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Shockers Stay Alive with First Round Win over Rice


FORT WORTH ( – Colby Rogers scored 20 points for the fourth straight game, including two dagger three-pointers in the final minute to move No. 12 Wichita State past No. 13 Rice, 88-81, in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Championship Wednesday afternoon.


Wichita State (14-18) advances to the second round of the American Athletic Conference Championship and will face No. 5 seed Memphis Thursday at 1:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

Rogers was 5-for-9 from beyond the arc, marking his fourth straight game with 5+ three-pointers. He finished with a team-high 22 points on the same day he broke the single season school record for three-pointers. His 93 made three-pointers vault him past Sean Ogirri’s record that has stood since 2005-06.

Ronnie DeGray III saved his best game with the season on the line. He set season highs in points (15), rebounds (8) and assists (4). He was 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-5 from beyond the arc.

Bijan Cortes scored all 12 of his season-high 12 points in the first half on 5-of-8 shooting. Harlond Beverly and Quincy Ballard added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Wichita State was 11-for-21 from three-point range and shot 50 percent overall. In two combined games vs. Rice, the Shockers were 25-for-43 from long range. Rice was 9-for-18 from three and shot 53 percent overall.

Rice hit five of its first six shots to begin the game, jumping out to a 12-4 lead, forcing Paul Mills to take a timeout just 3:37 into play. After the timeout Rice knocked down its third triple to make it 15-4.

Five straight points from Rogers took the lid off for Wichita State on the offensive end.

Behind a 12-2 run the Shockers climbed all the way back to tie the game at 28 on a Ronnie DeGray III triple with just over 8:00 minutes left in the half. From there Wichita State’s offense looked like a well-oiled machine. The Shockers made 19 of their final 22 attempts in the half after starting the game 2-for-7.

The offensive onslaught saw Wichita State turned a 13-point deficit at the 14:56 mark into a 13-point lead at halftime, 52-39. Wichita State set an American Athletic Conference Championship record shooting 72.4 percent from the field in the first half. Their 52 points set a season high and the eight made three-pointers tied a season high, set just over a week ago against Rice in Wichita.

Rogers (13) and Cortes (12) combined for 25 points, while four other Shockers had six points apiece.

A sight all too familiar this season was the start to the second half. Rice scored the first 12 points after halftime to make it just a one-point game just 5:11 into the half.

The remainder of the half would be a back-and-forth battle played within a four-point margin. There were 13 lead changes and six ties in the game, most of those coming in the second half.

With 1:56 left, Rogers hit the first of two huge three-pointers to give Wichita State just enough breathing room. His second came with 44 seconds left in a three-point game to push Wichita State’s lead to six, 84-78.

A pair of Beverly free throws and an Xavier Bell layup in the final seconds iced the game to send Wichita State to the next round.