WICHITA STATE (7-7, 0-2) at 17/15 HOUSTON (15-1, 2-1)
Saturday at 7:05 p.m. CT in Houston, Texas (Fertitta Center).
Watch the game on CBS Sports Network with Carter Blackburn and Pete Gillen.
Listen online at GoShockers.com/Listen. Mike Kennedy, now in his 39th season as “Voice of the Shockers,” and Bob Hull tip things off at 6 p.m. with the INTRUST Bank Pregame Show.
Join Kennedy on Monday nights for the Gregg Marshall Radio Show LIVE from 6-7 p.m. at AJ’s Sports Grill at The Alley. Listen in on KFH (98.7 FM / 1330 AM). The show is also rebroadcast in a television format Mondays at 9 p.m. on YurView Kansas (Cox 2022) and online at YurView.com/Kansas.
- 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.
- Markis McDuffie entered the weekend atop the AAC leaderboard and No. 61 nationally in scoring (19.1).
- It’s been 19 years since a Shocker last won a conference scoring crown. Jason Perez averaged an MVC-best 20.2 points in 2000.
American Athletic Conference Scoring Leaders (as of 1/11/19):
19.1 – Markis McDuffie (Wichita St.)
18.9 – Shizz Alston Jr. (Temple)
18.7 – Jahmal McMurray (SMU)
18.3 – Jayden Gardner (ECU)
17.6 – B.J. Tayor (UCF)
- McDuffie’s run of 13-straight double-figure scoring games is tied for the third-longest of the Marshall Era. Only Cleanthony Early (19 in 2013-14) and Ron Baker (14 in 2015-16) have put together longer streaks.
Consecutive Games with 10+ Points (Marshall Era, 2007-Pr.)
19 – Cleanthony Early (2013-14)
14 – Ron Baker (2015-16)
13 – Markis McDuffie (2018-19)
13 – Cleanthony Early (2012-13)
12 – Ron Baker (2014-15)
12 – Ron Bakr (2014-15)
12 – Fred VanVleet (2014-15)
* = Streak began the previous year
OTHER SHOCKERS ON THE LEADERBOARDS (as of Jan. 10)
- Ricky Torres is one of just eight AAC players who are averaging 3.0+ assists with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.00-or-higher. Torres’ 5.5 assists-per-game in conference games is tied for the league lead.
- Jaime Echenique ranks among conference’s top-10 in blocks (7th, 1.1) and field goal percentage 4th, .591).
NO TIME TO SIT AROUND
- Markis McDuffie never sat in Sunday’s overtime loss to Temple, playing all 45 minutes. That marked the first time in 23 years that a Shocker has played wire-to-wire.
- Melvin McKey clocked 40 minutes in three-straight games during the 1995-96 season – the last in a Feb. 22, 1996 win over Missouri State.
- McDuffie is the first Shocker since L.D. Swanson to play the entirety of an overtime game. Swanson did it back-to-back nights in the 1994 Cessna Classic at Levitt Arena. Swanson gets bonus points for game-winning buzzer beaters in each of those contests: Dec. 29, 1994 (vs. Gonzaga) and Dec. 30, 1994 (vs. The Citadel).
- McDuffie has been an iron-man for the Shockers this year, playing at least 30 minutes in 11 of the 14 games.
- Just 12 players have averaged 30+ minutes for Gregg Marshall at WSU. All of them were listed as guards. F/C Carl Hall averaged 28.6 minutes in 2012-13.
- McDuffie was on the court for 83 of a possible 85 minutes in the first two conference games. He’s played 57-straight minutes going back to the Memphis game.
- Fellow senior Samajae Haynes-Jones played 43 minutes against Temple and has logged 80 of a possible 85 in conference play.
- What a difference a year has made for Haynes-Jones. The Hutchinson Community College product saw limited action in 2017-18 behind the NBA-bound Landry Shamet, appearing in just one game after Feb. 10. This year Haynes-Jones (13.0 ppg) is averaging a team-high 32.2 minutes per contest.
LEANING ON THE VETS
- McDuffie and Haynes-Jones took over 53% of the shots and supplied 52% of the scoring last week in losses to Memphis and Temple.
- For the season, the duo has taken 45.2% of field goal attempts, which would be the highest ratio ever for a Marshall Era team. Next highest? All-Americans Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet combined for 38% of the shots during the 2014-15 season.
- Haynes-Jones is averaging 6.57 three-point attempts per game, closely followed by McDuffie’s 6.29. Those would be the second and third-highest in Shocker history, trailing only Terrell Benton (6.61 in 2000-01).
3-Point Field Goal Attempts Per Game (All-Time)
- Terrell Benton (2000-01) – 6.61
Samajae Haynes-Jones (2018-19) – 6.57
Markis McDuffie (2018-19) – 6.29
- Matt Braeuer (2007-08) – 6.00
- Ron Baker (2014-15) – 5.97
- Chad Elstun (1992-93) – 5.96
- Landry Shamet (2017-18) – 5.94
OUT OF HIBERNATION
- Injuries to Jaime Echenique and Morris Udeze provided big man Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler with an opportunity last week, and the 6-foot-9 freshman made the most of it, averaging 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22.5 minutes. He had totaled just nine points and 61 minutes all season prior to that.
- Poor Bear-Chandler’s development is good news for the Shockers. He’s perhaps the most-versatile big man on the roster — with the ability to play both the power forward and center positions — but needed time to adapt to Marshall’s system and the speed of D-I hoops.
- Poor Bear-Chandler’s .714 field goal percentage (10-of-14) in conference play trails only UCF’s Tacko Fall.
FRONT-LOADED WITH FRONT-RUNNERS
- Tabbed eighth in the preseason poll, the rebuilding Shockers play their first five American Athletic Conference games against teams picked to finish in the upper-half: @Memphis (4th), TEMPLE (6th), @Houston (3rd), UCF (1st), CINCINNATI (2nd).
- The schedule eases a bit after Jan. 19 with five of the next six against teams picked seventh-or-lower: @USF (12th), @UConn (5th), SMU (7th), TULSA (9th), @ECU (11th), TULANE (10th).
- Dexter Dennis returned to action Jan. 3. He sustained a concussion in the second half of the Dec. 15 Southern Miss game and missed the next two contests against Oral Roberts (Dec. 19) and VCU (Dec. 22) while advancing through concussion protocol.
- Dennis has been a far more productive player since his return. In two games last week he averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 rebounds on 50% shooting. Sunday against Temple he dished out a season-high four assists.
- Marshall attributes the change to a more aggressive approach. On offense, Dennis is attacking the rim and crashing the boards (he had four offensive rebounds last week) with far greater confidence.
- Dennis is the Shockers best raw-athlete. His highlight reel plays — a common theme in practice — are beginning to show up in games. Last week at Memphis, Dennis finally recorded his first collegiate dunk, driving baseline, through contact, for a ferocious slam.
- Eight Shockers have taken a turn as leading rebounder over the past eight games.
- WSU is shooting a league-best .826 from the foul line in conference play but has averaged a league-low 11.5 attempts.
- WSU has a great tradition of hard-nosed guards who aren’t afraid to go after rebounds, and 6-foot-3 freshman Erik Stevenson fits right in. He’s grabbing 4.6 rebounds-per-game. Under Marshall, only one Shocker guard has averaged more boards over a full season: Ron Baker finished his senior year (2015-16) at 4.8.
- Sunday’s loss to Temple marked just the third time in the last three years that WSU has lost when outshooting its opponent. The Shockers are 56-3 (6-1 in ’18-19) when finishing with a higher field goal percentage, compared to 7-16 (1-6 in ’18-19) when outshot.
- The Shockers have shot less than 40% from the field in eight of their 14 games this year. That happened on just two occasions all of last season.
- The Shockers had opened league play at 4-0 or better in each of the six previous seasons. Last year’s group started 5-0 with road wins at UConn, ECU and Tulsa and home victories against Houston and USF.
- Marshall has used five different starting-fives. The most frequently-tapped has been Torres/Haynes-Jones/Dennis/McDuffie/Echenique. That group has started each of the last two games and is 2-3 for the year.
- Haynes-Jones and McDuffie have started all 14 contests. Jaime Echenique (13-straight starts) came off the bench in the opener. Ricky Torres has started the last nine.
THE SERIES vs. HOUSTON
- WSU leads 17-11 all-time with wins in 10 of the last 15 meetings. Houston took two of the three last year.
- Home teams have dominated the series. The Shockers are 12-2 in Wichita (with the only losses coming by a single-point). The Cougars are 8-3 in Houston. On neutral floors — WSU won twice in Oklahoma City All-College Classic matchups. UH won a semifinal battle in the 2018 AAC Tournament.
- Houston played home contests at Texas Southern’s H&PE Arena in 2017-18 (going 15-0) and for the first four games of the 2018-19 season while its campus arena underwent a $60 million renovation. It reopened Dec. 1 at the Feritta Center.
- WSU never played at the old Hofheinz pavilion. Last year’s trip to Houston was its first since Jan. 2, 1960 when the Cougars still played at Jeppesen Fieldhouse.
- The move to The American reunited WSU with a handful of old Missouri Valley Conference rivals, including Houston, which was a member for 10 seasons (1950-60). The Shockers won 14 of the 21 conference meetings between the programs.
- WSU All-American Cleo Littleton topped 30-points on nine occasions during his standout career. Three of them came against Houston.
- Following UH’s exit from the MVC, the teams played just three more times over a span of 58 years.
- The 18th-ranked Shocker won the 1960 All-College Classic in Oklahoma City, defeating Houston in the quarterfinal round.
- Behind Byron Smith’s 29 points, UH downed WSU 67-66 in the 1989 preseason NIT at Henry Levitt Arena.
- WSU ended a 16-year postseason victory drought in the play-in round of the 2005 NIT, defeating Houston 85-69, helped by 21 points from Jamar Howard.
- Houston (27-8, 14-14 AAC last year) tied for second-place with WSU in the regular season but defeated the Shockers in the conference semifinals. UH fell to Cincinnati in the title game but earned the program’s first NCAA bid since 2010 and just its second since 1992. Seeded sixth, UH defeated San Diego State in the first round for its first NCAA win since 1984. Two days later, the Cougars fell to eventual runner-up Michigan on a half-court buzzer beater.
- Starters Rob Gray (23.0 ppg in three meetings with WSU last year) and Devin Davis are gone, but others have merged. UH won its first 15 games before falling to Temple on Wednesday night.
- Houston’s defense is one of the nation’s stingiest. The Cougars allow just 60.1 points per game and rank No. 2 nationally in field goal percentage defense (.363). Opponents are shooting just 26.5% from three.
- Houston leads the league in three-pointers per game (9.1).
- A trio of Cougars are averaging over 31 minutes: Corey Davis Jr. is the team’s leading scorer (15.5 ppg) and has been the conference’s most-accurate free throw shooter (38-of-40, .950)… Armoni Brooks (14.9 ppg) is the team’s top-rebounder (7.3) and is shooting just under 40% from deep on 9.1 attempts per game… Galen Robinson Jr. (9.1 ppg) averages a team-best 5.5 assists.
- Braeon Brady’s .641 field goal percentage is second only to UCF’s Tacko Fall (.800).
- Gregg Marshall (487) and Kelvin Sampson (598) have combined for 1,085 career wins. Marshall is 1-3 against Sampson (1-2 in the AAC Era). In 2000, Sampson (then head coach Oklahoma) led his third-seeded Sooners past Marshall’s 14th seeded Winthrop Eagles, 74-50, in a first round NCAA Tournament matchup/
- WSU and Houston (along with Cincinnati) carried the banner for The American last year. All three made the NCAA Tournament and finished with national rankings.
- Beginning Saturday, WSU will face three of the nation’s best defenses over a span of eight days: Houston (.363), UCF (.380) and Cincinnati (.393) are all holding opponents under 40% for the year.
- Houston’s 28-game home winning streak is one of several lengthy streaks for American schools over the past few years. While in the MVC, WSU strung together 40-straight home wins from 2013-16. Temple wrecked SMU’s 33-game run last January. A month later, WSU put a stop to Cincinnati’s 39-game streak.
- WSU Freshman center Morris Udeze was born and raised in Houston and is a graduate of Fort Bend Travis High School. He came to WSU after a prep season at Montverde Academy in Orlando, Fla.
- WSU has had at least one Houston-area native on the roster in every season since 2001-02. That run began with 1,600-point scorer Randy Burns (out of Booker T. Washington HS). P.J.Couisnard and Karon Bradley were key contributors on the Shockers’ 2006 Sweet 16 team. One of Marshall’s first WSU recruits, Toure’ Murry (Klein Forrest HS) finished with 1,539 points from 2008-12 and went on to play parts of the two NBA seasons.
- Four of the league’s top three-point bombers share the floor Saturday. WSU’s Markis McDuffie (2.4 threes-per-game) and Samajae Haynes-Jones (2.3) rank seventh and eighth respectively on the league leaderboard. Houston’s Armoni Brooks (3.4) and Corey Davis Jr. (2.8) rank second and fourth.
- McDuffie is the only Shocker who saw significant action last year against Houston. He averaged 16.0 minutes off the bench and put up 8.7 points. Haynes-Jones appeared twice and totaled one point in 20 minutes. He was 0-for-5 from the field. Center Asbjørn Midtgaard played four minutes in Wichita but did not see action in either of the next two meetings.
- UH held the Shockers to a combined 39.5% from the field in three meetings last year. WSU shot 48.4% in its other 30 games.
- Davis Jr. averaged 16.0 points in 32.0 minutes over three games against WSU.
- Houston was one of just two teams that outrebounded the Shockers last year (36-35 in Wichita). WSU was +11 on the glass in the rematch at Houston and +4 in Orlando.
- This is WSU’s second go-around in The American, but there will still be plenty of unfamiliarity. Five of the nine conference road venues will be first-time visits for Shocker teams since joining the league.
- Cincinnati and Houston debut newly-renovated buildings in 2018-19 (Fifth Third Arena and the Fertitta Center).
- WSU did not play at USF or Tulane in 2017-18 due to the unbalanced league schedule.
- On Jan. 26, the Shockers trek to UConn’s Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn. Last year the teams played in Hartford at the XL Center.
A SHOCKER WIN WOULD…
… improve their record to 8-7 (1-2 in conference play)
… snap a three-game losing streak.
… end the nation’s longest home winning streak.
… give them an 18-11 lead all-time vs. UH.
… make them 4-8 in Houston.
… be their 50th true road win in six seasons (50-11).
… make them 76-19 on the road since 2010-11.
… move Marshall to within 12 wins of 500 for his career (488-188) and within six victories of 300 as Shocker head coach (294-105).
A SHOCKER LOSS WOULD…
… drop them under .500 at 7-8 (0-3 AAC).
… give four-straight losses and an 0-3 conference start for the first time since January, 2009.
… shrink their series lead with UH to 17-12.
… make them 3-9 all-time in Houston.
… sink their road record to 0-4 (after a 49-8 run over the five previous years).
… extend Houston’s nation-best home streak to 29.
… be less good than a win.
- The Shockers play their next two at home, beginning Thursday night against UCF (9 p.m. CT, CBSSN).
- WSU swept both games last year against UCF, winning by 18 in Wichita (Jan. 25, 2018) and in overtime in Orlando (Mar. 1). In the latter, the Knights’ A.J. Davis banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game.
- Cincinnati comes to town Saturday, Jan. 19 for a 1 p.m. tip on CBS. The teams split two games last year with each winning on the other’s home floor. The Bearcats win in Wichita (on the final day of the regular season) denied the Shockers a share of The American’s regular season title..