Shockers hit the road Sunday against UConn

Shockers

WICHITA, Kan. (WSU Athletics) – The Wichita State Shockers (14-1, 2-0 and ranked No. 23 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls) travel to the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. on Sunday for an American Athletic Conference matchup against the UConn Huskies (10-5, 1-2).

Sunday’s matchup airs nationally on CBS Sports Network and live in more than 150 U.S. markets via the CBS All Access subscription service, with additional coverage on cbssports.com and the CBS Sports app. Andrew Catalon (pbp), Pete Gillen (WSU analyst) & Steve Lappas (UConn analyst) have the call.

Mike Kennedy and Bob Hull describe the action on KEYN 103.7 FM and online at goshockers.com/listen. Kennedy, who is now in his 40th year as Voice of the Shockers, will call is 1,243rd consecutive game.

OPENING TIPS:

  • Due to the league’s unbalanced schedule, this will be the only regular season meeting between the schools.
  • WSU has won three of the four matchups since joining The American. Its only other XL Center visit was for its conference debut on Dec. 30, 2017 — a 72-62 win.
  • The teams split two games last year with each side holding serve at home. UConn won 80-60 in Storrs on Jan. 26, 2019. WSU returned the favor Feb. 28 in Wichita, winning 65-63 on Samajae Haynes-Jones’ buzzer-beater.
  • The loss in Storrs last year was rock bottom. It dropped the Shockers to 8-11 (1-6 AAC). WSU is 28-5 since.
  • WSU rides an eight-game winning streak after Thursday night’s 76-67 home win over No. 21 Memphis. Jamarius Burton led the scoring with 16 points. The Shockers jumped to a 17-4 lead and never trailed. They forced 18 Memphis turnovers and held the visitors to 35.7% from the field.
  • The Shockers have won seven-straight true road contests going back to last season. It’s the nation’s second-longest active streak behind Gonzaga (13).
  • The Shockers have played 12 of their 15 games in Wichita. Sunday marks their first action outside the city limits since Dec. 8 when they took down rv/25 Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The road swing continues through Wednesday when WSU battles Temple in Philadelphia.
  • Eight teams — including the Shockers — entered the weekend with one loss or fewer. Their lone setback came on a neutral floor against a West Virginia team that’s currently No. 17 in the polls.
  • The Shockers rank among the national leaders in winning percentage (t-5th, .933), scoring margin (17th, +14.4), turnover margin (19th, +4.6) and field goal percentage defense (25th, .382). KenPom rates the WSU defense 17th nationally in adjusted efficiency.

ROAD WARRIORS:

  • WSU has been one the nation’s most successful road teams under Gregg Marshall. Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Shockers’ .792 winning percentage is second only to Gonzaga. The Shockers are 92-50 overall under Marshall in true road environments. Those wins have come in 37 different buildings.
  • Per Warren Nolan, WSU’s seven-straight true road wins is the nation’s second-longest active streak.

Top True Road Records (2013-14 to Present):
1. Gonzaga (61-9) .871
2. Wichita State (57-15) .792
3. Villanova (54-19) .740
4. Virginia (51-20) .718

Longest Active True Road Winning Streaks:
13 – Gonzaga (5-0 in 2019-20); Next: Jan. 11 @ Loyola Marymount
7 — Wichita St. (1-0); Next: Jan. 12 @ UConn
6 — San Diego St. (5-0); Next: Jan. 14 @ Fresno St.
6 — Wright St. (6-0); Next: Jan. 12 @ UIC
5 – Harvard (5-1);  Next: Jan. 25 @ Dartmouth

•    Wichita State’s seven-game true road winning streak is tied for the fourth-longest in program history.
•    There have been seven road streaks of seven-plus in Shocker history. Six of them have come within the last decade.

Longest True Road Winning Streaks (WSU All-Time):
12 — 11/20/2013 to 12/3/2014 at #25 Utah (68-69 ot)
11 — 1/17/2017 to 1/20/2018 at Houston (59-73)
8 — 1/1/2011 to 2/26/2011 at Missouri St. (64-69)
7 — 1/29/1954 to 1/11/1955 at Oklahoma St. (53-69)
7 — 3/20/2011 to 1/28/2012 at Drake (86-93, 3ot)
7 — 2/9/2016 to 1/14/2017 at Illinois St. (62-76)
7 – Started 2/20/2019; Active

•    The Shocker streak includes some notable names from the ACC, Big 10 and Big 12 conferences. Four of the seven victories have come by double-digits.
•    Last spring, WSU became the first team in NIT history to sweep the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seed on its way to Madison Square Garden (Furman, Clemson and Indiana).

