No. 11 Wichita State holds off Arkansas State
For a coach who likes to defend and rebound, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall was noticeably concerned after the Shockers’ performance on Tuesday night.
Samajae Haynes-Jones scored 27 points off the bench, including a late 3-pointer that helped No. 11 Wichita State put away Arkansas State 89-80 in Wichita, Kan.
Landry Shamet finished with 18 points for Wichita State, which bounced back from a weekend loss to Oklahoma to win its 24th straight game at Charles Koch Arena.
But it wasn’t easy.
“It’s pretty concerning for a guy who likes to defense and rebound,” Marshall told reporters after the game. “I just hope that everything comes back to the mean. I hope it’s not that we’re just terrible defensively. I hope we’ve just hit a bad streak.”
Marshall and Arkansas State coach Mike Balado were agitated on the sideline throughout the game, and referees gave technicals to each coach in the second half.
The Shockers trailed at halftime and struggled to separate themselves from the Red Wolves until late in the second half. Shamet hit two 3-pointers during a 15-2 run that had Wichita State up 77-65 with seven minutes to play.
Arkansas State rallied with 84-80 on a jumper from Deven Simms, who had a game-high 30 points for the Red Wolves.
Haynes-Jones hit a 3-pointer on the Shockers’ next possession and Shamet followed with a jumper in the final minutes to seal the hard-fought win.
Wichita State (9-2) got off to a quick start. Austin Reaves hit three 3-pointers in the first four minutes as the Shockers raced out to a 15-6 lead.
Arkansas State (4-8) answered quickly and took a 30-29 lead on two free throws from Simms with eight minutes left in the half.
Ty Cockfield and Connor Kern each hit 3-pointers in the final three minutes of the half and Arkansas State, which is 1-7 on the road this season, went into halftime with a 50-44 lead.
Shamet said Zach Brown challenged the Shockers, calling out their defense specifically.
“He said, ‘You want to be known as the best offensive team in Wichita State history or the worst defensive team?’” Shamet explained. “I think that’s a really good point, and that’s kind of where we’re headed. And I don’t think any of those guys in there want to be like that.”
Brown’s comment seemed to resonate with Wichita State. The Shockers held Arkansas State to 30 points in the second half.
“We gave up 50 in the first half and really just 28 in the second half if you take away the points for my technical,” Marshall said. “And we didn’t change a thing defensively. Law of averages, I guess.”
The Shockers quickly regained the lead in the second half, with Shamet knocking down a 3-pointer that put Wichita State in front 62-59 with 12:13 to play.
Cockfield finished with 16 points for Arkansas State.
Led by Haynes-Jones, Wichita State’s bench outscored the Red Wolves’ reserves 37-12.
The Shockers have surrendered 80 points or more in their last three home games.
NOTES: Wichita State fell from No. 3 to No. 11 in the AP poll after losing to Oklahoma on Saturday. ... The Shockers surrendered 50 or more points in the first half for a second straight game. ... Tuesday’s game was the first meeting between Wichita State and Arkansas State in 46 years. ... Both of Wichita State G Austin Reaves’ parents played at Arkansas State. ... The Red Wolves return home to host Culver-Stockton on Friday. The Shockers host Florida-Gulf Coast on Friday.