Haynes-Jones hits late 3-pointer, advances Wichita State to NIT quarterfinals


Dawson Powers for GoShockers

Samajae Haynes-Jones hit a late 3-pointer to advance Wichita State to the NIT quarterfinals. The Shockers beat Clemson 63-55.

Wichita State isn’t done yet.

The Shockers advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament after beating No. 2-seed Clemson in the second round on Sunday. Wichita State will play at top-seed Indiana on Tuesday for a spot in the semifinals in Madison Square Garden.

“It’s March 24 and we’re still playing,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said, poking fun at the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, who each lost in the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. “I’m pretty sure the other teams in Kansas are done playing … We’re the last ones playing.”

Samajae Haynes-Jones hit a 3-point shot to put the Shockers ahead six with 32 seconds left in play. Haynes-Jones had to put up the shot from deep as the shot-clock expired. The Shockers avoided a scare and won 63-55.

Dawson Powers for GoShockers
Wichita State’s Jamarius Burton on defense. The Shockers advanced to the NIT quarterfinals after Samajae Haynes-Jones sealed the game with a late 3-pointer.

Clemson used full-court pressure and forced the Shockers to to 17 turnovers — 10 in the second half — as it erased a double-digit lead down to three points in the final minute of the game.

Wichita State blew open a five-point halftime lead early in the second half off the offense from junior Jaime Echenique. Using his size advantage in the paint, Echenique scored early and often in the second half. He made his first seven of eight shots, including two of three 3-pointers.

Clemson nearly did the impossible. The Tigers wrecked Wichita State with full-court pressure and steals.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State senior Samajae Haynes-Jones looks up to the video board before their game against UCF on Jan. 16, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena.

Haynes-Jones was called for a clear-path foul after Clemson’s Elijah Thomas stole the ball with 1:20 left in play. A pair of free throws brought the score to 58-55 with Wichita State’s offense stagnant. Out of a timeout, Haynes-Jones redeemed himself of the game-changing foul with a made 3-pointer to seal the game with 32 seconds left. His late-game heroics once again saved the Shockers.

Echenique scored a game-high 18 points in just 21 minutes of play. The Shockers have won 12 of 13 games when Echenique scores in double figures. He was sidelined for much of the second half with quick foul trouble.

Asbjørn Midtgaard and Echenique combined for 24 points on 10-12 shooting. Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler, the third string center, added two points making his only shot attempt. McDuffie and Haynes-Jones combined for 26 points.

“By and large, they were building walls,” Marshall said of the Midtgaard and Echenique’s defense. “Only one of them is in the game at a time. To get that type of production … these are brand new guys, it’s just fun.”

Clemson cut the lead down to six with nine minutes left. For the first time in the second half, the Tigers had life. Yet, the Shockers clung to every bit of the lead and never squandered; Clemson never led in the game.

Midtgaard fouled Clemson’s Thomas, setting up two shots — which Thomas would make, cutting the lead to four. Yet, as the players walked away, Thomas pushed Midtgaard and picked up a technical foul. Wichita State’s Markis McDuffie stretched the lead back up to six points making a pair of free throws.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State center Asbjørn Midtgaard looks to the ref in shock in the first half of the game against Tulsa on Feb. 2, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower).

As quickly as Clemson put itself in contention, it took itself out of the game. McDuffie put the Shockers up nine with a 3-pointer with seven minutes left. If Clemson were going to have a shot, it’d have to rhythmically challenge Wichita State’s centers. With Midtgaard’s three personal fouls and Echenique’s four, the Shockers inability to contest shots in the paint gave the poor-shooting Tigers hope.

Wichita State showed its inexperience, playing like a team that’d never seen full-court pressure. The team rarely got the ball out of the backcourt. It was a six-point game with 2:33 left in play, and Clemson took possession with yet another turnover by the Shockers who couldn’t get the ball across court.

The Shockers broke full-court pressure with a home run pass to Midtgaard, who dunked it and made it a six-point lead. Even with 1:33 left in play, the game was far from over. The Shockers committed turnovers in the backcourt until the final 12 seconds of the game.

It wasn’t until Haynes-Jones heroics put the game out of Clemson’s reach.

Clemson played without guard Shelton Mitchell, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament a week ago. He averaged 11 points and three assists for the Tigers.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State senior Markis McDuffie celebrates a made three-point jumper during the game against Temple on March 15, 2019 at the FedExForum. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower).

Wichita State will meet Indiana, who has played two games without leading scorer Romeo Langford, a projected lottery pick. Langford has reportedly rested a sore back during the Hoosiers’ two NIT games. Indiana coach Archie Miller said Langford wants to play, but his status is not confirmed for Tuesday’s game.

Miller is now the coach at Indiana. He was previously the coach at Dayton two years ago when the Shockers beat the Flyers in the NCAA Tournament.

If Wichita State were to win Tuesday, it would become the eighth team to win three road games and advance to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals.

Tuesday’s 6 p.m. game will be broadcasted on ESPN.