Tulsa, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Danny Manning's Tulsa Golden Hurricane will try to notch their first win of the season on Wednesday when they host the 14th-ranked Wichita State Shockers at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in a non- conference tilt.
Wichita State has not lost since being knocked out of the Final Four by Louisville as it has coasted to four double-digit victories to begin the 2013-14 season. Coach Gregg Marshall's Shockers downed the Tennessee State Tigers, 85-71 on Saturday in the final stage of their four-game homestand. Wichita State has outscored its opposition by an average of 22.8 points per game, while also holding a +7.2 rebounding margin.
Tulsa is winless through its first two outings after losing to Oral Roberts at home in its season opener and at Missouri State on Saturday. The two setbacks have come by a combined total of nine points. Manning's squad became one of the top defensive units in the Conference USA in his inaugural year at the helm of the program. So far in his second season, the Golden Hurricane have allowed 85 points per game, while converting 45.5 percent from beyond the arc.
This will be the 123rd meeting between these schools on the hardwood. The Shockers have won the last five encounters to take a 62-60 all-time series lead. The Golden Hurricane own a 40-140 record versus ranked opposition including a 1-7 mark in the Reynolds Center.
The Shockers have been paced by Cleanthony Early, who is netting 15.5 points and seven boards per game. Fred VanVleet is second on the squad at 12.5 ppg, while Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton are both carrying double-digit averages in points per game as well. Cotton knocked down all four of his attempts from beyond the arc en route to a career-high 18 points. Baker also had a career game with eight assists to go along with seven boards. WSU trailed by a point at the intermission before showing resilience with a strong showing in the second half to claim the 14-point decision.
Tulsa has a bright future as its key player is Shaquille Harrison, who will only get better with time. Harrison is averaging 19.5 points per game on 55.2 percent shooting from the field to begin his sophomore campaign. Fellow sophomore Rashad Smith is chipping in 19 points and 4.5 boards per outing. The second-year tandem combined for 40 points and five assists in the loss to Missouri State. Tulsa held an eight-point lead over the Bears in the first half and extended the advantage to double digits early in the second period. However, its bench was outscored 34-19 over the final 20 minutes by Missouri State's reserves, which prevented Tulsa from escaping Springfield with a .500 record.