EditorsNote: Several fixes throughout
Elijah Joiner finished his game-high 22-point performance Saturday with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to seal host Tulsa’s 54-51 win over No. 23-ranked Wichita State in American Athletic Conference play.
Tulsa (15-6, 7-1 AAC) rallied from a halftime deficit and a dismal 8-for-25 shooting first half to score its first win over Wichita State since November 2015. The victory also puts the Golden Hurricane in first place in the American, a half-game ahead of Houston and Cincinnati.
Joiner’s outstanding 5 of 6 3-point shooting included a perfect 3 of 3 in the second half, as Tulsa’s overall efficiency from the floor improved from the first 20 minutes. Joiner knocked down a 3-pointer with a little over four minutes left that gave the Golden Hurricane a two-point lead.
The two sides traded the lead multiple times down the stretch, with Wichita State (17-4, 5-3) taking a 51-49 lead with 59 seconds remaining on a Jamarius Burton layup.
Jaime Echenique recorded a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Shockers, including an offensive rebound on an Erik Stevenson missed 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining.
The board gave Wichita State an opportunity at a game-winning possession with no shot clock, but the Shockers committed their 14th turnover to give Tulsa the ball back with three seconds left to set the stage for Joiner’s buzzer-beater.
Missed 3-pointers vexed Wichita State throughout the evening. The Shockers finished 6 of 31 from deep. On the flip side, Tulsa hit 50 percent (7 of 14) of its 3-point attempts.
The Golden Hurricane attempted 17 fewer 3-pointers than Wichita State, but made one more — and it was the shot that counted the most.
Both teams shot poorly overall from the field — Tulsa at 37.2 percent and Wichita State at 34.5.
Jeriah Horne and Lawson Korita made 3-pointers for Tulsa and finished with five points apiece. Horne added five rebounds. Brandon Rachal, credited with the assist on Joiner’s game-winner, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Martins Igbanu scored 10 points and shot a perfect 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Tulsa went 15 of 20 as a team from the charity stripe, compared to 5 of 7 for Wichita State.
—Field Level Media