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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Men’s basketball wins first conference game, snaps losing streak

The Wichita State men’s basketball team rallied late on Sunday for their first conference win of the season against Southern Methodist University, 77-72. The win marks the end of an eight-game losing streak for the Shockers.

“I feel like it is a step in the right direction for us to keep improving moving forward,” redshirt junior guard Harlond Beverly said.

The game’s opening four minutes were back-and-forth as Southern Methodist opened up with a 7-4 lead after both teams coughed the ball up in the opening minute.

The Mustangs would then go on a 9-0 run in the next three minutes, increasing their lead to 12-4.

A clutch second-chance shot by redshirt junior guard Colby Rogers would end the Mustang run and Shocker scoring drought. Rogers caught fire, knocking down a couple of 3-point attempts, edging the Shockers within two points, 17-15.

Beverly scored four points in the final minutes of the half, capping the period off with a putback slam at the buzzer to make the score 41-37.

Although Wichita State trailed by four at halftime, they sloppily turned the ball over 11 times in the first half.

“Being stronger with the ball … making sure they’ve got an imbalance … kind of released the pressure a little bit in the second half,” Rogers said.

Halftime adjustments and ball security in the second half would make the difference for the Shockers. Southern Methodist showed a powerful full-court press in the first half that stifled the Shockers’ offense and tempo but would eventually be managed in the second half. 

Rogers said they had to switch up their transitions in the second half, which proved beneficial. The offense was then allowed to operate more smoothly and freely, resulting in just one second-half turnover in the first minutes of the second half.

With 13:11 left in the game, junior forward Kenny Pohto tied the game at 50 off an SMU turnover.

Both teams threw offensive haymakers at each other as the game entered crunch time, the lead going back and forth between the two teams six times. Pohto would go on to make two pivotal free throws late in the second half, cutting the Mustang lead to 70-67.

A late Mustangs turnover and a second-chance poster from junior forward Ronnie DeGray III gave Wichita State the spark it needed. 

DeGray III came off the bench and played for only 19 minutes throughout the contest, but his 11 points, five rebounds and three late buckets were turning points in the game.

DeGray III said his late scores were a result of a defensive breakdown on the same play that the offense ran consecutively.

Rogers and junior guard Xavier Bell both hit a pair of free throws, capping off the game and giving the Shockers their first conference win of the season, 77-72.

Beverly led Wichita State in scoring with 14 points, and Rogers was right behind him, with 12 points of his own. DeGray III and graduate student forward Dalen Ridgnal both scored 11 points each.

As the high of their first conference win wears off, men’s basketball will prepare for its road game against Tulsa on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Owen Prothro
Owen Prothro, Assistant Sports Editor
Owen Prothro is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. Prothro uses he/him pronouns. This is Prothro's second semester on staff. Prothro is pursuing a degree in journalism and media production. Prothro's dream job is to be an in-the-field reporter for the Disc Golf Pro Tour.
Garima Thapa
Garima Thapa, Photo Editor
Garima Thapa is the photo editor for The Sunflower. Thapa is in her third year as a staff member at The Sunflower.

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