MEMPHIS, Tenn. (GoShockers.com) – For the second straight game Wichita State let a double digit lead get away, falling, 65-63, at Memphis Saturday on a David Jones game-winner with 2.3 seconds left.
Wichita State (9-13, 1-8) held a 14-point lead with less than 10:00 minutes to go in the game, but a furious Memphis rally resulted in a heartbreaking loss. The Tigers finished on a 25-9 run.
Colby Rogers scored a team-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting and 5-of-8 from three. Ronnie DeGray III set season highs in points (12) and rebounds (7). Harlond Beverly grabbed 10 rebounds to go with seven points, but was just 3-for-14 from the field.
David Jones, one of the nation’s leading scorers, fueled the second half comeback. He scored 16 of his game-high 26 after halftime. In the first matchup, Jahvon Quinerly dominated with 23 points and 11 assists, and missed only one shot. Wichita State frustrated Quinerly all day in this one. He finished with just three points on 1-of-13 shooting. His lone make was a big one in the final minute, giving Memphis its first lead of the game.
Wichita State committed just five turnovers and attempted eight more free throws. Wichita State’s misses at the free throw line were costly. They went 1-for-4 to finish the game.
Memphis outrebounded Wichita State by 12, its largest margin of the season, including 17 offensive rebounds.
Behind three-pointers from Beverly and Rogers, Wichita State opened the game on an 8-0 run and led 11-6 at the first media timeout. After its hot start, Wichita State cooled off, missing seven of its next eight shots over a span of 4:00 minutes, but still held a 15-10 lead due to Memphis’ even colder start from the field. The Tigers began the game just 4-for-16.
The first meeting in Wichita just a few weeks ago was an up-tempo, high-scoring affair. The first half of the rematch was the opposite. Wichita State never trailed in the first 20 minutes despite shooting just 30 percent from the field.
Wichita State went into the half with a 30-24 lead after scoring six of the final eight points. The Shockers had just one turnover and attempted nine more free throws than the Tigers. Memphis had nine first half turnovers and was just 10-for-33 from the floor.
Turnovers on the first three possessions to begin the second half saw Memphis pull within one, but the Shockers settled down. A Rogers triple and five straight points from Ronnie DeGray III pushed Wichita State’s lead right back to seven.
After a Memphis three-pointer made it 41-37, Wichita State blitzed the Tigers with a 9-0 run to take its largest lead, 50-37, with 9:43 to go. Four points from Bell, a Rogers triple and a DeGray steal and score had the Tigers out of sorts.
Wichita State grabbed its largest lead of 14 with 7:55 remaining, but Memphis refused to go away. A 12-4 answer brought the Tigers within six, 58-52, forcing Paul Mills to take a timeout at the 4:07 mark.
Out of the timeout Memphis got a stop on the defensive end and then an offensive rebound led to a three-point play. Two missed Kenny Pohto free throws on the Shockers’ next trip resulted in a game-tying three-pointer from ones. Just like that Memphis had erased a 14-point deficit.
With all the momentum now gone, Wichita State punched back with back-to-back scores from Rogers and a Beverly breakaway dunk to go back in front, 62-58.
Two Jones free throws cut the lead to two and then Quinerly gave the Tigers their first lead of the day with 44 seconds on the clock. Following a timeout, Wichita State got an offensive rebound from DeGray and was fouled. He hit the first and missed the second, leaving the game tied at 63 with 12 seconds remaining.
Memphis used its final timeout and got the ball in Jones’ hands, and he delivered with a stepback 15-footer, ending the Tigers’ four-game losing streak.
Wichita State welcomes UTSA to Charles Koch Arena for the first time as a member of the AAC on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN+.