Wichita State’s Seven-Game Road Winning Streak:
Feb. 20, 2019 — at Tulsa* (W, 81-60)
Mar. 3, 2019 — at SMU* (W, 67-55)    
Mar. 9, 2019 — at Tulane* (W, 82-79)    
Mar. 20, 2019 — at [3] Furman (W, 76-70) // NIT 1st Round
Mar. 24, 2019 — at [2] Clemson (W, 63-55) // NIT 2nd Round
Mar. 27, 2019 — at [1] Indiana (W, 73-63) // NIT Quarterfinals
Dec. 8, 2019 — at rv/25 Oklahoma St. (W, 80-61)

WORKING AHEAD:
Last year’s team didn’t win its 14th game until Feb. 28. This year’s team beat that mark by 51 days (Jan. 9).
Win No. 15 came on Mar. 3 last year (at SMU). With a win on Sunday, the 2019-20 Shockers would once again be 51 days ahead of schedule.
The Shockers’ 14-1 record is the fifth-best one-loss start in school history.

Wichita State’s Best One-Loss Starts:
35-1 // 2013-14 // Finished 35-1 (First 35-0 start in NCAA history)
18-1 // 1926-27 // Finished 19-2 (4th Round of the AAU National Tournament)
16-1 // 1953-54 // Finished 27-4 (First modern postseason bid; NIT)
14-1 // 2019-20 // ???
13-1 // 1982-83 // Finished 25-3


THE SHOCKS, IN SHORT:

  • Wichita State has one of the nation’s youngest teams and — according to the latest rankings — one of its best. The Shockers are a consensus No. 23 in the AP and Coaches Polls and have climbed to No. 8 in the NCAA NET ratings.
  • WSU rejoined the AP Top-25 on Dec. 30 after a season-and-a-half absence. The Shockers went wire-to-wire in the 2017-18 polls but spent last year rebuilding.
  • 10 of WSU’s 13 scholarship players are underclassmen, though many of them gained valuable experience during a surprise run to the NIT semifinals.
  • The ’18-19 team found an identity with defense, rebounding and ball security. Those qualities still apply, but the current group packs a little more scoring punch and has had greater success creating turnovers.
  • WSU is seeking a return to the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in nine years and has put together an at-large quality resume. The Shockers are 3-1 in Quadrant I games with victories at Oklahoma State (60) and at home against VCU (29) and Memphis (24). The only loss was a neutral site game vs. West Virginia (11).
  • 12 of the 16 remaining games on the Shocker schedule are of the Q-I or Q-II variety.
  • KenPom rates the Shocker defense 17th nationally in efficiency (up from 44th last year). WSU has held 12 of its 15 opponents under 40% from the field. Only two teams have scored more than 70 points against the Shockers this year and none more than 75.
  • Ten Shockers average 10+ minutes and eight are scoring between six and 14 points-per-game.
  • The starting lineup of (1) Burton, (2) Etienne, (3) Stevenson, (4) Wade and (5) Echenique has started every game since Dec. 5 and is 8-0 together.
  • Sophomore guard Erik Stevenson is a two-time AAC player of the week. Last Saturday’s 29-point effort against Ole Miss was a new career-high and the third time this season that’s he’s topped 20 points Stevenson leads WSU in scoring (13.9), steals (1.9) and minutes (29.0) and is its second-leading rebounder (5.4).
  • Sophomore Jamarius Burton (10.9 ppg) can play point guard or on the wing, as needed. He’s averaging a team-high 3.9 assists with a 1.9 A:TO ratio and has scored in double-figures in five-straight games.
  • The team’s lone senior — 6-11 center Jaime Echenique — averages 9.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 block. He leads the team in plus-minus (+27.1 per/40).
  • 6-foot-6 forward Trey Wade — a JUCO transfer from South Plains (Texas) College — has been an impactful addition at the four-spot. He’s the team’s top rebounder (6.7) and owns a pair of double-doubles.
  • A couple of four-star freshman guards have also helped elevate the Shockers. Tyson Etienne (10.5 ppg) has nailed a team-high 36 triples with 43.4% accuracy. He ranks second on the AAC leaderboard in threes-per-game and is fourth in percentage. Combo guard Grant Sherfield (9.3 ppg) has been the team’s other primary point guard while providing scoring off the bench.
  • Sophomore Dexter Dennis (6.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg) is an athletic wing and the team’s most versatile defender.
  • The Shockers are one of the league’ deepest teams in the post with 6-9 sophomore Morris Udeze (6.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg), 7-foot junior Asbjørn Midtgaard (2.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg), and 6-9 sophomore Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler (2.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg).
  • Three other true freshmen are on the roster: Forward DeAntoni Gordon and point guard Noah Fernandes have each played in 11 games and shown flashes of potential. 6-10 forward Josaphat Bilau is redshirting.

