No. 5 Wichita State faces struggling Tulsa
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Tulsa suffered a blowout loss to Houston on Thursday that left coach Frank Haith disgusted. The Golden Hurricane have a chance to help their coach get that taste out of his mouth Saturday night, when No. 5 Wichita State visits for an American Athletic Conference tilt at Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.
The Shockers (14-2, 4-0 AAC) have won six in a row and own the nation's longest road winning streak at 10.
Tulsa (10-7, 3-2 AAC) has dropped two straight, including the 104-71 drubbing they suffered at Houston.
"It's as tough a loss as I've been around in my whole career," Haith said on postgame radio, according to the Tulsa World. "I've never been part of a team that gave up 100 points. Our defense was absolutely pathetic, just very bad. I'm very disappointed."
The Golden Hurricane gave up 18 3-pointers, the most ever in an American Athletic Conference game, and looked deflated down the stretch.
"We didn't have any kind of fight or resolve with our team, and as a coaching staff we've got to figure this thing out," Haith added. "We've got to get better."
Wichita State arrives playing some of its best basketball of the season. The Shockers ripped through South Florida and East Carolina, beating the two teams near the bottom of the AAC standings by an average of 31.5 points.
Wichita State had 38 field goals off of 32 assists in Thursday's 95-60 rout of East Carolina.
The Shockers shot 70 percent from the floor and scored 50 points in the paint. Rauno Nurger had 14 points, and standout point guard Landry Shamet finished with 11 points and 11 assists for his first double-double of the season.
The 32 assists were the most ever in coach Gregg Marshall's tenure.
"That's a big-time number," Marshall said after the game. "It means we're very, very unselfish. When you can have 32 assists and 11 turnovers . . . that's pretty special."
The return of versatile junior forward Markis McDuffie from a foot injury has fueled the Shockers' surge. McDuffie, the team's leading scorer and rebounder last season, missed the first 11 games, but is rounding into form and contributing off the bench.
McDuffie had 12 points in 20 minutes against East Carolina, his third straight game with double figures in points. Marshall said there is no minutes restrictions on McDuffie at this point.
"It's just a matter of how well he plays," Marshall said. "He's such a dynamic talent with the ability to shoot the ball, drive the ball, rebound it ... And to be able to bring him off the bench and give us 20 very fresh and vibrant minutes is very, very good."
Senior forward Junior Etou leads the Golden Hurricane in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.2 points and 6.9 boards per game. Etou struggled against Houston, though, going 0 of 6 from the floor and finishing with just two points.
With Etou experiencing an off night, forward Martins Igbanu stepped up and scored a career-high 27 points against Houston.
Tulsa and Wichita State, who were rivals in the Missouri Valley Conference, have met in each of the past seven seasons. The Shockers won six of those games, including 80-53 at home last season.
Updated January 12, 2018