WICHITA— Greg Marshall received the perfect birthday present on Thursday night. A close conference at home, which has been an issue lately for the Wichita Shockers after losing two straight games. The Shockers returned to Koch Arena to beat the Temple Owls in nail biter, 72-69 , earning a 21-7 record (9-6 in AAC).
Both teams battled back-and-forth and had their shares of holding a big lead after going on a run. However they would also give up a big lead as well. There were 14 lead changes the whole game and the largest lead was seven. The Shockers been in this situation before and came up short. This time they wouldn't be denied and not let another home game slip away.
"Prior to this game, we knew that we needed this game at home," Jamarius Burton said. "We have three more games left. So down the stretch, we all were confident with one another. We still had to fight with determination. Down the stretch we made plays, kept believing and fought hard."
Burton had a rocky first half as he only had two points, but came in clutch in the heat of the moment when he finished the night with 15 points, six assists and was 4 for 4 at the free-throw line.
"It was now-or-never type moment,"Burton said. "We knew we had to make plays or take another loss on our home floor, and we didn't want that for our seniors."
Trey Wade set the tone for the Shockers by not missing any of his shots in the first half. Wade, who finished with a season-high 21 points, went 7 for 7 from the field in the first half, and 8 for 9 the whole game. He was also 4 for 5 from behind the arc. After being bench in last four games, Wade was relieved that he finally found his rhythm offensively.
"I was glad the ball was going in tonight," Wade said jokingly. "I was working hard on my shots. I see them go in every practice, so to see them go in during the game is a good feeling."
Marshall was also pleased on Wade's performance knowing that he has been in a slump.
"I like his energy in the last couple of games," Marshall said. "He beat people down the floor and he rebounded well. He's a big part of what we've done all year.
He was not playing well. Guys that play well get a lot of minutes. What we we're trying to do is win the game. We want to develop our bench and develop our young guys, and also try to win the game. I thought Trey deserved it tonight and he delivered."
Also in double figures was WSU's big man Jaime Echenique. The senior recorded his fifth double-double of the year with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The Shockers trailed 37-36 at halftime, but was shooting 50 percent from the field. The Shockers went on a role and their had their largest lead of the night at 54-46. However, The Owls crept right back to tie the game at 53 with less than 12 minutes in the second half.
Four Temple players finished in double figures. Quinton Rose led the Owls with 20 points and Monty Scott picked up 14. The duo kept the Owls in the game and would eventually pick up their largest lead of the night at 65-58.
Wade, who was quiet in the second half , knocked his fourth three-pointer made to make it a two-possession game, 65-61, with 3:33 left. The Shockers regained the lead after Burton made both of his free-throw buckets. The Owls had the chance to either tie or go for the win, especially being at the free-throw line 24 times, yet Shockers survived when Echenique closed the deal by knocking one of his two of his free-throw attempts.
With three more games left the Shockers will be back on the road to face SMU on Saturday at 3 p.m. and then at at Memphis next Thursday, Mar. 5. They will return to the Roundhouse on Mar. 8 when Tulsa in their season finale.