‘I just wanted to win:’ Council showcases offensive potential with career-high 31 points

Freshman guard becomes first Shocker to reach 30 points since 2019


Rachel Rudisill / The Sunflower

Freshman guard Ricky Council completes his first dunk of the night. Council led the Shockers in scoring with 31 points.

Wichita State was desperate for a win following an 0-4 start to conference play and needed a big-time performance to end their slow start. Freshman Ricky Council IV delivered just that in Wednesday’s victory over UCF. 

Council provided a career-high 31 points off the bench in the 84-79 win. Council went 6-10 from the  field and went 16-of-20 at the foul line, becoming WSU’s first 30-point scorer since Mar. 15, 2019 when Markis McDuffie scored 34 in an AAC quarterfinal win over Temple.

Only Cleo Littleton (22-25 in a 1955 win over Houston) and Dave Stallworth (18-23 in a 1963 win over Cincinnati) have made or attempted more free throws in a single-game.

“It just feels good to win,” Council said. “We’ve been talking about it, scoring 30 was just a part of it. I was just tired of losing so I just had to do what I had to do.”

Freshman guard Ricky Council makes a jump shot against UCF in the Charles Koch Arena. Council went 6-10 in field goal attempts. (Rachel Rudisill / The Sunflower)

Council’s historic performance at the free-throw stripe is due to his hard work put in over the summer. Last season, the freshman guard shot 65.8% on free-throws but that number is up to 81.2% through 17 games. 

Council changed his routine over the summer and now takes two dribbles and shoots the free throw. The change has been effective, with Council shooting 85.7% to start conference play.

“My mindset is the more you hold it in your hand, the more you think about it in a tough situation,” Council said. “If you think about one little negative thought, my form will get shot.”

Council was aggressive in attacking the rim, especially in the second half. The Durham, North Carolina native scored 22 of his 31 points after halftime, including two crucial three-pointers to help fend off the Knights. 

Council’s three triples tied a season-high, while also reaching double figures for the ninth time this season.

“I thought he attacked the press, got some easy layups, he drove it, got fouled, got to the free throw line,” head coach Isaac Brown said. “When Morris Udeze got doubled inside, it freed him up to take some wide open jump shots.”

Junior Dexter Dennis – who finished 13 points – said that Council’s scoring potential helps add another dimension to the Shocker offense. Council is now averaging a team-high 14.4 points per game in the team’s five conference. He’s also WSU’s leading rebounder (6.4 rebounds per game) during that stretch.

“When he gets it going, it definitely adds to our team,” Dennis said. “We’ve already got a few guys in there that are possible threats. When he comes in and gets it going, it definitely creates problems for other teams.”

From an outside perspective, UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said he’s been impressed with Council’s development since he last saw him play last season. Council was held scoreless in both matchups against the Knights last season, while missing all eight shot attempts.

“He’s an aggressive player and he attacked all the time, so he put himself in a position to be fouled because of how hard he plays,” UCF coach Johnny Dawkins said. “It’s a compliment to him. He’s worked really hard on his game and I can see the improvements in his game from last year.”

Council and the Shockers will look to continue their winning ways on Saturday as they take on Tulane in a road matchup at 11 a.m. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN+.