Behind McDuffie’s offense, Wichita State surges to a game above .500

Wichita State, having once lost its first six out of seven conference games, now owns a four-game winning streak after taking down Tulane on Saturday.

Having won 77-62, the Shockers return to a game above .500 for the first time since the team held a winning record in mid-December. Its four-game winning streak is WSU’s longest of the season.

“We’ll take it,” Coach Gregg Marshall said. “Obviously we can’t overlook anybody, and we didn’t overlook Tulane.”

The Shockers outscored the Green Wave 36-27 in the second period, which started with WSU holding the visiting team to a dry spell for the first seven minutes. The Green Wave’s first field goal didn’t come until the 12:59 mark.

“It was a matter of effort,” Marshall said. “We had a little more passion.”

Freshman combo-guard Dexter Dennis used his length and athleticism to shut down Tulane’s shooters in that second half. He finished with a plus-minus of plus-16, the second-best on the team.

“He’s helping us win,” Marshall said. “His plus-minus is indicative. When he’s out there, the score is going in the right way.”

Markis McDuffie led with a team-high 25 points on 14 shot attempts. He also added eight rebounds and one assist to his total. McDuffie’s first 18 points came in the first half, which kept pace for WSU.

In the middle of the second half, Tulane went on a 10-0 run. McDuffie evened it out for WSU with a three in the corner, which brought the momentum back into the home team’s favor.

“It kind of got us going again,” freshman Erik Stevenson said.

Stevenson found his shot during the second half, and helped pace the Shockers down the stretch. The guard finished with 13 points, three rebounds, and an assist on the night. He knocked down three shots from long distance.

Samajae Haynes-Jones was the last double-digit scorer, adding 12 points to WSU’s 77-point total.

With five wins and six losses in league play, the Shockers comfortably sit at the middle of the American Athletic Conference standings with one month separating them from the conference finale at Tulane.

The Shockers have a week-long break before resuming play at Cincinnati next Sunday.