‘You can’t settle:’ Shockers pick up eight-point victory over Tulane


Khánh Nguyễn/ The Sunflower

Wichita State redshirt senior Alterique Gilbert gets a rebound during the game against Tulane at Charles Koch Arena on Feb. 3.

Wichita State picked up its second straight win on Wednesday, defeating Tulane 75-67. The Shockers improve to 10-4 on the season and 6-2 in conference play with this win. 

WSU built up a 21-point lead with 7:39 remaining but the Green Wave made the game close late. Tulane scored 13 consecutive points and cut the deficit down to eight points. The Shockers finished off Tulane in the closing minutes, completing the eight-point victory.

Interim Head Coach Isaac Brown said that WSU allowing teams to come back could become a concern. 

“That’s a bad habit that can come back to bite you,” Brown said. “You’ve got to learn how to close out games. Stop thinking about me, me, me and playing hero ball. Let’s play as a team, let’s defend as a team, let’s play smart. The team’s that are going to be successful defend, rebound and play smart. We did that for about 32 minutes.”

Tulane’s offense faltered in the first half and were held to 19 points and 18.8% shooting from the field. The Green Wave more than doubled their first half output and went on to outscore WSU by four points in the final 20 minutes of the second half. 

Sophomore Tyson Etienne said that WSU failure to close out games is more of a mental thing and something that can be easily corrected.

“I think just knowing that we have to play until the end,” Etienne said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a skill thing, I think it’s a mental thing and knowing that the game’s not over even if we have a big lead on a team, they don’t want to get killed so they’re not going to lay over. I think it’s just being aware, I don’t think it’s anything crazy. I’m not worried ab0ut it.”

Brown said that he was already anticipating watching the film so the team can learn from its mistakes.

“I can’t wait to break down the film tonight and when I start the film session I’m going to show a little bit of the first 32 minutes but the last eight minutes, we may watch that entire game,” Brown said. “I’ve got to let these kids understand you can’t settle. Good teams don’t play like that. They play for 40 minutes, they don’t play for 32 minutes. I’m going to show them all our mistakes because I don’t want that to come back to bite us.”

Brown said that watching game replays can be effective because it can be difficult for the players to grasp what is happening during the game. 

“You’re going to get asked a question,” Brown said. “I’m going to ask you, ‘what do you think about this play’? We’re going to learn from it, we’re going to get better at it and so far when we make mistakes in games the next day in practice these guys they get it and play a lot better.”

Tyson Etienne once again led the Shockers in scoring with 22 points. Etienne now has seven 20-point performances this season with five coming in 2021.

Junior Dexter Dennis said that considering Etienne’s work ethic, his high-scoring streak doesn’t come as a surprise. 

“I kind of expect that every game,” Dennis said. “He works extremely hard, he works on his craft a lot. The shots that he’s making in a game, he’s probably taken those hundreds of times. So, it’s probably just muscle-memory for him. Since he’s been here he’s been an extremely hard worker, great teammate, great person to be around and his success now is not really a surprise to me at all.”

The Shockers received some help as East Carolina upset first place Houston on Wednesday. WSU is now tied with the Cougars in the loss column and controls its own destiny for the rest of the season.

“We really just want to focus on everything that we can control,” senior Alterique Gilbert said. “That’s just getting better, day-by-day and continuing to build. I think we’ve got a lot to learn as a team and I think Coach Brown is doing a great job with us. ”

The Shockers will face Temple on Sunday inside Charles Koch Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.