The Tigers dropped their second game in a row after losing to the visiting Shockers 61-55 on Friday night. 

WSU star Tyson Etienne led the game with 18 points, with 13 of the points coming in the second half.

“Etienne made some tough plays, tough shots down the stretch,” MU coach Cuonzo Martin said.

Amari Davis led Missouri with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Jarron Coleman had 10 points, and no other Tiger scored in double digits. As a team, Missouri shot 34.8% from the floor and collected 12 turnovers (eight in the second half).

“We have to continue to improve on those layups at the rim and even those open 3s,” Martin said.

A hot start from the Shockers (5-1) forced the Tigers to play from behind the entire opening half. However, MU caught its footing defensively, forcing Wichita State to nine turnovers and missing eight of its last 10 shots to end the half, limiting the deficit to three points.

It was the effort from coach Cuonzo Martin's team that gave them energy.

Javon Pickett finished through contact for the and-1, Ronnie DeGray III dived out of bounds to save the ball and Yaya Keita got a key block at the rim. These were the type of hustle plays in the first half that kept a student-less Mizzou Arena engaged throughout the first half.

“Our goal is play fast, make or miss, so if we get a turnover, that's the best way for us to play, we definitely have do better converting those into points,” Coleman said.

But as the Tiger offense got silent, so did the Missouri faithful. An inability to string together a good series of offensive possessions gave the home crowd little to cheer for.

“We just got to keep shooting, trust other guys to make shots and make plays for others,” Coleman said.

Missouri (3-3) kept the Shockers within striking distance for the first 28 minutes of the game but was never able to get over the hump to gain a lead. A scoreless drought of over five minutes allowed a sluggish WSU team gain an 11-point lead with eight minutes to play. 

“It definitely puts us in a hole to dig ourselves out of,” Coleman said.

A pair of back-to-back 3s from Davis and Coleman brought Missouri back within eight, but the Shockers shut the door on any comeback effort, not letting the Tigers get any closer than that until the closing moments of the game. The pair of 3s were the only shots MU made behind the arc, shooting 2 of 18 (11.1%).

“Most cases they were open 3s tonight,” Martin said. “They just didn’t fall tonight.”

The low-scoring affair was to be expected considering both teams hold opponents to less than 69 points on average. Both teams had a combined 30 turnovers.

In the fifth installment between the two schools, Wichita State earned its first victory over Missouri. The win avenged last year’s 10-point defeat in Wichita against the Tigers.

“There are still a couple things we still need to work on,” Davis said. “We’re family, we play together, we play for each other. We were just saying in the locker room that we need to put two halves together.”

  • Sports beat writer for the 2021-22 academic school year, majoring in Print & Digital News. You can reach me at mattbrolley5@gmail.com, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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