Wichita State extended the nation’s longest road winning streak to 10 games with a 95-60 victory over East Carolina at Menges Coliseum on Thursday.
Since the 2013-14 season, WSU is 45-6 and owns the most road wins and highest road winning percentage of any team in Division I. The Shockers own road wins over Baylor, Oklahoma State, Connecticut, and ECU this season.
No. 5 WSU (14-2, 4-0 American) will attempt to notch another road victory Saturday night at Tulsa (10-7, 3-2). In four road games this season, WSU’s average margin of victory is 16 points and its defense is holding opponents to 39 percent shooting and 13 turnovers per game.
So what makes WSU so good on the road?
“Toughness, mental and physical toughness,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “I think these guys enjoy going on the road and they enjoy the energy in the arena at the beginning of a game. It’s a pride thing now. They’ve done it so long and so well. Sometimes we play better on the road.”
That brings up another question: How could a team play better in a different environment than at Koch Arena where 10,506 fans in yellow are all behind them?
“When you’re on the road, you have to come together more as a group,” WSU sophomore Austin Reaves said. “When you’re on the road, it’s just you by yourself.”
“It kind of brings out an instinctual thing inside you,” Landry Shamet added. “You feel like you’re being hunted, so you’re locked in. You know everybody in the building hates you and doesn’t want to see you win.”
Players like Shamet and senior guard Conner Frankamp are constant targets for opposing student sections.
Before Thursday’s game, ECU’s student section focused most of its attention on Frankamp. He’s used to it, dating back to his high school days at North.
When he hears trash talk, it only motivates him. Frankamp, who missed WSU’s previous game due to a stomach bug, played 16 minutes, scored eight points and hit two three-pointers – all in the first half with the crowd’s taunts fresh in his mind.
“I enjoy a good crowd and a good student section,” said Frankamp, who extended his school-record streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 36. “It’s something to feed off of, especially if we play good then we can quite them down.”
Shamet said that WSU’s success on the road actually begins at home. The players try to take the same mentality with them in road venues, which Shamet thinks helps.
“Any adversity we faced, our mindset doesn’t change,” Shamet said. “We just continue to take care of our business because we’re thinking the same way. I think that consistently really helps us.”
No. 5 Wichita State at Tulsa
- When: 6:30 p.m.
- Where: Reynolds Center, Tulsa
- Records: WSU 14-2, 4-0 AAC; Tulsa 10-7, 3-2
- TV: ESPNU
- Radio: 103.7-FM