WICHITA, Kan. (WSU release) Wichita State takes a season-best four-game winning streak into Sunday afternoon’s American Athletic Conference road matchup against the Cincinnati Bearcats at FifthThird Arena.
Cincinnati leads the all-time series 20-12 (11-4 in home games). Sunday marks the first time WSU has played on the UC campus since 1970 (at Armory Fieldhouse in UC’s last year in the Missouri Valley Conference). The teams played a non-conference tilt at Riverfront Coliseum (now U.S. Bank Arena) in 1977. Last year’s game took place across the river at No. Kentucky’s BB&T Arena.
FifthThird Arena is back in use this year, following an $87 million renovation. The Bearcats dropped their opener to Ohio State but have since won 13-straight. UC is 30-1 in conference home games since Jan. 1, 2016. The only loss in that span came against the Shockers.
On Feb. 18, 2018, then-No. 19 WSU ended No. 5 Cincinnati’s nation-best 39-game home winning streak (76-72).
Cincinnati won in Wichita back on Jan. 19, 66-55, behind 18 points from Jarron Cumberland. Markis McDuffie supplied 21 points for the Shockers, who led 46-45 with 7:06 to go. UC outscored WSU 35-7 at the free throw line, including a 15-1 edge over the final seven minutes.
Neither side has seen action since last weekend. Sunday’s loss at co-leader Houston snapped UC's eight-game winning streak and knocked the Bearcats out of first place and out of the top-25.
Last Saturday, the Shockers downed Tulane, 77-62, to improve to 5-6 after a 1-6 start to league play. McDuffie led the way with 25 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting. Erik Stevenson (13) and Samajae Haynes-Jones (12) also reached double-digits. WSU was plus-eight in turnovers, commiting just nine.
WSU's McDuffie (18.9) and UC's Cumberland (19.0) are the AAC's top-two scorers, separated by less than five-hundredths of a point.
McDuffie has topped 20-points on 10 occasions this year -- tied with 2014 All-American Cleanthony Early for the Marshall Era record. He's scored at least eight points in every game this year. McDuffie needs just four more rebounds to become the eighth player in Shocker history with 100 steals and 500 career boards.
The Shockers are 5-1 in conference games when banking more assists than turnovers but 0-5 when turnovers outnumber assists. Over the last four games, they've posted a 58:35 ratio (1.66).
Already WSU's all-time wins leader, 12th year head coach Gregg Marshall needs just two more to reach 300. He's nine wins shy of the 500-mark for his career.
Jamarius Burton (team-high 2.8 assists) is in line to be WSU's first true freshman assist leader in 32 years.
6-11 Jaime Echenique has blocked a shot in eight-straight games and ranks fourth on the league leaderboard (34). He's averaging a team-high 5.7 rebounds.