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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Men’s basketball escapes first round of AAC tournament, Colby Rogers breaks 3-point record

Mia Hennen
Redshirt junior guard Colby Rogers prepares to make a layup while facing off against Rice University. Rogers broke Wichita State’s record for most 3-pointers in a single season with 94 3-pointers, three more than the previous record.

With three 3-pointers in the first half, junior guard Colby Rogers broke Wichita State’s record for the most 3-pointers in a single season. His 3-point abilities came at a crucial time, as Wichita State men’s basketball beat Rice University 88-81 in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

The former record for 3-pointers was 91, set by Sean Ogirri in the 2005-2006 season; Rogers now has 94.

“I’m happy for Colby because it’s a testament to his work,” head coach Paul Mills said. 

With the win, Wichita State kept its season alive, improving to 14-18. Rice ended its season at 11-21 overall. 

The Shockers met the Owls for the first time this season during the final home game of the season just over two weeks ago, where Wichita State cruised to victory in the second half. This time around, the Shockers claimed the win with just a couple of minutes left on the clock. 

Rice started hot, taking the lead 12-4 before the first media timeout. After a 3-pointer from Rogers, the Shockers were able to make it a 10-point game, 19-9, with 14 minutes left in the half. 

The Shockers were able to narrow the lead to just five with less than 10 minutes on the clock, 28-23, after a 7-0 run. A jump shot by junior forward Kenny Pohto brought the score within two and a 3-pointer from junior forward Ronnie DeGray lll tied the game at 28. 

Wichita State took its first lead of the game with 6:50 left in the first half after a layup from junior guard Xavier Bell, but a Rice layup would tie it again at 30. 

In the final two minutes of the first half, the Shockers took a 10-point lead against Rice, 47-37, with a 3-pointer from Rogers and a steal from Bell. Another Rogers 3-pointer sent Wichita State into the locker room leading, 52-39. 

Wichita State shot 72.4% in the first half, breaking the AAC tournament record for highest shooting percentage in a half. The Shockers made a combined total of 48 points in their final 23 possessions to lead going into the second half. 

Mills credited Pohto’s ability to get around the rim for the hot shooting start. 

“When you do that, teams have to squeeze a little bit more, and it opened up perimeter shots,” Mills said. 

Rice would not give up In the second half, creating a 12-2 run to cut the 13-point lead to just one, 56-55. Rogers answered with a jump shot to bring the lead to three, 58-55, with 13 minutes left. 

The Owls took the lead, 61-60 on a jump shot from senior guard Alem Huseinovic.  The Shockers responded with a 3-pointer from DeGray. Huseinovic took it upon himself to shoot a 3-pointer before DeGray answered with a layup to take the lead once again, 65-64. 

Mills said DeGray’s ability to use his physicality was the switch in the game. 

“He’s really good at knowing what his assignment is and fulfilling it,” Mills said.

Almost the entirety of the second half was back-and-forth, with many lead changes until a jump shot from DeGray gave the Shockers a one-point lead. A Rogers free throw put them up by two, 74-72. 

With less than 3 minutes left in regulation, the Shockers were up by two, 78-76, until a Rogers 3-pointer secured a five-point lead, 81-76. 

Rice attempted to close the gap with a layup but was ultimately shut down when Rogers made another 3-pointer to make it 84-76. Those back-to-back 3-pointers from Rogers ignited the team to finish with a seven-point victory. 

Rogers led the Shockers with 22 points. Rogers said that he did not know he had broken the record but was proud that it happened at Wichita State after sitting out last season. 

“Just being ready to shoot — have confidence in my shot and just trying to put my team in the best position to win,” Rogers said. 

DeGray created 15 points of his own. He said Mills approached him after the loss against Tulane and told him had not been as aggressive on the court as he could have been. 

DeGray said he took it to heart and changed his style to play with more confidence. 

“At the end of the day,” DeGray said, “I’m not ready to go home yet.”

Men’s basketball will play on Thursday, March 14, in the second round of the AAC Tournament against the fifth seed Memphis. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. 

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About the Contributors
Melanie Rivera-Cortez
Melanie Rivera-Cortez, Sports Editor
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing.

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