No. 17 Wichita State pulls away to beat Tulsa 90-71
By JEFFREY PARSON
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) After making his seventh 3-pointer of the first half in as many attempts, Wichita State reserve Austin Reaves heard the whistle signaling a Tulsa timeout and tried to make his way to the bench.
His teammates wouldn't let him.
Each one shoved or hugged him to celebrate a rare shooting display that sent the 17th-ranked Shockers to a 90-71 victory Sunday.
"I honestly couldn't explain how that felt," said Reaves, a sophomore guard. "It was an adrenaline rush."
Reaves scored all of his career-high 23 points in the first half, finishing 7 of 11 from beyond the 3-point line. The Shockers (17-4, 7-2 American Athletic Conference) needed 20 points from Shaquille Morris and 15 from Darral Willis to finally pull away from Tulsa (11-10, 4-5), but Reaves' first half remained the highlight.
"He shoots like that every day, so I wasn't surprised," said Shockers forward Rashard Kelly, who had game highs of 11 rebounds and eight assists. "But when the entire team greeted him after that timeout, I think that meant a lot for all of us, showed our togetherness as a family."
Corey Henderson, a transfer from Wichita State, scored 28 points for Tulsa, hitting five 3-pointers. Junior Etou finished with 18 points and nine rebounds for the Golden Hurricane. Sterling Taplin scored 12.
"We did a good job on Conner and Landry," Tulsa coach Frank Haith said. "We just lost awareness of Austin."
Despite trailing by 19 early in the second half after Reaves' outburst, Tulsa made it a game.
Henderson's 3-pointer pulled Tulsa to 56-50 with 13:56 remaining. Tulsa got within four twice after that, but an 11-0 Wichita State run - including five points from Zach Brown, who finished with 10 - opened up a 77-62 lead with 5:09 remaining to put the game away.
"I thought we showed great resolve then, a real will to win," Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said. "They got it down to four, and we did everything we needed to after that."
After going 2 of 9 against Central Florida on Thursday night, Shamet was still in partial uniform shooting until past 11 p.m. local time. Shamet, on the midseason Wooden Award watch list, saw his funk continue Sunday, scoring six points on 1-of-6 shooting.
In the last three games, Shamet is a combined 5 of 27 from the floor, including 1 of 18 from outside the 3-point line.
"Landry is the least of my worries," Marshall said. "He's going to continue to shoot. He's in the gym. It's a little mental right now. He's got to get past that."
It was not just Reaves off the Wichita State bench making an impact. The Shockers had a 51-4 advantage in bench points. "They have great depth," Haith said. "They just keep bringing in big after big at you."
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane had a chance at the upset with nine minutes remaining, so there were encouraging signs.
Wichita State: The Shockers pulled away for a second straight comfortable win before playing two road games.
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane host SMU on Thursday.
Wichita State: The Shockers visit Temple on Thursday.
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Updated January 28, 2018