Basketball downtown didn't lose any excitement in the move from Koch Arena.
Wichita State defeated Tulsa 82-79 on Tuesday in front of 14,112 fans in the first college basketball game at 11-month-old Intrust Bank Arena. The teams revived an old rivalry with a shootout in which neither team led by more than seven points. The Shockers survived two Tulsa possessions with a chance to tie in the final seconds.
"That's a rivalry that we certainly need to be playing," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. "I don't know how it used to be, but it was pretty good tonight. If it was much, much better than that, then I wish I could go back and go to some of those game."
WSU (9-2) won its fourth straight game by wearing down Tulsa's roster with fouls and dominating the backboards. Tulsa, missing its top two point guards due to injury, responded by making 14 of 27 three-pointers. Guard Justin Hurtt scored 30 points, making 6 of 12 threes.
WSU center Garrett Stutz came off the bench to score 20 points in 20 minutes. Guard David Kyles added 19 points, nine in the first two minutes on three three-pointers. WSU made 23 of 49 shots and 28 of 36 free throws.
"I don't think either team played really good defense — it's an 82-79 game," Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said. "We did not guard without fouling. We lost the game, basically, at the free-throw line."
Tulsa (5-6) had a chance to overcome a 17-point disadvantage at the line and a 14-rebound beating. The Hurricane trailed 82-79 after Kyles made two free throws with 24.1 seconds to play. WSU's Toure Murry poked the ball away from Hurtt near the sideline and grabbed it. Kyles broke down court, but didn't see Murry's pass and it sailed out of bounds.
"Had David been looking, it would have been a dunk and the game would have been over," Marshall said. "But David wasn't looking, so it became another opportunity."
Tulsa inbounded with 14 seconds to play, looking for a three-pointer to force overtime. Murry kept Hurtt from the ball, leaving Scottie Haralson to shoot a guarded three over Graham Hatch. Kodi Maduka, who hasn't attempted a three all season, rebounded and retreated behind the line. His three-pointer bounced off the top of the backboard to give the Shockers their third straight win over Tulsa.
"We got a decent look," Hurtt said. "I can't be upset with anything that happened."
Hurtt did everything in his power to heat up the 120th meeting — now even at 60 wins for each school. He scored 21 points in the second half, going for 13 straight Tulsa points during the middle of the half. He did most of his damage with threes, but drove to the basket when needed. He threw down an emphatic two-handed dunk over Stutz in the first half. Haralson made 5 of 9 three-pointers and scored 15 points.
"We couldn't guard them at times," Marshall said. "You could have three guys in their face and they hit some of them."
WSU countered Tulsa's shooting with scoring from its big men. Stutz repeatedly got good position in the lane and the guards rewarded him. He made 10 of 12 free throws and 5 of 10 shots. Aaron Ellis scored 10 points, all in the second half, and J.T. Durley added seven.
"Earlier in the year, we were kind of settling for jumpers early in the possession," Stutz said. "Now we're attacking and being more aggressive."