Wichita State came into the Roman Main Event Friday with two of their three wins in nerve-racking fashion. Facing off against a lengthy Arizona Wildcats team was a great early test for the reigning AAC Conference college basketball champions. Although cold for most of the game, Shockers guard Tyson Etienne again came up with some late magic, only to run out of juice in overtime, losing 82-78.
In a game that changed directions and momentum seemingly on the flip of a switch, plenty of fans will be wondering what they just watched. With a lot to unpack for both teams, here are the takeaways from a tough loss for the Wichita State Shockers.
Tyson Etienne Shows Up When Needed Most
Tyson Etienne was a non-factor early for Wichita State. Not only could he not get shots to fall, but he also was struggling from the free throw line. It wasn’t too surprising, seeing that Etienne was making his return from an illness that kept him sidelined for their game against Tarleton. When he found that stroke, however, there was nothing the Wildcats could do but pray.
Etienne made six of his last 10 shots in the second half and hit a sensational three to tie the game at 69 apiece, with 17 seconds left in the game. That three-pointer ended up being the shot that sent the game to overtime, where the Shockers eventually dropped off late. This game was just another example of how good this Wichita State college basketball team can be when Etienne is making shots. No team in the country can stop the Sophomore from Englewood, NJ.
Free Throws a Factor in Wichita State vs Arizona
In a game decided in overtime, it’s natural to look at free throw shooting to try to explain why the winner walked away on top. In this game, Arizona walked away with the win and was better from the line, but still left a lot to be desired. The Wildcats shot 41 free throws, but made just 28 of them (68% shooting). Wichita State somehow struggled even more, as they were only able to hit half of their 24 free throws.
The biggest example of the importance of free throws in this game came with just under 40 seconds to play in the second half. Down one, Tyson Etienne was fouled on a shot from deep. Etienne, who hit all six of his free throw attempts in the two previous games he played this season, was only able to hit one of three from the stripe. Lo and behold, that hurt the Shockers almost immediately, as a late Etienne three only tied the game instead of possibly giving them a lead.