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No. 22 Wichita State looks to turn things around vs. Memphis

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The Sports Xchange
Wichita State Basketball Twitter
Wichita State Basketball Twitter

The only shocking that's been going on around Wichita State lately are the shocking losses that have been mounting.

And while Sunday's 81-79 loss to Temple might have seemed the most shocking, coach Greg Marshall wasn't totally surprised.

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"Every team (in the American Athletic Conference) has a guy that can really go off on you ... potential NBA guy. You have to be ready to play," he told The Sunflower, Wichita State's student newspaper. "If you hit the snooze too many times on one of these teams, you'll get an L."

The Shockers (17-5, 7-3 American), in the midst of losing three of their past five games, fell to No. 22 in The Associated Press Top 25 on Monday. Marshall's squad already has three losses to conference opponents -- make that unranked conference opponents -- with a trip to Memphis to take on the Tigers on Tuesday night.

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Memphis (14-9, 5-5) has its own problems, but has lost only twice at home all season.

The Tigers are also slumping, having lost three of four, including an 88-85 overtime loss to East Carolina on Saturday in a game that head coach Tubby Smith called out his players.

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"We probably need some psychological help. Really, I'm serious," Smith told the Memphis Commercial Appeal, which called the loss humiliating. "There's strange things. When you have to scream and holler from the start of the game to get in their stance, to sprint back, pick it up, run harder, it's a real issue."

Jeremiah Martin poured in 30 points and Kyvon Davenport recorded a double-double as Memphis fought back from a double-digit deficit. But Davenport missed a free throw late that would have given the Tigers the win.

"We took a bad loss, but this should be motivation for us," Martin said, "to let us know we got to come out and play every team hard in the conference no matter the record."

That could be the mantra for the Shockers as well.

The loss to Temple detracted from senior center Shaq Morris becoming just the 46th player in school history to reach 1,000 points. He scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a losing cause.

"When he is focused and ready to go, he's a problem," Wichita State guard Austin Reaves told the Wichita Eagle. "That's what we've got for these last three games and hopefully it will continue over."

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In those last three games, Morris is averaging 21 points and shooting 68 percent from the field. His increased production is not an accident.

"My teammates, they really want me to lead and be a dominant force on the court," Morris told the Eagle. "They give me the ball as much as they can and when you get a feeling like that, you've got to play that role. I love that they trust me with that. We all trust each other."

That trust will be put to the test as the Shockers try to bounce back from the loss to Temple.

"It was a game that we could have won, should have won," Marshall said. "They made the plays and we didn't.

"We turned it over too much and had some careless passes," he added.

Leading scorer Landry Shamet has struggled of late, committing six turnovers in the loss to Temple. Shamet's shot has vanished as well. At one time one of the nation's top 3-point shooters, Shamet has gone 3 of 25 from beyond the arc in his last four games.

Despite their recent troubles, the Shockers feel like they're ready to get back on the winning track, beginning against Memphis.

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"As soon as the buzzer goes off, that's the final score," Morris said. "It's onto the next. You can't hang your head too much. That's what I learned when Fred (VanVleet) and Ron (Baker) and all of those guys were here. You have to keep everybody's heads up."

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