TRENDING:

  • Erik Stevenson averaged 23.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 steals in the two wins last week over ECU and Ole Miss. He joins Markis McDuffie as the only Shockers to win multiple AAC player of the week honors.
  • 15 of Stevenson’s team-high 28 steals have come over the last five games.
  • Stevenson’s 1.86 steals-per-game ranks among the top-100 nationally. He’s on pace to finish the regular season with 58 steals, which would be one of the 10-highest season totals in Shocker history.
  • On a per-40-minute basis, Jaime Echenique leads the team in plus-minus (+27.1), points (20.7), and blocks (2.2).
  • Gregg Marshall has used just 14 timeouts in 15 games. Saturday against Ole Miss marked the sixth time this season that he hasn’t burned a single timeout.
  • Tyson Etienne has recorded at least one steal in 14 of the 15 games this year, including an active streak of 10-straight. He’s on pace to break the school’s freshman record set in 2009 by Toure’ Murry.
  • Jamarius Burton has scored in double-figures in each of the last five contests. He’s scored 16 points in back-to-back games.
  • WSU’s eight-game winning streak is now its longest since joining the American Athletic Conference. The Shockers had a 16-game streak January-March, 2017.
  • The Memphis game was WSU’s fifth-straight sellout at Charles Koch arena (capacity: 10,506) and the 174th in the 16 seasons since Charles Koch Arena’s renovation. It was also be the Shockers’ 14th sellout in 20 American Athletic Conference home games.
  • A 74-54 win over Ole Miss on Jan. 4 was WSU’s 99th 20-point victory under Marshall (2007-Pr.).
  • This is WSU’s 159th week all-time in the AP Poll. Just over half of them (80) have come in the Marshall Era.
  • WSU is 82-29 in January games under Marshall (.736).
  • WSU has won the turnover battle in all but two of its 15 games this season (-4 vs. ORU & -3 vs. Oklahoma). Thursday’s win over Memphis marked the sixth time that they’ve registered 10-or-fewer turnovers.
  • No Shocker has fouled out of a game this year. Echenique was whistled for five fouls in the 2018-19 finale against Lipscomb at Madison Square Garden.

THE SERIES WITH UCONN (WSU leads 3-2):

  • The teams split two games last year with each successfully defending their home courts.
  • This is the only regular season meeting between the two schools and possibly their last as conference companions. The Huskies depart for the Big East in 2020-21.
  • WSU is 1-0 at XL Center and 0-1 at Gampel Pavilion.
  • Gregg Marshall is 1-1 against Dan Hurley.

Nov. 22, 2010 (Maui, Hawaii) | UConn 83, WSU 79
Eventual national champion UConn rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 10 minutes behind Kemba Walker’s 29 second-half points to win a Maui Invitational quarterfinal matchup. The loss may have cost the Shockers an NCAA at-large bid, but they went on to win the NIT.

Dec. 30, 2017 (Hartford) |  #8 WSU 72, UConn 62
The Shockers won their American Athletic Conference debut in front of a national network audience on CBS. Rashard Kelly posted a double-double with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 12 rebounds (six of them on the offensive glass).

Feb. 10, 2018 (Wichita) | #22 WSU 95, UConn 74
11 different Shockers scored at least three points, led by Landry Shamet’s 16. Christian Vital and Jalen Adams paced UConn with 22-each. The rest of the Huskies combined for 30. WSU hit 14-of-28 threes. Shamet was 4-for-6 and Conner Frankamp knocked down 5-of-5.

Jan. 26, 2019 (Storrs | UConn 80, WSU 60
Jamarius Burton scored 16 points, but WSU couldn’t keep pace with the hot-shooting Huskies in its first visit to Gampel Pavilion. UConn hit an even 50% from the field and knocked down 11-of-24 from three. WSU missed its first 10 field goal attempts and finished the game at 33.8% (4-of-16 from deep). Erik Stevenson added 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting in 22 minutes of work. UConn’s Christian Vital (21 points) hit four first-half treys for the host Huskies. Jalen Adams tacked on a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. UConn outrebounded the Shockers by 15 (47-32). The Huskies went up 10-0 within the first five minutes and maintained a double-figure lead the rest of the way.

