WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — For a guy who made eight of his 10 shots, Wichita State center Shaquille Morris sure made his two missed shots memorable. He could laugh about them after scoring 19 points and getting the result No. 17 Wichita State desperately needed — an 81-62 victory over Central Florida on Thursday night.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — For a guy who made eight of his 10 shots, Wichita State center Shaquille Morris sure made his two missed shots memorable.
He could laugh about them after scoring 19 points and getting the result No. 17 Wichita State desperately needed — an 81-62 victory over Central Florida on Thursday night.
After making his first seven shots, Morris missed a one-handed alley-oop, his thundering effort leaving the basket shaking for some time. Morris' last shot was a 3-point attempt in which he landed on the defender's foot and rolled his ankle, ending his night with 6:05 to play.
Morris was just happy to end a two-game losing streak for Wichita State (16-4, 6-2 American Athletic Conference).
"We took care of what we needed to do," Morris said. "We're trying to get back to playing angry and doing what we're known for."
Darral Willis had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Shockers, many of whom noted tough practices since losing at Houston on Saturday.
"We were kind of intimated at Houston," Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said. "The guys did not respond after being punched in the mouth.
"It's about time to figure that out."
Dayon Griffin scored 15 points to lead Central Florida (13-7, 4-4 American). B.J. Taylor had 12 points for the Knights.
After getting outrebounded 22-19 in the first half, Wichita State outrebounded Central Florida 29-16 in the second half.
Each team's leading scorer, and preseason all-conference selection, had a difficult night. Taylor was 4 of 15 from the floor, while Wichita State guard Landry Shamet had just 4 points on 2-of-9 shooting. Shamet did have a game-high six assists.
But Marshall liked how his team played overall, scoring 81 points against a tough defensive opponent — the Knights entered fifth nationally in defensive field goal percentage — while compiling 16 assists and six turnovers.
"We just got a lot of contributions from a number of guys," Marshall said. "Shaq with his scoring. And Darral looked healthy and active."
Knights coach Johnny Dawkins said his team wore down late.
"They're deep enough where they can keep rotating bodies in and out," he said. "They keep the pressure on you, keep a high pace."
Earlier in the week, Marshall hinted at changes to the starting lineup. It was more than a small alteration.
Austin Reaves replaced Conner Frankamp at guard, Markis McDuffie replaced Zach Brown at forward, and Rauno Nurger supplanted Morris at center.
"I just thought it was time for McDuffie to get in there," Marshall said.
Marshall said Morris and Frankamp missed Monday's practice with physical ailments, and the team implemented a new rule that anyone who does not make every practice that week will not start.
"I used to have that rule but had kind of let it go with a veteran team," Marshall said. "We brought it back."
Many of the Knights stopped by Wichita State's bench during warmups to say hello to Shockers assistant Donnie Jones, Central Florida's head coach from 2010-2016.
Jones recruited six of the team's current players. Injured center Tacko Fall had a long chat with Jones.
Central Florida: The Knights were unable to steal an upset on the road but now have two straight home games.
Wichita State: The Shockers avoid losing two straight games at Koch Arena for the first time since February 2011.
Central Florida: The Knights host Connecticut on Tuesday
Wichita State: The Shockers host Tulsa on Sunday