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Wichita State surges past the Salukis in big second half

Salukis+and+Shockers+scramble+for+the+ball+during+SIU%27s+87-68+loss+to+Wichita+State+on+Wednesday%2C+Feb.+15%2C+2017%2C+at+SIU+Arena.+%28Jacob+Wiegand+%7C+%40jawiegandphoto%29
Salukis and Shockers scramble for the ball during SIU's 87-68 loss to Wichita State on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, at SIU Arena. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Salukis and Shockers scramble for the ball during SIU's 87-68 loss to Wichita State on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, at SIU Arena. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Salukis and Shockers scramble for the ball during SIU's 87-68 loss to Wichita State on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, at SIU Arena. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

By Jonathan Thompson

SIU men’s basketball is still stuck in a rut as its losing streak extended to three Wednesday after a 87-68 loss to Wichita State.

The Shockers got off to a 4-0 to start with sophomore forward Markis McDuffie scoring the first two baskets of the game.

After the Salukis missed their first two attempts, senior guard Mike Rodriguez got SIU on the board to make the score 4-2.

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McDuffie propelled Wichita ahead by scoring seven of the team’s 14 points as the Shockers built steam over the Salukis at the 15:50 mark.

Senior guard Leo Vincent didn’t let the Salukis get too far behind, draining a 3-pointer to make the score 14-9.

Right after Vincent’s bucket, the Shockers went on a 5-0 run to put them up by 10 — their largest lead of the game.

The teams traded baskets until the 9:57 mark when SIU started a major 9-0 run, cutting Wichita’s lead to just three with 7:51 remaining.

Wichita pulled away again after a series of questionable calls.

The Shockers scored five unanswered points finished off by junior center Shaquille Morris’s dunk, making the score 28-20.

Despite the setback, SIU climbed its way back into it, cutting the lead to just two points after a parade to the free throw line.

Saluki sophomore guard Armon Fletcher attempts to maintain control of the ball from Shocker junior center Rauno Nurger and other players during SIU’s 87-68 loss to Wichita State on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, at SIU Arena. Fletcher scored eight points in the game. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

The Salukis were never able to overtake WSU in the final minutes of the first. A dunk by Morris gave the Shockers a 37-33 advantage going into the half.

Wichita scored first out of the halftime break, but Southern responded quickly with a layup by junior forward Thik Bol.

After Bol’s layup, the Shockers went on an 11-0 run, highlighted by three straight 3-pointers by junior guard Conner Frankamp, extending their lead to 15.

Coach Barry Hinson said he was disappointed in his team’s play at the start of the second quarter.

“I thought our kids played hard, but we didn’t play smart,” he said. “When you play a team that’s in the top 25, you’re under the microscope, you don’t have margin for error.”

Hinson was surprised at how close the score was despite of his team’s poor shooting and lack of rebounding.

Frankamp led the Shockers in scoring with 14 points, making all four of his 3-point attempts. WSU had five players, including Frankamp, in double figures scoring.

“The guys do a great job of finding [Frankamp] — they know he can really shoot,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. “In the first half he didn’t look good on his two jumpers … he had a big collision with Fletcher… after that at halftime he checked out okay. He came out and made three big jumpers and we were on our way.”

Husband and wife Sem Abrahams and Teresa Nash, of Livonia, Michigan, perform during halftime of the Salukis’ 87-68 loss to Wichita State on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, at SIU Arena. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

WSU was hot all game from beyond the arc, making 10 of their 16 attempts (62.5 percent).

Wichita continued to pile on the points, stretching its lead out to as much as 27.

Rodriguez said that mistakes on the defense end were the reason Wichita kept scoring.

“When one person messes up on the defensive end it messes all of us up,” he said.

SIU showed some fight and went on an 11-0 run, cutting its deficit to just 16 with 5:51 left in the game.

But it was too little too late and Wichita State stayed in control, winning 87-68.

The Salukis really struggled to shoot the ball in the game, making only 37 percent from the field and 7.7 percent from deep.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Hinson said. “I keep saying I believe in these kids’ shooting and I do. I’m going to turn into a psychologist or psychiatrist … I’m going to be both of them and I’m going to try and get in between our kids’ ears.

“Let’s get one thing straight — I still believe in these players. I still believe they can score. I’m going to continue to say that until this season is over or until I die. I hope the season is over before I die.”

Southern plays its next game at 3 p.m. on Saturday against Indiana State in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Staff writer Jonathan Thompson can be reached at jthompson@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter @TheReal_Jt3.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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