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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

No blown lead this time: men’s basketball holds on for win vs UAB

Bijan+Cortes+jumps+to+pass+the+ball+to+a+teammate+during+the+first+half+of+the+Feb.+21+game+against+Tulsa.
Kristy Mace
Bijan Cortes jumps to pass the ball to a teammate during the first half of the Feb. 21 game against Tulsa.

Much of the second half of the Wichita State men’s basketball team’s game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) felt like deja vu to the numerous times this season when the Shockers blew a double-digit lead in the second half.

A 19-point lead was cut to one, but the Shockers managed to hold on to the win in the end, 74-66. It was the first road win in this year’s American Athletic Conference play for Wichita State.

The Shockers are now 4-12 in the AAC and 12-17 overall, while the Blazers dropped to 10-5 in conference play.

Twelve of Wichita State’s first 14 points came from junior guard Colby Rogers. Following his previous game against Temple, where he went 2 for 14, Rogers made all seven shots he took in the first half against UAB.

Redshirt junior guard Harlond Beverly knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 22 with seven minutes left in the half, and the Shockers took the lead, 30-26, after a pair of open dunks by graduate student forward Dalen Ridgnal and junior center Quincy Ballard.

Rogers beat the buzzer to close out the half with another three, giving the Shockers a 39-33 lead.

UAB failed to score a basket for a five-minute stretch in the second half as Wichita State expanded its lead to 60-41 with 12 minutes left.

After another bucket, it was Wichita State who went on a scoring drought with five turnovers. However, UAB was only able to cut the lead to 13 with seven minutes left.

After a Rogers layup, the Shockers went cold again and, jump-started by a poster dunk on Ballard from UAB junior Yaxel Lendeborg, the Blazers went on a 15-1 run to cut the Wichita State lead to one, 65-64, with 3:17 remaining.

With 48 seconds left and a four-point lead, Rogers stole a UAB pass and led a fast break that resulted in a Ballard dunk.

On the other end, a UAB three rimmed out and junior guard Xavier Bell delivered two free throws to clinch the final result and give the Shockers a sigh of relief.

Rogers scored a season-high 29 points, 19 of which came in the first half. Beverly also had a solid all-around game, with 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Bell was the only other double-digit scorer for the Shockers, although he also had five turnovers, struggling with the UAB defense for much of the second half.

The Shockers shot 53% from beyond the arc, its best percentage of the season, while UAB only scored 5 of 16 threes. UAB was kept in the game by 18 Wichita State turnovers, which is the second-most of the year.

Wichita State plays its final home game of the season on Saturday, March 2 against Rice. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.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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