WICHITA – Dexter Dennis hit two threes to start the game, setting the tone for a new career high for him and a blowout win over Tulane for the Shockers.
Dennis scored a career high 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting to lead Wichita State to the 82-57 win over Tulane on Sunday afternoon inside Charles Koch Arena.
The win gives Wichita State back-to-back wins for the first time since Jan. 21-25, wins over South and Central Florida.
"I would have taken a 25-point win if you would have offered when before started," Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall said.
Dennis hit three of his threes with within the first six minutes of the half to put the Shockers up 13-7 with 14:43 remaining in the first half.
"Right now, I’m not thinking too much," Dennis said. "I’m just playing. Whatever happens, happens. It worked well for me tonight."
Trey Wade hit a three out of a timeout to give the Shockers their first double digit lead at 21-9 with 11:53 remaining in the half. Tyson Etienne contributed his own three to give the Shockers a 24-10 lead.
Jaime Echenique and Dennis both had monster dunks to ignite the crowd.
"It’s a great feeling [to see the fans cheering]," Eitenne said. "Let’s give the fans everything they paid to see."
Wichita State’s run to put the game out of reach spanned 7:25 and saw The Shockers make 3-of-3 shots and go on a 10-0 run. The run saw a dejected Ron Hunter call multiple timeouts to slow the Shockers down to no avail.
"He [Dennis] was on the glass and finding the ball," Marshall said. "From running the court and a had a wrap-around pass to Erik Stevenson. He’s getting better at bouncing it. He’s doing better at getting into the heart of the defense at times."
An extended 24-7 run was ended when Tulane’s Christion Thompson hit two free throws with just under four minutes to go in the half to cut the Shocker lead to 42-17.
It was the first time Wichita State had scored 50 points in a half since Jan. 7, 2018 against South Florida (51-20). It’s the sixth largest halftime lead in school history.
"You’re going to win a lot of games when you hold them to 20 points," Marshall said.
Tulane made a push early in the second half, going on an 8-0 run that spanned almost 2½ minutes. Jamarius Burton drained a three from the left side of the arc to end the run and push their lead back to 58-32 with 14:17 remaining in the half.
Etienne hit a three with 12:15 remaining to push the lead back out to 29 after Tulane was able to cut the Shocker’s lead to 23 points early in the second half.
"I have to do a better job of coaching up 30," Marshall said.
The play of Noah Fernandes was big to Wichita State’s early lead. He assisted on Wichita State’s first three baskets and drew a charge. He showed why it’s not always about the points on the box score. It’s the little things he was doing right.
Midway through the first half, Fernandes tipped an errant Tulane pass, then dove on the floor, gaining possession that led to an open layup by Dennis.
Eitenne finished with 20 points and six made threes for the Shockers. Echenique scored 10 points, pulled down five rebounds and blocked a shot.
"Etienne shot the ball well, especially in the second half," Marshall said.
Dennis, along with his 21 points, had nine rebounds and three assists.
Wichita State is home again this week as they have only six games remaining on the regular season slate, with three of those being home games. They’ll host South Florida for a 7 p.m on Thursday, Feb. 20.
"As long as we don’t play Houston, we’re pretty good offensively," Marshall said. "We need to keep getting better. Find a way better to get better each and every day."