Shockers head to Houston Saturday

Dec, 15, 2018; Wichita, Kansas, USA; Wichita State battled the Southern Miss Eagles at Intrust Bank Arena ©Kelly Ross


Wichita State looks to end No. 17/15 Houston’s nation-best 28-game home winning streak Saturday night at the Fertitta Center. The 7 p.m. CT tip airs on CBSSN.

This will be their only regular season meeting in 2018-19. WSU leads the all-time series 17-11 but is just 3-8 in Houston. The Shockers' last game on the UH campus came 59 years ago at the old Jeppesen Fieldhouse.

Houston took two of three matchups last year. The Shockers won 81-63 at Charles Koch Arena on Jan. 4, 2018… 16 days later, UH snapped the seventh-ranked Shockers’ 11-game road winning streak, 73-59, at H&PE Arena. WSU set season-lows for points and field goal percentage (.328)… Behind 33 points from Rob Gray, No. 21 Houston downed No. 11 WSU, 77-74, in the AAC Semifinals.

Houston took its first loss of the season Wednesday night at Temple but is 13-0 at home this year and 9-0 at the newly-renovated Fertitta Center, which made its debut on Dec. 1. UH played at Texas Southern’s H&PE Arena during construction.

The Cougars own the nation’s longest home winning streak (28). Their last home loss came in the 2017 NIT at H&PE Arena. Last February, the Shockers ended Cincinnati's nation-best 39-game home court winning streak.

Despite an 0-3 mark in 2018-19, WSU has still been the decade's top road team. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, WSU leads the nation in true road wins (75) and percentage (.798).

WSU is 14-18 against AP Top-25 teams under Gregg Marshall. That includes a 3-5 mark in true road games. Two of those wins came last season: at No. 5 Cincinnati and at No. 16 Baylor.

Saturday’s game is just the third in 21 days, thanks to 12-day holiday break and now a mid-week bye. WSU has been idle since last Sunday's 85-81 overtime loss to Temple. Markis McDuffie (24) and Samajae Haynes-Jones (21) both topped 20-points. WSU led by 13 at half and 74-63 with 3:30 to play, but Temple scored the final 11 points in regulation. WSU committed four of its season-high 21 turnovers in the extra period.

The Shockers last tasted victory 24 days ago (Dec. 19 vs. ORU). The current three-game losing streak is the program’s longest since November, 2015... WSU is trying to avoid its first four-game skid since January, 2009. The 2008-09 group, which also leaned heavily on newcomers, started 6-11 and dropped its first six MVC games but then won nine of the next 12 on the way to a CBI bid.

McDuffie is The American's leading scorer at 19.1 points. He's scored in double-figures in each of the last 13 games and has topped 20 points on five occasions this year.

Whether you favor RPI (27th), NET (34th) or KenPom (55th), the youthful Shockers have played one of D-I's strongest schedules. Saturday kicks off a stretch of three-straight against the league’s preseason top-3: @Houston, UCF, CINCINNATI. All three teams rank among the nation’s top-30 in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense.