WICHITA, Kan. — Wichita State shed a tie at 59 with a 14-8 run in the final three minutes to defeat USF 73-69 in a back-and-forth game Saturday night.
Corey Walker had his first career double — 11 points, 11 rebounds — and Javon Greene and Caleb Murphy scored 15 points apiece for the Bulls (7-16, 2-9 AAC), who have lost six of their past seven.
Walker set career highs in points, rebounds and blocked shots (4) while adding a pair of steals.
USF went 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) for its best 3-point shooting of the season. The Shockers went 11-of-28 (39.3) from long range, including a pair of late 3s during their clinching run.
“I’m really proud of the effort tonight on the road — our guys spilled everything they had out on that court tonight. We just came up a little short,” said Bulls coach Brian Gregory. “That’s the toughness and intensity it takes to compete in this league. We’ve done it for three games in a row over a really tough stretch of games. There’s still just some plays we need to make and finish to be able to come out on the right side.”
USF trailed by as many as 12 points, 20-8, midway through the first half before going on a 9-0 run to close the gap. Walker sparked the run with a putback layup, DJ Patrick followed with a 3 and Murphy slashed through the lane for two straight baskets.
On the defensive end, the Bulls clawed back into the game by switching to a zone to slow Wichita State (13-9, 4-6).
Walker had seven points and seven rebounds in just nine minutes in the first half.
“Corey played with great energy; he did all the little things while he was out there. I was very pleased,” Gregory said. “The sky is the limit for him. He’s a very talented player.”
USF trailed 34-30 at halftime and saw the Shockers’ lead grow to seven in the second half. But the Bulls put together a 14-2 run, including 11 unanswered points to take its first lead.
Russel Tchewa completed a three-point play in the opening minutes of the half, and Green followed with two straight 3s. Jamir Chaplin capped the Bulls’ run with a fastbreak dunk for a 41-37 advantage. But Chaplin was injured on the play and did not return.
“We had three or four poor offensive possessions when Jamir went out,” Gregory said. “He means a lot to this team, and it’s tough to see him go down, but we have to be able to overcome that.”
After Wichita State reclaimed the lead, Tchewa made a pair of free throws to tie it at 59 with 3:24 left. The Shockers answered with 3-pointers on their next two possessions and never relinquished the lead.
Bulls notes: Walker’s 11 rebounds were a single-game high for the Bulls this season. ... Tchewa scored in double figures for the third time in four games. ... Sam Hines had a career-best five assists. ... The team’s seven 3-pointers matched the total from its previous four games combined.
Up next: USF continues its stretch of six games in 13 days with three straight home games. First up is Tulane at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Yuengling Center.
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