WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — After a tough loss to Alcorn State University, the Wichita State University Shockers were looking for a bounce-back win to avoid starting their season 1-2.
Facing a Richmond team coming off am NCAA Tournament run less than a year ago, the Shockers took home the win on the road, beating the Spiders 56-53 on Thursday night.
Alabama transfer James Rojas hit two free throws at the end of the game to stretch the lead to 56-51, and a timely Craig Porter Jr. steal allowed the Shockers to stave off a comeback by Richmond, who trailed in the first half by 11 points.
Georgia transfer Jaykwon Walton was the leading scorer for the Shockers, scoring 20 points on 46.2% shooting on the night. Rojas (15) and Porter Jr. (11) joined him at the only Shockers to score in double figures.
As a team, the Shockers shot 41.7% from the field and just 23.5% from beyond the arc. Defensively, they held Richmond to just 37% shooting and an equally-poor 27% from three. The Shockers won the rebounding battle 36-29.
Walton powered the Shockers’ offense in the first half, scoring 10 while the team went on a late run to take an 11-point lead with 41 seconds left in the half before a pair of free throws by Richmond’s Isaiah Bigelow cut the lead to nine heading into the locker room at the half.
As the teams came out of the locker room, the two teams traded blows offensively before Richmond went on a run and briefly took the lead with close to six minutes left in the game, 47-46.
Shockers head coach Isaac Brown called a timeout to settle his team down, and they went on a 6-2 run to maintain the lead for the rest of the game.
The win puts Wichita State at 2-1 on the early season, heading into the Hall of Fame Classic tournament in Kansas City next week. The team is set to play Grand Canyon University on Nov. 21 at the T-Mobile Center at 2 p.m.