WSU looks to get back on track against Tulane


Sean Marty / The Sunflower

Junior Craig Porter dribbles the ball up the court during the game against Memphis on Jan. 1 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Wichita State is desperate for a win. 

The Shockers have lost two games in a row to open conference play, after falling to Memphis and Houston. WSU is also 3-4 in their last seven games, with all three wins coming against lesser opponents – Norfolk State (No. 220 in NET), Alcorn State (No. 241) and Prairie View A&M (No. 324).

If WSU falls to Tulane on Wednesday evening, it would be the first 0-3 start in AAC play since the 2018-19 season.

“We’re definitely anxious for the first win (in conference play),” WSU coach Isaac Brown said. “It’s very important because these are some big basketball games. We’ve got to do a good job to take advantage of playing at home in front of our crowd. We’ve got two games back-to-back and we need to win these games.”

WSU’s struggling offense will face a test with Tulane’s zone defense. The Shocker offense has struggled in recent games shooting from outside, going 13-56 (23.2%) from downtown in the past two losses.

Brown said that ball movement, outside shooting and spacing will all be key against the Green Wave’s defense, which all have been weaknesses over this recent stretch. 

“Number one, we’ve got to try to get out in transition to beat the zone down the floor. We’ve got to have good movement, good spacing. We’ve got to drive and kick to try to get someone a better shot. When we do shoot the basketball, we’ve got to get some guys on the glass to try to get offensive rebounds.”

Star guard Tyson Etienne found success from deep during a season sweep of Tulane last year, shooting 46.7% from deep along with 17 points per game. The sophomore guard is yet to find that same level of success to start AAC play this season, shooting 21.4% on three-pointers in both losses.

Brown said that it’ll be important for Etienne to stay patient and find easy shots to start finding a rhythm. 

“Going into the game, the defense is set to stop you, so you may have to turn down some tough shots, pass it, cut through, be ready to get the ball back in your hands, try to get out in transition to get some easy shots, get to the free throw line,” Brown said of Etienne. “I told his teammates we’ve got to do a better job of screening to try to get him some wide-open shots.”

Even with the team’s recent struggles, the team has shown some fight to keep games close. The Shockers used a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to six late in the second half against Houston, but it was too much to overcome. 

“Those guys have never quit in a basketball game,” Brown said. “They came to practice every day, ready to work, ready to get better. We watched a lot of film, realized what we had to do in order to start winning basketball games, and that’s all we’ve been talking about in the film room and on the practice court what we’ve got to do to become a better basketball team and cut back on our silly mistakes. Those guys are taking on the challenge.”

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday night inside Charles Koch Arena. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN+.