Shocker Basketball wins exhibition in blowout fashion


Sean Marty / The Sunflower

Junior Morris Udeze goes up for a dunk during an exhibition game against Missouri Southern State on Nov. 1 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Wichita State coasted to an exhibition victory on Monday, defeating Division II Missouri Southern State, 90-58.

MSSU kept the game close in the first 10 minutes, with the Shockers maintaining a 26-24 lead. WSU called upon a full court press to help turn the tide of the game and responded with a 20-2 run to help take control of the game.

Both teams traded baskets for most of the second half, but the Shockers used a 15-3 spurt to close out the 32-point victory.

One of the main bright spots in the game was freshman guard Ricky Council IV. Council shook off a rough start, scoring 11 of his team-high 15 points in the second half. 

“I just had to lock in,” Council said. “In the first half, I shot at the side of the backboard and that almost threw me for the rest of the game but I told myself at halftime, I have to lock in. After that I just took off.”

The Shockers had contributions from up and down the roster with 12 of the 13 players seeing action. WSU had eight players score at least seven points, with four players reaching double figures.

Sophomore Tyson Etienne – the reigning American Player of the Year – was held to 10 points in the victory but said it was important for other players to step up to the challenge.

“There’s going to be some nights where they’re whole mission is to stop No. 1,” Etienne said. “We’re going to have other people have to step up and score buckets. So, knowing that we have people capable of doing that is very important for me. For my team, I think it’s great that we have a balanced attack and I think we showed that tonight.

Qua Grant – a transfer from Division II West Texas A&M – led the newcomers in scoring, tallying 11 points in his Shocker debut. Grant was effective in attacking the basket, shooting 4-5 on two-pointers, while also contributing a team-high four assists off the bench. 

“He made a difference,” head coach Isaac Brown said. “He is able to create shots off the bounce. That opened everything up for us, the fact he kept getting in the lane. He did a tremendous job off the bench and that’s why we recruited him.”

Freshman center Kenny Pohto was also effective in his collegiate debut, scoring nine points and snatching six rebounds. Brown said he was more impressed with Pohto’s defense, where he blocked two shots.

“He’s playing a lot of minutes because he can defend,” Brown said. “That’s what I try to tell all the young guys. If you can defend, play smart and you can gain the coaching staff’s trust, you will play.”

The Shockers gave up 11 offensive rebounds but out-rebounded the Lions in the victory, 47-34. Rebounding has remained a point of emphasis after being a weakness for last season’s team.

“I don’t know how many times Coach Brown has talked about rebounding,” Council said. “He’s said that over and over. It’s kind of annoying, but it’s true.”

Charles Koch Arena made its return to full capacity on Monday after the arena was limited to 25% attendance last year. 8,040 fans showed up to the exhibition contest — the most for a men’s basketball game since March 2019.

“Just to have everyone back in the arena was super big for us, super important,” Etienne said. “For the fans themselves, going to the games to watch Shocker games is part of people’s traditions. For us to play and put on a show for them is really important.”

The Shockers will open up regular season play against Jacksonville State next Tuesday. The game is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. inside Charles Koch Arena. Currently, KenPom gives the Shockers an 82% chance to open up the season with a victory.