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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Men’s basketball runs away with win vs UTSA

Like its prior two games against Tulsa and Memphis, the Wichita State men’s basketball team built a double-digit lead over the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) on Wednesday night. 

Unlike in recent history, the Shockers ran away with the win in Charles Koch Arena, 84-64.

Wichita State is now 10-13 this season and 2-8 in the American Athletic Conference. UTSA is now 2-8 in the conference as well.

The home team opened the game by playing through junior center Quincy Ballard, who scored the first four points of the night for the Shockers.

Wichita State made its first eight shots, taking control of the game from the outset.

As the first half progressed, redshirt junior guard Colby Rogers electrified the home crowd. He capped off an 11-2 run with a dunk that opened the Wichita State lead to 15-7 and created the loudest fan reaction of the night.

At the 10-minute mark of the first half, Rogers drained a 3-pointer in transition to give the Shockers a 29-12 lead and hit the “ice in my veins” pose as the Roadrunners took a timeout.

The end of the first half cemented the good vibes for the Shockers heading to the locker room. Junior forward Ronnie DeGray III blocked a UTSA shot with 20 seconds left, redshirt junior guard Harlond Beverly capitalized on the other end with a layup to make the lead 46-24 and UTSA then fumbled the ball out of bounds.

Wichita State completed two alley-oops in the first three minutes of the second half to establish the tone for the remainder of the game. The Roadrunners never cut the Shocker lead below 16 points.

UTSA shot 32% in the first half as Wichita State played composed basketball on both ends of the floor and controlled the game. The Shockers turned the ball over only eight times and hit all 15 of its free throws.

Head coach Paul Mills said Wichita State played more “mature basketball” in the game, after playing “immature basketball” earlier in the season.

“What I didn’t see were players being content,” Mills said. “We’ve been able to play teams close, but playing close ain’t getting it done … I thought the intensity required in order to win a game, specifically defensively, was better.”

The Wichita State guards got to the rim at will against the UTSA defense. Rogers finished the game with 18 points, and Beverly scored 16, with six rebounds and five assists.

Ballard was omnipresent in his 16 minutes of game time, blocking three shots, nabbing six rebounds and scoring 11 points. Mills said Ballard altered “about a half-dozen shots” in the game.

“When they see that jersey, and they see that length … that’s not a matchup that’s probably advantageous for those guards,” Mills said. “So his presence alone will make players do things that may be out of their regular norm.”

Rogers said the team’s “sacrifice” and effort in practice is paying off to close out games.

“We have gone through so much adversity,” Rogers said. “We’re not going to do all of this for nothing. So you got to … keep fighting and kind of have determination like we’re going to get over the hump … Today was a good step in that direction.”

Next up, the Shockers host #20 Florida Atlantic on Sunday, Feb. 11. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.

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About the Contributors
Jacob Unruh, Assistant Sports Editor
Jacob Unruh is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. He is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. This is Unruh's first year on staff. He goes by he/him pronouns.
Kristy Mace, Photo Editor
Kristy Mace is the photo editor for The Sunflower. She's majoring in psychology. Currently a junior, Mace hopes to go on to get her Ph.D. and become a neuropsychologist. She also plays for Wichita State's bowling team and does professional photography aside from The Sunflower.

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