WICHITA (TNS) — By the seventh, Wichita State fans were in hysterics watching as Austin Reaves splashed in another 3-pointer.
It was a hot streak unlike any other in program history: Reaves made his first seven 3-point shots in the first half with each one ratcheting up the decibel level inside Koch Arena on Sunday.
Reaves scored a career-high 23 points and Shaquille Morris added 20 more, as No. 17 Wichita State defeated Tulsa 90-71. The Shockers (17-4, 7-2 American) registered their first season sweep of an AAC opponent, while Tulsa (11-10, 4-5) lost for the fifth time in its last six games.
Darral Willis added 15 points, Rashard Kelly had a team-high 11 rebounds and eight assists with two steals and two blocks. Zach Brown had 10 points, four rebounds and five assists.
WSU coach Gregg Marshall tinkered with the lineup once again, inserting Conner Frankamp and Morris back into the starting five. The Shockers trailed Tulsa 21-20 after 10 minutes — the 12th time out of 21 games this season WSU has trailed after the opening 10 minutes.
Reaves' outside shooting was WSU's only consistent source of offense, as his fourth triple of the game trimmed Tulsa's lead to 21-20. He canned a fifth, and then his sixth gave WSU a 30-27 lead with 5:12 remaining in the first half.
On the next possession, less than a minute later, the crowd buzzed when Reaves touched the ball and began cheering before the seventh 3-pointer splashed through the net for a 33-27 lead. Koch Arena erupted and Reaves yelled in exhilaration, as his teammates on the bench spilled onto the court after Tulsa coach Frank Haith called a timeout.
It was a shooting performance Reaves, who once scored 73 points in a triple-overtime game at his Arkansas high school, had the potential to do. His previous career-high at WSU was 15 points; he had made four 3-pointers in three games.
Reaves' 3-point flurry sparked a 16-2 rally for WSU at the end of the first half, as the Shockers built a 45-35 halftime advantage.
WSU appeared to hit Tulsa with the knockout punch with a 9-0 run to open the second half, as Morris scored five straight and Markis McDuffie and Landry Shamet followed with jumpers to open a 54-35 lead.
But Tulsa remained competitive, eventually trimming WSU's lead to 56-50 with 13:57 remaining. The Golden Hurricane made 10 3-pointers, including back-to-back triples from Corey Henderson and Junior Etou to cut WSU's lead to 64-60 with 9:20 play.
Henderson, who began his career at Wichita State, finished with 28 points.
Morris sparked the victory-clinching run, as he scored on a dunk, then made two free throws and WSU reeled off an 11-0 run capped by five straight points from Brown. After WSU claimed the 77-62 lead with 5:09 remaining, Tulsa failed to challenge again.
Shamet, WSU's leading scorer, continued his shooting slump, finishing with six points on 1-of-8 shooting. Shamet is 1-for-18 on 3-pointers in his last three games.