Memphis completes season sweep over WSU with 24 point win


Mia Hennen/ The Sunflower

After securing several free throws for Wichita State, freshman Ricky Council IV meets head coach Isaac Brown on the court.

Wichita State suffered its worst loss in the Isaac Brown Era on Sunday, falling to Memphis, 81-57. The Tigers swept the Shockers in both regular season matchups, with both wins coming by at least 18 points.

The Shockers missed 28 of their 33 shots in the first half (15%), including 14-in-a-row over a nine-minute scoring drought. Memphis capitalized on WSU’s offensive struggles, leading 35-9 late in the first half.

The teams played to a 46-all tie over the final 24 minutes, but it was too late to mount a comeback.

“You’ve got to be able to compete. I told them we didn’t compete today. And in the first half we didn’t compete at all,” Wichita State head coach Isaac Brown said. “When we don’t defend at a high level the game can get away from you like it did in the first half today. So we got to move on to the next one. “

Sophomore Tyson Etienne scored a team-high 11 points, including reaching the 1,000 point milestone with a three-pointer late in the first half. Etienne became the 48th member of WSU’s 1,000-point club and the first since Markis McDuffie in December, 2019. 

Craig Porter tied a school record with seven steals to go along with nine points and six assists. The junior point guard matched a steals record previously achieved by Ernie Moore (1963 v. Drake), Cheese Johnson (1978 vs. South Dakota), Tekele Cotton (2014 vs. Drake) and Fred VanVleet (2014 vs. New Mexico State).

Ricky Council IV was the only other Shocker to reach double figures, with 10 points. Outside of Porter, Etienne and Council’s combined 31 points, the rest of the starting lineup scored a combined four points. Dexter Dennis was held scoreless for the second time this season.

 “We just weren’t competing. We were missing shots and we didn’t get back in transition,” Brown said. “I continue to tell the team that we’re not a great offensive team like making wide-open shots. Our percentages say that we still have to defend at a high level.” 

With the Shockers’ season winding down, a set of urgency is setting in ahead of the conference tournament. WSU remains optimistic in turning the season, but is running out of time. 

“We’re a really talented group, we just kind of beat ourselves sometimes, we kind of fall off and just find ourselves making silly mistakes that can cost us in the end,” Porter said. “I just feel like those few games that we lost by one or two points, if those could’ve gone our way, I feel like we could’ve gone on a rollercoaster effect and started winning these tougher games.” 

The Shockers are back on the road Wednesday at Tulsa (8 p.m. CT on either ESPN2 or ESPNU) then return home Saturday for their regular season finale against East Carolina (2 p.m. CT, ESPNU).