WSU’s comeback bid falls short against UCF


Mia Hennen/ The Sunflower

During the second half of the game against the SMU Mustangs on Feb. 5, the five on the court pause to discuss strategy.

After rallying from a 16-point deficit in the second half, the Shockers fell short against Central Florida, 71-66 on Tuesday. The loss snaps a two-game winning streak, as WSU falls to 3-6 conference play.

It was the first time that UCF beat the Shockers since WSU joined the AAC in 2017. Brandon Mahan led the charge with 19 points.

The Shockers opened up the game on an 11-2 run, but the Knights outscored them 41-18 to close out the half. UCF’s lead grew to 16 points but Tyson Etienne led a second half comeback to keep WSU close. 

With WSU down by eight in the final minutes, Etienne nailed two triples to make it a one possession game. Etienne scored 17 of his 26 points after halftime and went 5-12 from beyond the arc. After a missed opportunity to tie the game, Mahan converted a tough and-one layup to push the game out of reach. 

The Shockers finished the game shooting 41% from the field and 42% from deep. Dexter Dennis added 11 points and six rebounds, while Craig Porter tallied 14 points, six rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the final minute.

WSU’s bench struggled in the contest, scoring a combined seven points. After scoring a career-high 31 points in the first meeting with UCF, Ricky Council IV was held to five points on 2-9 shooting. Council also turned it over twice.

Up next, the Shockers return home for a matchup with South Florida on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.