EditorsNote: 2nd graf, change ‘against’ to ‘again’; tweaked 7th graf;
Big runs early in both halves powered host No. 23 Wichita State to a 76-67 defeat of No. 21 Memphis in an American Athletic Conference matchup Thursday.
Wichita State (14-1, 2-0 American) jumped to a 17-4 lead in the game’s first six minutes. Memphis whittled the gap down to six points by halftime, but the Shockers pounced again out of the locker room.
They scored seven of the first nine points in the second half, then extended the lead to as many as 19 points.
Jamarius Burton led the Shockers with 16 points. Erik Stevenson knocked down three 3-pointers en route to 12 points. Tyson Etienne scored 11 points and led the defensive effort with four steals.
Memphis (12-3, 1-1) cut the lead to 13 points midway through the second with a quick burst of offense. Tyler Harris helped spark the mini-rally, and finished with 17 points off the bench.
Another run after the under-eight-minute timeout pulled Memphis to within six points. The Tigers held the Shockers without a field goal for a stretch lasting longer than six minutes, while Precious Achiuwa keyed Memphis on both ends of the floor.
Achiuwa finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Complicating the Tigers’ comeback efforts, Wichita State hit the offensive boards hard. Stops by the Memphis defense turned into 18 Shockers offensive rebounds, which they converted into 15 second-chance points.
Dexter Dennis led Wichita State with eight rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.
The Memphis offense, meanwhile, struggled against Wichita State’s aggressive, trapping defense. The Tigers shot just 20-for-56 from the floor, and finished with 10 team assists. They were stuck on four assists until the final 10 minutes of the game.
After winning 10 straight, Memphis has lost consecutive games. The Tigers fell in non-conference play on Jan. 4 to Georgia. Wichita State extended its winning streak to eight games.
—Field Level Media