The Sunflower

‘We have the home court advantage’

No. 2 Wichita State advances to semifinals after defeating No. 7 Temple 89-81.

Wichita+State+guard+Conner+Frankamp+fights+for+the+ball+during+the+Shockers+victory+over+Temple+in+the+American+Conference+Tournament+quarter-finals.
Wichita State guard Conner Frankamp fights for the ball during the Shockers victory over Temple in the American Conference Tournament quarter-finals.

Wichita State guard Conner Frankamp fights for the ball during the Shockers victory over Temple in the American Conference Tournament quarter-finals.

Matt Crow

Matt Crow

Wichita State guard Conner Frankamp fights for the ball during the Shockers victory over Temple in the American Conference Tournament quarter-finals.

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1,398 miles comes between the Wichita State University campus and the Amway Center.

Those 1,398 miles didn’t stop Shocker fans from taking over at The American Conference Tournament. The Amway having that “Koch Arena feel” gave The Shockers the edge they needed to top Temple.

A non-sold out arena is something that junior forward Markis McDuffie “most definitely” alters the mood of the game for him, but the crowd that Wichita State drew in gave The Shockers the advantage.

“When there’s a lot of yellow out there we have the home court advantage,”  McDuffie said. “Every time we get a basket it erupts out there.”

Senior forward Zach Brown said seeing the fans pack the hotel before the games gave him the extra motivation he needed going into his first AAC tournament game.

“All the fans showing up is nothing I wouldn’t expect from them,” Brown said. “They’re all amazing people and they show love to us unlike any other school in the country.”

“It was a little bit of motivation for the game.”

With that added motivation, The Shockers were able to take an early lead against The Owls, sparked by sophomore guard Landry Shamet’s shooting success from the three.

“I got a couple good ones early,” Shamet said. “As a shooter you get one then from there you get your confidence going.”

Shamet took control of the floor and fueled The Shockers’ offense early in the game. In the first half alone, he went 5-6 from the three and had 17 points.

Shamet didn’t take his foot off the gas in the second half. Shamet, who averages 14.6 points per game, finished with 24. He also added four rebounds, four assists, and one steal.

Deep into the second half, Temple was able to diminish Wichita State’s lead to a single basket.

The game was full of runs, making the final stretch a neck-and-neck race to who could carry their run to the final buzzer. The Shockers were able to hold off The Owls enough to gain a comfortable lead in the final moments.

“The vets continue to play, continue to make winning plays no matter what,” Brown said. “It’s always a mental thing.”

Senior center Shaquille Morris said those game situations are the things that Head Coach Gregg Marshall sets the team up for.

“We got older guys on this team, smart and mature guys,” Morris said. “And Marshall puts us through practice having to fight through the adversity and never give up.”

Wichita State advanced to the semifinals with their win over Temple. They will play the winner of the Houston/UCF game Saturday afternoon.

Tipoff is at 2:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcasted on CBS.

Wichita State fans hold a sign of Rashard Kelly's head during the American Conference Tournament quarter-finals.

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About the Photographer
Matt Crow, Sports Editor
Matt Crow is the Sports Editor for The Sunflower. Crow is a senior at Wichita State majoring in communications with an emphasis is electronic media. He was born in San Diego, California, but has spent most of his life living in Wichita, Kansas. After graduation, Crow plans to pursue a career in sports photography.
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