Morris Udeze leads WSU to season sweep of Tulsa


Kaylee Stout/ The Sunflower

Morris Udeze celebrates with his teammates during WSU’s game against Tulsa on Jan. 13 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Wichita State men’s basketball defeated Tulsa, 72-53, on Wednesday, improving to 8-3 on the season and 4-1 in conference play.

WSU was able to dominate throughout the game particularly with the performance of junior Morris Udeze. Udeze scored a career-high 20 points going 6-7 from the field and 8-9 from the free-throw line.

Udeze has scored 38 points over the past two games while shooting 73.7% from the field.

“That’s something I’ve been working on over the offseason and just being more crafty down there, getting in-between defenders, up and under moves, hook moves and all that,” Udeze said. “Working on my whole total game. I’m just trying to showcase it at the highest level I can.

Udeze has been able to increase his minutes played this season so far. Udeze has played on average eight more minutes per game in just one year.

Interim Head Coach Isaac Brown credits the work Udeze put in this offseason to allow him to play more minutes this season. 

He did a great job in conditioning in the preseason, and now he can play more minutes,” Brown said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. He took care of his body and he worked on his skill work. He can handle it with both hands.

Wichita State junior, Morris Udeze tries to shoot a basket during a game against Tulsa at Charles Koch Arena on Jan. 13. (Kaylee Stout / The Sunflower)

Currently, Udeze is averaging the third-most points on the roster at 8.5 points per game. 

Sophomore guard Tyson Etienne said that having Udeze become another weapon will help the team down the road.

I’m just glad that he had that game because, you know, everybody needs those confidence-building games, especially as we get deeper into the schedule,” Etienne said. “Teams have different scouting reports. They might take away me, they might take away somebody else. So, to have somebody that we know that down the stretch he can give us a few buckets down there is huge

This offseason was filled with uncertainty for Udeze, with him entering the transfer portal before opting to return to WSU for his junior season.

Udeze said that through quarantine he was able to improve his game to a whole new level in the offseason. 

I kind of cranked it up to a whole new level because I mean, quarantine kind of gave me like, extra time to get way better. I kind of took it as like I’m gonna catch up to everybody that was better than me at the time or thinks they’re better than me. I’m just gonna catch up during this offseason. So quarantine gave me a lot of time just to patch up my game and work on my shot and all that.

Wichita State junior, Morris Udeze shoots a free thorw during a game against Tulsa at Charles Koch Arena on Jan. 13. (Kaylee Stout / The Sunflower)

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. 

Udeze has been able to improve on his free-throw shooting this season, as he is leading the team with an 83.3% from the line. That percentage is also sixth-best in the AAC. 

Udeze said that the work he put in this offseason and in practice has translated into his free-throw success early on.

Keep on practicing like this and it is going to be perfection. I give credit to Bilau (Josaphat Bilau) and Pooh-Bear (Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler) for pushing me every day in practice. My teammates keep pushing me to do better and get better every day, so I give credit to them.

Early on in Udeze’s career, he was the starting center but a season-ending shoulder surgery ended his freshman campaign early. Last season, he found himself behind Jaime Echenique who quickly blossomed into one of the best centers in the league. 

Udeze said that he has tried to take things day-by-day even with the adversity he has faced.  

Well, you can’t rush and it’s kinda like a marathon, got to keep going, keep pushing every day,” Udeze said. “Keep pushing and one day it’s going to breakthrough for you. It’s like in a call my dad just told me to keep pushing, fight through injuries, to stay on it every day. Give it your all. ” 

The Shockers next play on Jan. 21 as they travel to take on Memphis (6-4). Tip-off for Sunday’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m and will be broadcast on ESPN2.