Tyson Etienne hits game-winning shot to give Wichita State the edge over Jacksonville State

Greg Williams
Wellington Daily News
Tyson Etienne hits the game-winning against Jacksonville State

Tyson Etienne's favorite player is Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard. The Wichita State guard has a Lillard poster in his room, and on Wednesday night, he channeled his inner "Dame Time."

The sophomore guard brought the ball up after Jacksonville State tied the game at 57 in the closing seconds. Shockers head coach Isaac Brown decided to not call a timeout to draw; instead, he put his faith into his players to make something happen. 

Etienne sized up his defender Jalen Gibbs, and rather than taking it to the basket, he stepped back onto the Wichita State logo (31.9 feet) and put a dagger into the Gamecocks to give the Shockers a 60-57 win on opening night.

"I wasn't really thinking about 'Dame Time' in that situation," said Tyson Etienne. "Although, I guess it was in that type of fashion. I put myself in that position every day. At the end of my workouts, I'll take those shots. It felt like a normal shot to me because I've worked on it so many times."

He wasn't lying. Teammates Dexter Dennis and Kenny Pohto have even seen it during practice.

"I've seen that shot a hundred times," said Wichita State's junior guard Dexter Dennis. "Whenever when we're in practice I'll always try and call it out. You see it so much and it makes it so much that it's routine for him. "

Etienne led the way in scoring with 16 points, but the Shockers had a rough shooting performance. Wichita State shot 38.6% from the field and 18.2% from beyond the arc.

"There's a lot of wrinkles that need to be ironed out," said Etienne. "We have a bunch of new guys and new personalities, so everything isn't going to be 100% perfect right now. We got a lot to work on, but it feels good to be 1-0."

Wichita State is no stranger to close games. Last year they were involved in six games that were decided by one possession, then they were involved in 12 games decided by five points or fewer. The Shockers knew what to expect when starting their season against Jacksonville State. 

"We wanted to play a tough schedule," said Wichita State head coach Isaac Brown. "I feel like Jacksonville State is a team that's going to win their conference [Ohio Valley] and get to the NCAA tournament. I figured it would be a close game and we need those types of games to help us further into the season."

The Shockers have won their 10 last homes games and will now take on South Alabama on Saturday, Nov. 13 with tip-off at 3 p.m. at Koch Arena.

Greg Williams has been the reporter for the Wellington Daily News and Butler County Times-Gazette since May 2021. You can reach him at GWilliams@gannett.com or on Twitter at @GregWilliams28.