunk the free throws. The team got the ball back and then were fouled again for two more free-throw attempts.

Wichita State basketball is set to play at the end of the month. The Shocker’s next game is Sunday, February 28, 2021, against SMU in Wichita. The team still has games to make up against Memphis, SMU, and ECU. Houston basketball will look to bounce back this Sunday, February 21, 2021, against the Cincinnati Bearcats in Houston.


Featured image from The Sunflower.