No. 13 Wichita State brings five-game win streak to SMU (Feb 23, 2018)
No. 13 Wichita State looks to keep its momentum and continue its charge to the top of the American Athletic Conference when it travels to Dallas on Saturday afternoon for a key game against injury-depleted SMU at Moody Coliseum.
Wichita State has won five straight games, the latest a 93-86 nail-biter over Tulane on Wednesday without the services of leading scorer Landry Shamet, who sat out because of illness.
Wichita State rolled to a 47-31 halftime lead but struggled to put away the game until the closing minutes.
"Well, we made it very interesting there in the second half," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said after the victory. "We were flat-footed in the second half and Tulane almost made us pay. We will take the win and move on, and try to get better in practice."
Morris said Wichita State did not play up to its standard, especially on defense, and lacked the proper mindset.
"It starts in practice and having our minds right coming out from the jump," Morris said. "We need to do what we do by always playing angry, defending and rebounding. That's something we all need to be a part of, and we did not execute that fully (against Tulane)."
The Mustangs (16-12, 6-9) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 77-58 win at East Carolina on Wednesday. SMU has struggled to find offensive consistency without leading scorer Shake Milton in the past five games, but that changed against the Pirates.
Jimmy Whitt (13 points), Akoy Agau (11 points) and Elijah Landrum (11 points) each scored in double figures for SMU. Landrum's 11 points marked the first time in his SMU career that he reached double digits.
"We looked against East Carolina like the way we looked before the injuries affected our team," SMU coach Tim Jankovich said. "We were great on both ends. It's been hard for us to score and we needed a boost from the offensive end; this game gave us that."
On Friday, Jankovich said Milton, who is still recovering from a third-metacarpal, non-displaced right hand fracture, will not play against Wichita State.
SMU's Jarrey Foster suffered a season-ending knee injury in the previous meeting against Wichita State. He was SMU's leading rebounder when he went down.
"What we're going through right now, I've never been tested close to this," Jankovich said of the injuries the team has suffered. "We're prideful. We want to win. We're not even remotely close to the team we were building.
"I feel for the players like you can't believe. Injuries are no one's fault. Injuries are luck.
"Our players' attitude has been great and their character has been great. Our effort has never wavered."
SMU is 80-7 at Moody Colisuem since the start of the 2013-14 season but has lost three of its last four there. Prior to that, the Mustangs had won 33 straight games at home.
Wichita State is 0-4 all time at Moody Coliseum, last visiting on Dec. 2, 1995. This will be the 11th meeting in the series between the teams, with SMU leading 6-4.