Wichita State closes out decade of dominance with win against Abilene Christian
Freshman point guard Grant Sherfield recorded a double-double to lead (rv/25) Wichita State past Abilene Christian, 84-66, Sunday afternoon at Charles Koch Arena.
WSU (11-1) closed out the most-successful decade in program history. The Shockers are 280-75 (.789) since Jan. 1, 2010. That includes a 139-15 (.903) mark at the Roundhouse.
Sherfield finished with 15 points and a season-high 11 rebounds to go with three steals. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and 2-for-2 at the foul line.
Tyson Etienne added 13 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting, Jaime Echenique tacked on 12 points with six rebounds and Jamarius Burton tallied 11 points and a team-high five assists.
Wichita native Peyton Ricks led ACU (7-6) with 19 points, five rebounds and three steals. The loss snapped the visiting Wildcats’ five-game winning streak.
The Shockers shot 50.9 percent from the field and outrebounded ACU 39-28. They held the Wildcats to 38.9 percent, including 5-of-21 from deep.
ACU entered the day leading the nation in turnover margin. WSU committed 16 but forced 18 and outscored the Wildcats 23-14 off turnovers.
Helped by Sherfield, the Shocker bench accounted for 36 points.
The teams combined for 27 free throw attempts, 27 fouls and 21 turnovers in a disjointed first half.
The Shockers led by a point, 22-21, near the 7:00-mark before taking control with a 17-2 push.
ACU went over six-and-a-half minutes without a field goal. After consecutive Echenique baskets, the Shockers drew five Wildcat fouls and converted 7-of-10 free throws over a 60-second stretch. Etienne’s four-point play gave WSU it largest lead of the half, 39-23, with 2:20 to go.
WSU led 41-29 at halftime, paced by Echenique (12 points on three dunks) and Etienne (10).
The Shockers shot 52.2 percent and knocked down 4-of-9 from deep, while holding ACU to 32.1 percent and just 1-of-11 from three.
Sherfield scored 11 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half. His deep three-pointer upped the Shocker lead to 20 for the first, 63-43 with 9:17 left.
Etienne’s no-look pass found a sprinting Morris Udeze for a transition dunk and gave the Shockers their largest lead of the afternoon, 78-51 with 5:04 remaining.
WSU won all five of its December games. It’s the program’s first unblemished month since February, 2017 and its 11th overall under Gregg Marshall.
WSU improved to 6-0 all-time against Abilene Christian. This was the first series meeting since Jan. 2, 1986.
The Shockers have won 11-straight at home.
The Shockers reached 11 wins in the non-conference for the first time since the 2013-14 season with still one more to play – next Saturday against Ole Miss.
The Shockers have out-rebounded 11 of their 12 foes this year and have held 10 of them under 40 percent from the field.
WSU has won 38-straight non-conference games at CKA going back to 2007.
The Shockers are 68-18 in December under Marshall.
Echenique has dunked at least one in all eight of his games and has a team-high 12 for the year.
With Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler out due to illness and starting four-man Trey Wade in foul trouble, true freshman DeAntoni Gordon played a season-high 22 minutes. He finished with three points, seven rebounds (four of them on the offensive end) and a block.
Wichita State rings in a new year and a new conference season on Wednesday, Jan. 1 with its American opener against East Carolina (6-7). Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.CT on ESPNU.