Wichita State was fresh off its first true road victory over a top-25 team in five years, but Mike Daum and his band of 3-point-shooting South Dakota State Jackrabbits didn’t allow the Shockers a pushover in their return to Koch Arena.
Daum torched the Shockers for 31 points, South Dakota State made 14 3-pointers, and the Jackrabbits put the Shockers in a deficit (as much as 13 points) for longer than 24 minutes.
But No. 6 Wichita State is a difficult force to stop at Koch Arena and a late rally by the Shockers delivered a 95-85 victory over South Dakota State on Tuesday. The Shockers won their 23rd straight game at Koch Arena to improved to 7-1, while SDSU fell to 7-4.
Landry Shamet finished with 21 points, four rebounds, and eight assists, while Shaquille Morris (20 points), Conner Frankamp (16), Darral Willis (13) and Zach Brown (10) all came through with double-digit scoring efforts.
The game-winning surge for the Shockers began after SDSU took a 76-67 lead with 8:52 remaining.
Over the next 10 possessions, a four-minute stretch, WSU outscored SDSU 16-1 with its defense forcing four turnovers. The pivotal moment came from a Morris rainbow 3-pointer from the top of the key, which splashed in and ignited the crowd and forced SDSU to burn a timeout after its lead was trimmed to 76-74.
Brown followed with a dunk the next possession to tie the score, then a Morris finish gave WSU its first lead, 78-77, in 24 minutes. SDSU could do little to stem the momentum after the Shockers took the lead.
After falling behind by nine with 8:52 left, WSU won the rest of the game 28-9.
The comeback was the second time this season WSU has erased a double-figure deficit in the second half, as the Shockers came back from 18 down against California to beat the Bears 92-82 in the Maui Invitational.
It all made for a thrilling night of basketball between two teams operating at a high level on the offensive end, but it was also somewhat of a troubling performance by WSU’s defense — ranked as one of the most efficient in the nation.
South Dakota State shredded the Shockers in the first half and broke nearly every opponent scoring record in the Gregg Marshall era. The Jackrabbits led 50-42 with their 50 points being the most scored against WSU in the first half in Marshall’s 11 years (one more than Oklahoma State scored last year at Intrust Bank Arena) and their 1.47 points per possession also topped any past performance.
Daum and SDSU’s bigs tortured WSU’s defense on high ball screens in the middle of the court. WSU couldn’t figure out how it wanted to cover the play, as too often Daum or a SDSU big would set a screen and instead of rolling to the rim would pop to the perimeter and can a 3-point shot.
Reed Tellinghuisen and Ian Theisen added a combined five 3-pointers to go along with Daum’s seven triples.