Feb. 28, 2019 (Wichita, Kan.) | WSU 65, UConn 63
Samajae Haynes-Jones’ buzzer-beater led the highlight shows and gave Gregg Marshall his 300th victory as Shocker head coach. After Alterique Gibson sank back-to-back threes to tie the score, Haynes-Jones took the inbounds pass, sprinted the length of the floor and flipped up an off-balance 15-foot runner from the right baseline as time expired. Haynes-Jones finished with a game-high 20 points, and Markis McDuffie (19) and Jamarius Burton (11) joined him in double-figures. Dexter Dennis grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. Gilbert paced UConn with 18 points. WSU won despite shooting just 33.9% from the field. The Shockers trailed 27-22 at halftime.


SCOUTING UCONN:

  • Picked sixth in the preseason AAC poll, UConn (10-5, 1-2) returns four starters for its second season under head coach Dan Hurley.  
  • Hurley led a successful six-year turnaround at Rhode Island, ending with back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. His 2018 URI team won the Atlantic 10 regular season crown, and Hurley was the league’s coach of the year.
  • UConn has a pair of preseason all-conference guards in senior Christian Vital and junior Alterique Gibson.
  • Vital is the team’s leading scorer (13.5) and rebounder (6.9) and also ranks among the top-25 nationally in steals (2.40).
  • Gilbert (9.3 ppg) currently leads The American in assists (4.9) and ranks second in A:TO ratio (2.03).
  • Junior forward Josh Carlton (9.7 ppg) is the team’s second-leading rebounder at 6.5-per-game. He shared the AAC’s most improved player award last season.
  • 6-9 junior forward Tyler Polley (9.5 ppg) has knocked down a team-high 30 threes on 40.5% shooting.
  • Freshman guard James Bouknight averages 9.3 points.
  • UConn leads the nation in blocks (7.2), helped by 6-9 redshirt freshman Akok Akok who entered the weekend ranked among the top-10 individually in that category (3.07).
  • UConn has won four national titles; all in the last 21 years (1999, 2004, 2011, 2014).

MATCHUP MASHUP:

  • The 2018-19 Shockers hit rock bottom with their 80-60 loss at Gampel Pavilion last year, falling to 8-11 (1-6 AAC). Since the loss in Storrs, WSU is 28-5.The Shockers recovered to beat SMU four days later on a last-second shot and went on to win 14 of their last 18 games to finish out the season.
  • Each of the five series meeting between WSU and UConn have come in front of capacity crowds (one in Maui, one in Hartford, two in Wichita and one in Storrs).
  • The Shockers have a pair of former Connecticut prep school standouts in the back court: Tyson Etienne (Putnam Science Academy) and Noah Fernandes (Woodstock Academy). Their hometowns are both approximately 120 miles from XL Center. Fernandes is from Mattapoisett, Mass. and Etienne is from Englewood, N.J.
  • Etienne was in the stands for the 2019 WSU-UConn game in Storrs.
  • The Huskies have won seven-straight home games while splitting time between XL Center and their campus arena, Gampel Pavilion.

A SHOCKER WIN WOULD….
… make them 15-1 with nine-straight wins.
… make them 2-0 in true road games.
… give them eight-straight true road wins — tied for the third-longest streak in school history.
… make them 93-50 in Marshall Era road games.
 … up their road mark to 58-15 (.795) since 2013-14.
… make them 3-0 in American play.
… make them 4-2 all-time vs. UConn (4-1 AAC Era).
… make them 2-0 at XL Center (2-1 at UConn).
… make them 83-29 in January under Marshall.

A SHOCKER LOSS WOULD…
… drop them to 14-2 and snap an eight-game win streak.
… be their first since Nov. 27 (vs. W. Va. in Cancun).
… end their seven-game true road winning streak.
… even the all-time series with UConn at 3-3.
… snap a six-game AAC winning streak.
… be less good than a win.


UP NEXT:

  • The Shockers head straight for Philadelphia and a Wednesday date with Temple (Wednesday, 8 p.m. CT, ESPNU).
  • Wichita State’s next home action comes Saturday, Jan. 18 against Houston.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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