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Sports >  NCAA basketball

No. 7 Shockers stumble for 1st time in AAC

Houston guard Corey Davis Jr., left, reacts after making a basket during Saturday’s game against Wichita State. Houston won 73-59. (Eric Christian Smith / Associated Press)
Houston guard Corey Davis Jr., left, reacts after making a basket during Saturday’s game against Wichita State. Houston won 73-59. (Eric Christian Smith / Associated Press)
By Aaron Beard Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. – Wichita State has hit its first bump in its new American Athletic Conference home. Coach Gregg Marshall now gets a chance to see how his seventh-ranked Shockers handle it.

The Shockers were one of five AP Top 25 teams to lose twice this week, joining No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 8 Texas Tech as top-10 teams in that group. First came an 83-78 home loss to SMU on Wednesday – snapping a 27-game home winning streak and giving Wichita its first lost in AAC play – followed by Saturday’s 73-59 loss at Houston.

This is part of the Shockers’ first go-around through the American after moving from their 72-year home in the Missouri Valley Conference, where they won four straight regular-season titles with a 68-4 record from 2013-17.

Wichita State (15-4, 5-2) had not lost consecutive conference games since the 2012-13 season before this week.

The problems hit both sides of the court. SMU shot nearly 64 percent in its win. Against Houston, though, Wichita State’s most glaring troubles came in a 33 percent, 18 turnover offensive showing.

Wichita State had won its first four AAC games by double-figure margins, but things have been tougher starting with a 72-69 win at Tulsa on Jan. 13.

“We have to work on everything,” Marshall said after the Houston loss, adding: “I have to coach better. We have to play better.”

Tough league

Big 12 teams keep beating each other up.

The Sooners and freshman star Trae Young lost twice on the road, first at Kansas State on Tuesday and then in overtime at Oklahoma State on Saturday despite Young’s 48 points.

Then there were the Red Raiders with their own set of road league losses. They fell at Texas on Wednesday and at Iowa State on Saturday.

“We’re going to have to fight and get back up,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “This is life in the Big 12.”

Marquee win

Speaking of the Big 12, No. 10 Kansas had the week’s best win by beating sixth-ranked West Virginia 71-66 on the road.

Two-loss weeks

No. 18 Kentucky and No. 19 Seton Hall were the other ranked teams to lose twice this week.

Both of the Wildcats’ losses came to unranked teams, first at South Carolina and then at home to Florida to snap a 30-game home winning streak against Southeastern Conference foes. It raises the question of whether the Wildcats could slide out of Monday’s new poll.

“As a team, there is no lack of confidence,” Wildcats sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones said. “We understand that we have work to do. We can’t go out there and mess around. We have to go out there and fight.”

As for the Pirates, they lost at Creighton – which has been ranked in four polls this season – and then at home to No. 11 Xavier in the Big East.


No. 3 Purdue (19-2, 8-0 Big Ten) has won 15 straight games and has won three straight Big Ten games by at least 23 points for the first time in school history. The Boilermakers beat Wisconsin by 28 points and Iowa by 23 this week.

Scheduled to appear?

St. Mary’s (19-2, 8-0 West Coast Conference) is rolling and could go from “Others Receiving Votes” to ranked by Monday.

The Gaels won at No. 13 Gonzaga on Thursday then won at Pacific for a 14th straight victory – the second-longest streak in school history – behind 32 points from Jock Landale, who stands as one of college basketball’s top performers with Selection Sunday less than two months away.

Then there’s Kansas State (14-5, 4-3 Big 12), which followed its win against Oklahoma by beating No. 24 TCU. The Wildcats rank 24th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency rankings (115.7 points per 100 possessions), but held both opponents to 42 percent shooting while forcing the Sooners into 20 turnovers.

“They’ve grown up,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said after the TCU win. “We have good leadership. And they’re guarding.”

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