They are from bordering states, but Wichita State and Missouri will play for just the fifth time — and second time since 1951 — as the Shockers travel to Columbia, Mo., for a Friday night contest. Missouri has won all four previous meetings, including last season’s victory in Wichita, Kan.
Wichita State (4-1) is coming off a contentious 74-73 victory over UNLV in the consolation game of the Roman Main Event in Las Vegas, Nev., on Sunday. The teams and coaches had to be separated after the midcourt handshake.
Missouri (3-2) is reeling from an 81-58 loss to Florida State Monday in the championship game of the Jacksonville Classic in Jacksonville, Fla.
Tyson Etienne scored 23 of his game-high 28 points in the second half vs. UNLV to help Wichita State overcome an 11-point second-half deficit. Etienne hit five 3-pointers in the second half, including four in the final 6:31. His two free throws with three seconds left earned the victory.
Following the game, television cameras caught assistant coaches from both teams shouting at each other.
“No, I didn’t (want the game to end that way) and I’m sorry that it happened,” Wichita State coach Isaac Brown said after the game. “I was going in there trying to break them up. I was telling both sides, ‘Let’s handle this the classy way.’
“Both of us were to blame. I’m just glad nothing happened and everybody got separated. Those kids wanted to win. We wanted to win. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, it’s hard to control your emotions. But nothing happened. It got broke up. We’re all good.”
Missouri has not been “all good” so far this season. An embarrassing 80-68 loss to in-state rival Kansas City may have been the worst, but the blowout loss to Florida State also wasn’t pretty.
“You have to give credit to their defense,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. “They force you to make some one-on-one plays. We had some opportunities in the paint that I thought we didn’t capitalize on.”
The Tigers are paced by Kobe Brown (16 ppg, 7.2 rpg), who scored 13 against the Seminoles.
Last year’s 72-62 Mizzou victory was keyed by defense. The Tigers smothered Wichita State defensively, holding the Shockers to 33 percent shooting from the floor and 28 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Wichita State managed just six fastbreak points.