TULSA, Okla. — Maybe there’s some truth to the perceived magic of the yellow uniforms, which Wichita State wore each time during its season-best four-game winning streak.
Or, if you prefer a more rational take, the confidence built during that winning streak was not deterred by a road loss to Cincinnati and the Shockers are once again playing their best basketball in the months that matter most.
WSU is trending upward after it demolished Tulsa 81-60 on Wednesday at the Reynolds Center, where the Golden Hurricane was previously 12-2 and had beaten the likes of Kansas State and Temple. Winners of five of their last six, the Shockers improved to 13-12, and 6-7 in American Athletic Conference play behind a road performance that was unrecognizable compared to their previous eight road games.
The Shockers entered Wednesday averaging 59.3 points on 34.9-percent shooting from the field and 25.6-percent shooting on three-pointers with a 1-7 record in road games. Not that you would have ever guessed it watching WSU scorch the nets against a usually-stingy defense for a season-best performance on the road with 47.6-percent shooting and a season-high 15 threes on 45.5-percent accuracy.
Freshman Dexter Dennis stroked in a career-high five three-pointers and led WSU with 18 points and eight rebounds. Samajae Haynes-Jones followed with 17 points, including five three-pointers, Jaime Echenique scored 14 points, Erik Stevenson added 11 points and seven rebounds and Jamarius Burton and Ricky Torres combined for 17 of WSU’s season-best 24 assists.
WSU scored a robust 1.17 points per possession, which easily surpassed the most efficient performance by an opponent on Tulsa’s home court (previous high was 1.09 ppp). Not only did WSU shoot well, it also limited its turnovers to eight.
It wasn’t a flawless performance — WSU did allow 19 offensive rebounds — but Tulsa’s lackadaisical play was nowhere near capable of making the Shockers pay. Tulsa scored just 13 second-chance points, and shot a season-worst 30.2 percent from the floor.
The Shockers buried Tulsa in a three-point barrage in the second half, as WSU turned a 12-point lead into a 21-point lead in less than three minutes after Stevenson, Echenique and Haynes-Jones made four straight three-pointers to give WSU a 69-48 lead.
The Golden Hurricane had lost just twice previously on their home court, and those came to AAC title contenders in Cincinnati and Houston. And both of those games were relatively close, not like Wednesday when the Shockers led for 37 of the 40 minutes.