Too close for comfort: Shockers barely survive Golden Hurricane


Brian Hayes

Wichita State center Rauno Nurger celebrates after the Wichita State Shockers72 – 69 victory against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Reynolds Center.

No. 5 Wichita State kept its undefeated conference record intact Saturday against unranked Tulsa, but barely.

Tulsa’s resilience and ability to answer every Wichita State basket kept The Golden Hurricane in the game until the final buzzer, when the Shockers held a three-point victory.

The Shockers had a five-point lead in the final moments of the game until a three from Tulsa’s Corey Henderson got The Golden Hurricane within a single basket.

Sophomore guard Landry Shamet was fouled on the next possession where he made the first and missed the second to get the Shockers ahead by only three points.

Wichita State was able to capitalize on the defensive end and didn’t allow Tulsa to get a clean shot off.

“We didn’t change anything, our defense stayed the same,” Head Coach Gregg Marshall said. “I just think we had a little bit better commitment to that defensive end.”

In the first half, Tulsa took an early lead and maintained it for 14 minutes until Shamet hit a jumper to get The Shockers the lead.

By the half Wichita State led by four, the first time in conference play they haven’t led by at least 20.

The Shockers were able to make an early run in the second half to get up 10, but their double-digit lead did not last long.

Tulsa hit three threes in a row, going on a 9-0 run to catch up to Wichita State. The Golden Hurricane shot 46 percent overall and hit 12 threes.

“They’re a tough team…Obviously they weren’t going to lay down,” Shamet said. “They played hard and no matter what we gave them they kept moving forward.”

Shamet and senior guard Conner Frankamp’s back court production was the factor that kept The Shockers afloat. Both guards finished with 16 points.

Frankamp shot 11 threes and only made four, but made them when it was most crucial. Frankamp said his “next shot mentality” is what gave him the confidence to keep shooting.

“It’s just staying positive. I’ve shot a lot of shots in my life, I’ve practiced shooting many threes every single day of my life,” Frankamp said. “I just have that next shot mentality and think the next one is going to go in.”

The Shockers shot 41 percent overall and shot 34 percent from the three and finished with 42 rebounds.

Tulsa had their first sellout in the Reynolds Center since 2009, with just over half of the arena filled with Shocker fans. Marshall said the crowd played a big role in their win.

“The crowd was unbelievable. That was like Koch Arena South…they were tremendous,” Marshall said. “I didn’t expect it to be that large but it was very large and very very helpful in our win.”

The Shockers are back in Koch Arena on Wednesday against SMU. Tipoff is at  p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPNU.