No. 7 Wichita State looks to extend home win streak vs. SMU
SMU, the defending American Athletic Conference champion, looked like it was poised to make another run, but has suddenly hit the skids and now faces a road test at No. 7 Wichita State on Wednesday at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan.
The Mustangs (12-6, 2-3 AAC) are coming off a stunning 66-64 loss at home to Temple last Wednesday. The Owls had lost five in a row and were winless in AAC play, but came up with a game-winning shot with 1.5 seconds remaining to end the Mustangs’ 33-game home winning streak.
“What we talked about is how you handle when things go not the way you hope in life and in basketball and how do you respond to that,” SMU coach Tim Jankovich told DallasNews.com on Saturday. “That’s the message. We talked about character, what people of high character do. We had a great practice. Their attitudes are great.”
After getting off to a 12-3 start that included wins over No. 14 Arizona and USC, SMU has now lost three straight and faces a daunting task with Wednesday’s trip to Wichita State.
The Shockers (15-2, 5-0 AAC) are off and running in their first season in the AAC. They’ve bounced back from a loss to No. 4 Oklahoma with seven straight wins, including a hard-fought 72-69 road victory over Tulsa on Saturday. Landry Shamet and Conner Frankamp each scored 16 points in the win.
Wichita State has won 27 straight games and 67 of their last 68 at Charles Koch Arena, but Shockers coach Gregg Marshall is wary of what the Mustangs bring to the table.
“I don’t know what is going on in their locker room or in their practices, I just know they are a very talented team,” Marshall said of the Mustangs this week. “They are a well-coached team. Tim does a great job. They had the nation’s longest win streak at home snapped just recently by a very good Temple team that played very well that night. … I just watched the individual players, and (SMU) has tremendous talent. I know that they will be a handful.”
Despite the recent slide, the Mustangs have been stellar on the defensive end of the court. They are allowing opponents 61.1 points per game, the sixth-best scoring defense nationally. They’re also balanced on offense, with five players averaging double figures in points. Shake Milton leads the team at 17.4 points per game.
“We’ve got to defend one-on-one, for sure,” Marshall said. “We’ve got to communicate well and be in the gaps. ‘Guard your yard.’ Contest all shots — they can really make shots — and hopefully limit them to one (shot), rebound it and head the other way.”
Shamet leads the Shockers in points (15.8) and assists (5.0).
Wichita State joined the AAC this season after 72 years in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Shockers were picked as co-favorites in the AAC, along with Cincinnati. Wichita State and Cincinnati will face each other twice in the final three weeks of the season.