Shockers pick up pivotal road victory over Oklahoma State

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Rachel Rudisill / The Sunflower

Freshman Ricky Council IV dribbles toward the basket during the game against OSU on Dec. 1 in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Turnovers, lack of finishing under the rim, and poor defense didn’t look promising for the Wichita State State Men’s Basketball team. That was until the Shockers started to make a comeback towards the middle of the first half to put themselves ahead before halftime. 

The Shockers beat Oklahoma State University 60-51 on Wednesday. The Shockers turned a rough defensive start to the game, but turned it around, resulting in Oklahoma State turning the ball over 21 times which was a season high for them. 

Head coach Isaac Brown said his team needed to be strategic in their defensive strategy to be successful against Oklahoma State. 

“I looked back on it and the one game that they lost this year to Oakland, they played zone,” Brown said. “I went back and watched tape on five other teams and no one else played in zone. I kept going through my head, there’s no way I’m going to play man-to-man all night. We want to keep changing defenses and that’s our defensive scheme.” 

By mixing up their defenses, WSU limited the Cowboys to 38% from the field and 29% from deep. WSU also limited star guard Isaac Likekele to three points on 1-5 shooting.

“We tried to deny passes and I thought we did a good job when they drive the basketball, just getting in the gaps,” Brown said. “We wanted them to make the extra pass and force them to make threes, we did a good job of getting in the gaps, getting deflections, and creating turnovers.”

Offensively, Ricky Council IV stepped up for the Shockers by scoring 17 points off the bench. Council put his effort on the court against Oklahoma State as just doing what needed to be done. The freshman guard stepped with OSU double-teaming Tyson Etienne for most of the game. Etienne finished with only three points. 

“I just wanted to win the game and I did what I had to do,” Council IV said. “It’s just sad going on a two hour bus ride with a loss, you don’t want to do that. I just wanted to win the game.” 

However, what the Shockers needed most tonight was continued improvement from their inside game. Senior forward Morris Udeze had 13 total points and eight rebounds. However, Udeze said he wasn’t successful at the rim in the first half. 

“At the beginning, I wasn’t catching the ball obviously but I talked to my coaching staff and they said ‘calm down, just relax, it’ll come to you’,”Udeze said. “I took my time just powering up, I was pump-faking so I just thought about going up strong. I started going through their chest instead of fading away, so it worked out for me.”

The Shockers have now collected two straight road wins, including one against Missouri last Friday. WSU has built a strong NCAA Tournament resume with these two road wins against Power-Five opponents.

“I told the guys before the game ‘every game’s important’,” Tyson Etienne said after Friday’s victory against Mizzou. “There’s no moral victories. We go out and lose, nobody’s going to be like ‘well, they played hard’. We need every single game, so to go on the road, Thanksgiving, focus could be going anywhere. But I feel like we stayed locked in to the scouting report, to our game plan and we did what we needed to do.”

The Shockers will play the annual INTRUST Bank Arena game on Sunday against in-state rival Kansas State. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. with the game also broadcast on ESPNU.