Shockers’ conference title chances kept alive after OT win

No. 11 Wichita State defeated Central Florida 75-71 in overtime.


Brian Hayes

Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall talks to a ref before the game against the UCF Knights at Koch Arena.

A last-second banked-in three from Central Florida’s A.J. Davis brought No. 11 Wichita State’s chances at the conference title to a screeching halt.

The three from Davis forced The Shockers into overtime, threatening their shot at The American title.

In order to keep their chances at the title alive, Wichita State was faced with an arduous task: shutting down Davis.

In Davis’ 43 minutes, he was able to set a new career-best 31 points after going 6-9 from the three. In addition to his offensive efficiency, Davis finished as UCF’s leading rebounder  with 14.

The Shockers successfully shut Davis down holding him scoreless for the entirety of overtime. Wichita State was able to capitalize on the lack of a scoring presence from Davis and pulled away with the four-point lead.

Free throws from sophomore guards Landry Shamet and Austin Reaves carried The Shockers to the final buzzer.

Despite Wichita State defeating Central Florida by 19 in their last meeting, the game was not as one-sided as The Shockers anticipated.

The entire game was a back-and-forth battle with six lead changes and five ties. UCF held the lead for the longest, which was for 12:23 in the first half.

Although The Knights controlled a majority of the first half, The Shockers were able to pull ahead with a halftime lead after senior guard Conner Frankamp racked up six consecutive points.

In addition to Frankamp’s scoring, The Shockers switched to a zone to slow down the pace and to throw The Knights’ offense off.

“We have been more of a man-to-man team but we’ve practiced quite a bit against zone this year, and we try to practice against the best zone we can throw out there,” Head Coach Gregg Marshall said. “We don’t play a whole lot of zone, but every once in awhile we’ll mix it in.”

In the second half, senior center Shaquille Morris ignited The Shockers’ offense with 11 points in the half alone. He finished as the leading scorer with 19 points along with nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal.

Wichita State was able to ride Morris to get the win, which is something Marshall noticed The Shockers have been doing as of late.

“Morris just needed to learn and work to be an everyday guy who we would count on every day, and lately, not only have we been counting on him, we’ve been riding him,” Marshall said.

“His shoulders are big enough, figuratively and literally, for us to ride at this time of year.”

The Frankamp/Shamet backcourt also produced offensive success, especially at the most crucial of moments. Frankamp finished with 16 points, shooting 47 percent overall, and Shamet finished with 14 shooting 46 percent.

The Shockers shot 47 percent overall and finished with 42 rebounds. They also forced nine turnovers from The Knights and were able to convert that into 17 points.

No. 11 Wichita State hosts No. 10 Cincinnati on Sunday for the regular-season finale.  If The Shockers win, they will get a share of the conference title as well as the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

Tipoff is at 11 a.m. and will be broadcasted on CBS. Senior day festivities follow the game.