Wichita State withstands Coastal Carolina comeback attempt for 86-77 victory

CONWAY, S.C. (Nov. 16, 2023) – