WICHITA - Ricky Council IV scored a career-high 31 points and well-rested Wichita State bested UCF, 84-79, Wednesday evening at Charles Koch Arena.
Back in action for the first time in 10 days (health and safety protocol), the Shockers (10-7, 1-4) snapped a rare four-game losing streak and picked up their first conference win.
Council made 6-of-10 field goal attempts and went 16-of-20 at the foul line in WSU’s first 30-point effort since Mar. 15, 2019 when Markis McDuffie scored 34 in an AAC quarterfinal win over Temple.
Only Cleo Littleton (22-of-25 in a 1955 win over Houston) and Dave Stallworth (18-of-23 in a 1963 win over Cincinnati) have made or attempted more free throws in a single-game.
Morris Udeze added 16 points and Dexter Dennis paired 13 points with a team-high six rebounds.
Brandon Mahan put up 20 points and 13 rebounds for UCF (12-6, 4-4), which fell to 0-8 against the Shockers (0-5 at Charles Koch Arena).
WSU shot exactly 40 percent from the field and made 9-of-23 threes (.391). UCF fared slightly better at 40.6 percent and made 10-of-26 from distance (.385).
Council’s free points were the difference. The Shockers made 31-of-40 free throw tries to UCF’s 17-of-23.
WSU led by 16 points (23-6) midway through the first half, helped by UCF’s 1-of-15 shooting start.
The Knights battled to within 38-31 at halftime and to within three points at the 12:25-mark of the second half on a Darius Johnson three-pointer.
Council scored 22 points over the final 10:51 to keep UCF at bay. He was 5-of-7 from the field over that stretch with 10 free throw makes.
Council sank a pair with 1:08 to go (at which point he was a perfect 14-for-14 at the foul line) to make it a 77-65 game before missing 4-of-6 in the final minute.
UCF performed cometic surgery on the lead with 14 points in the final 63 seconds to spoil an otherwise excellent defensive effort.
WSU is in New Orleans on Saturday morning to take on Tulane. The 11 a.m. CT tip airs on ESPNU.