Shockers utilize Morris Udeze’s efficient performance to victory over ESU


Khánh Nguyễn/ The Sunflower

Wichita State junior Morris Udeze looks to shoot a free-throw during the game against ESU at Charles Koch Arena on Dec. 18.

Wichita State men’s basketball defeated Emporia State, 73-57, on Friday, improving the Shockers record to 3-2 on the season. 

Throughout the game, WSU was able to dominate in the paint especially with the performance of junior Morris Udeze. Udeze scored a career-high 18 points while making all seven of his shot attempts.

Udeze had the most makes without a miss since PJ Cousinard made all eight of his shot attempts against Maryland Eastern Shore on Dec. 17, 2006.

The guards went inside to him early,” Interim Head Coach Isaac Brown said. “He was very patient. He didn’t force anything. He wasn’t standing around out on the perimeter. He took his time, he made great post moves and he kicked it out to guys for wide-open shots.

Coming into this season, Udeze had struggled from the free-throw line in his first two seasons, shooting 46.4% (32-69) on free throws at WSU. Through the team’s first five games this season, Udeze is shooting 80% from the line.

Udeze said that the work he put in this offseason has paid dividends on his free throw shooting thus far. 

The more you do it, the easier it gets,” Udeze said. “I just spent long nights shooting a hundred, two hundred free throws. I left a lot on the table last year, missing three-a-game. It’s frustrating. The more you miss, the more frustrating. So you’ve just got to get in the gym.

For WSU, this game counted as a regular-season game but for their Division-II opponent, Emporia State, it only counted as an exhibition. 

With WSU having to miss out on the Crossover Classic earlier this season, the game against ESU allowed the Shockers to work on execution. 

We want to be able to steal a basket, meaning run a set and get a layup,” Brown said. “Run a set and get a guy a wide-open jump shot. We scored six baskets like that tonight. That’s probably the most we’ve had all year. You’re not going to be able to go against good teams and beat them off the dribble and beat them with your athleticism. You’ve got to be able to execute. That’s what we wanted to do tonight was execute.”

With the Shockers in control throughout the game, it allowed Brown to get some of the younger players on the roster some playing time. Freshmen Jaden Seymour and Chaunce Jenkins were able to make their Shocker debuts on Friday, as a result.

Brown said that getting the younger players some experience was a key in this game.

We got out of this game what we wanted,” Brown said. “I wanted to give some young guys the opportunity to get into a game so I could see what they had, and we were able to do that tonight.

The Shockers were able to utilize its height advantage, outrebounding ESU 52-26. WSU was able to collect 25 offensive rebounds which were the most by a Shocker team since Dec. 30, 1999 against Indiana State when they also grabbed 25. 

Junior Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler has been effective on the offensive glass the past two games, grabbing a combined eight offensive rebounds.

Brown said that he has been impressed with Chandler’s recent rebounding efforts.

He’s been going to the offensive glass hard,” Brown said. “He’s shown signs. He does that stuff in practice, and he’s finally doing it in games now. I’m just so happy for him. To go on the road at Tulsa and make a three and to get an offensive tip dunk. Tonight, again, he was on the offensive glass. He made two great post moves. I think he’s going to continue to get better and better.

For WSU, the strength of its offense is through their guards with Tyson Etienne, Alterique Gilbert and Dexter Dennis attracting much of the opposition’s attention. 

Brown said that players like Chandler, Clarence Jackson and Craig Porter can all be x-factors coming off the bench.  

“They definitely can be x-factors because those guys can help you win,” Brown said. “They’re veteran guys that have played at this level, they know what they’re doing and that adds to our team when we can get some guys coming off the bench scoring. Our bench has done a great job the entire year. ” 

The Shockers next play on Tuesday as they travel to Tampa, Florida to take on South Florida (5-2). Tip-off for Sunday’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m and will be broadcast on ESPN+.