Wichita State hangs on for 76-73 win over Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Wichita State’s Daishon Smith went up, then went up some more before uncorking a powerful dunk that gave the Shockers momentum against Oklahoma.
The 6-foot-1 Smith’s jam over 6-7 Kristian Doolittle gave the Shockers a 55-50 lead with 8:28 remaining and provided the spark the Shockers needed to hold on for a 76-73 win Saturday afternoon in the All-College Classic.
“He just got up so high, and bam,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. “He threw it down. Those are things that I’m not accustomed to. I don’t know the degree of difficulty that had, but it looked like a pretty impressive play by a young man who’s just starting to feel how good he can be and understand the impact he can have on our team and our season.”
Smith finished with 13 points after going scoreless in the first half, and was named outstanding player. Zach Brown scored 17 points and Darral Willis added 12 for the Shockers (9-2), who won their fourth straight.
Wichita State shot just 39.7 percent from the field, but the Shockers made up for it by holding Oklahoma to 30.8 percent shooting.
Jordan Woodard matched a career high with 28 points, Christian James scored 15 and Rashard Odomes added 10 for the Sooners (6-3).
“A tough ballgame,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “I thought both clubs fought like crazy for 40 minutes.”
Woodard made a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left to cut the Shockers’ lead to a point, but Brown made two free throws at the other end to seal the win.
Wichita State’s margin would have been larger, but the Sooners outscored the Shockers 27-17 from the free-throw line. Oklahoma made 14 free throws in the first half to take a 39-37 lead at the break.
“I thought, to be down two points, as poorly as we played in the first half — this is very winnable,” Marshall said. “We just need to go out and take it to them. Don’t be afraid. Don’t play on your heels. Play with swagger. Play with determination and toughness. I thought we were better at that in the second half.”
Wichita State: The Shockers had already lost to Louisville and Michigan State, so beating Oklahoma, even without last year’s firepower, is significant.
“I think this will be an NCAA Tournament team,” Marshall said of Oklahoma. “When you see these guys on film, you’re like, ‘Man, there’s so much young talent. But it’s young talent.’”
Oklahoma: The Sooners needed a good non-conference win after losing to Wisconsin on Dec. 3. They could have used this one in case they are on the bubble in March.
Marshall, on Smith’s game-changing athletic talent: “He’s got that type of ability, and he shows it more and more. He’s really starting to hit his stride, and play really well as a young player in our program.”
The teams took turns missing heaves from the NBA 3-point line at Chesapeake Energy Arena, where the Oklahoma City Thunder play. Wichita State made 9 of 28 and Oklahoma made 6 of 21.
Wichita State hosts Oklahoma State on Dec. 17. The Cowboys are one of the nation’s highest-scoring teams and will test the Shockers.
Oklahoma hosts Memphis on Dec. 17. The Sooners get another crack at claiming a non-conference win over a big-name program.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .