LAHAINA, Hawaii — Wichita State's next task is not letting Monday's loss ruin their week.
The Shockers played well against Connecticut, well enough to win on a lot of days. Instead of the dream scenario of a date with Michigan State, the Shockers will face NCAA Division II Chaminade today.
Not great, but now the Shockers must focus on getting home 2-1 with one win over a name opponent.
"Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, so we've got to move on to the next game," WSU junior Toure Murry said. "We've got to put this one past us and be ready."
The frustration of Monday's loss won't go away soon. The Shockers led by nine and had the ball in the second half and failed to push Connecticut off the edge. They led by seven points with 7:27 to play and five with 3:54 remaining.
WSU, executing sharply on offense and rebounding strongly, did almost everything right. Defense, and a few turnovers, undid their efforts.
"Perhaps we deserved a better fate," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said.
Minus a few clutch plays by Connecticut's Kemba Walker, the spotlight goes to WSU's backcourt. Murry scored 19 points and junior David Kyles added 18, all in the second half. Kyles made 4 of 7 three-pointers after halftime after missing one in the first half.
That makes two strong efforts in a row for Kyles, a player known as a marvelous talent who hasn't been consistent. He opened the season scoring a career-high 20 points in a win over Texas Southern. In two games, Kyles is 9 of 15 from behind the arc.
That is one of the bright spots WSU will need to cling to after Monday's downer.
"He was definitely making shots," Murry said. "We know we can play with anybody. A lot of guys stepped up and made big shots."
Impressed — Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun has good reason to like the Shockers.
"Wichita State is a terrific basketball team," he said. "They could be a good team in the Big East. That's a good win for us, and it will be a good win for us all year."
The Huskies survived with their star (Walker) playing little in the first half. They got out-rebounded and made seven fewer threes than the Shockers.
"We were very strong willed," Calhoun said. "I think we out-willed them down the stretch."
Another Wildcat star — Kentucky freshman Terrence Jones appears to be the latest in an assembly line of stars under coach John Calipari.
Monday, he dominated Oklahoma with 29 points and 13 rebounds. That performance didn't surprise Sooners coach Jeff Capel, who told Jones he considered him the best recruit in the nation.
"That was my whole pitch to him," Capel said. "I didn't see anyone that could have an impact in a game like he could. He certainly did that this afternoon."
Jones, a 6-foot-8 forward, debuted with 25 points and 12 rebounds against East Tennessee State. His effort against Portland sagged a bit — 12 points and five rebounds. Those ups and downs are on Calipari's mind.
"He's not used to playing this hard," Calipari said. "He's not used to competing. As the game gets more physical, we'll find out if he's ready to be that guy."
The Wildcats could play Washington in the second round. Jones committed to the Huskies before changing his mind and joining Calipari.
Heat check — For basketball fans in the state, the 2001 Maui Invitational stands out for Ball State's upset of Kansas.
WSU assistant coach Chris Jans remembers that game — he had a friend on that Ball State staff. The Jayhawks lost a lot of minutes to cramps in that game. Shocker coaches hope to avoid heat-related problems. The players enjoyed some beach time on Saturday. Sunday, they stayed inside with orders to drink water, water and more water.