No. 16 Wichita State will be coming off its first loss since Nov. 27, a nine-game winning streak snapped, when the Shockers host a Houston team Saturday that has won seven of its last eight games.
The American Athletic Conference game should be a competitive one with the Shockers (15-2, 3-1 AAC)trying to correct themselves after a cold-shooting performance in the 65-53 loss at Temple on Wednesday. Houston (13-4, 3-1) is playing winning basketball with the same conference record as Wichita State.
"We were outplayed and outcoached," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said after the loss to Tempe (Houston beat the Owls at Temple 78-74 on Jan. 7).
"I hope this game doesn't define our season. We've been playing some really good basketball and tonight, for whatever reason, we didn't. We looked mentally and physically tired and I'll have to figure out why that is."
Wichita State shot 30.2 percent from the field, its lowest mark since shooting 24.2 percent in its 69-63 win over Texas Southern on Nov. 9. The Shockers also tied their season-low of three 3-pointers while shooting a season-worst 14.3 percent.
Jaime Echenique and Jamarius Burton combined for 36 points on 14 of 27 shooting, but the rest of the Shockers made 13.9 percent (5 of 36) of their shots. Echenique had a career-high 13 rebounds.
"We couldn't get anything going and we let our missed shots dictate our defense," Burton said. "Our defense is usually at a all-time high where people are communicating and flying around everywhere.
"Tonight it just wasn't like that. Part of it was on the offensive end, but good teams don't allow their offense to dictate how well they play defense and we did that tonight. We've got to get back to Wichita and watch film and learn from this."
Houston's Fabian White Jr. had 17 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season in the Cougars' 71-62 win over SMU at home on Wednesday night. He connected on 6 of 12 shots from the field and grabbed six offensive rebounds with an assist and steal.
Houston holds a 3-1 series lead against Wichita State since the Shockers joined the AAC in the 2017-18 season. The Cougars last lost to the Shockers on Jan. 4, 2018, by a score of 81-63.
White, a junior, is one of only two two-year lettermen on the roster who played in that game. Chris Harris Jr., a fifth-year senior, is the other player.
"When you have a great program, they're always going to move out and guys will move up," Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said after beating SMU. "Our goal here on day one was to build a great program, not to have a great team. A great program has great sustainability."
The Cougars have won three consecutive games against Wichita State, including a 79-70 home win on Jan. 12 of last year.
"I'm focused on Saturday," sophomore guard Nate Hinton said after producing 14 points, nine rebounds and two steals against SMU.
"I forgot everything that happened (against the Mustangs). We have to keep working and starting the game off the right way."
--Field Level Media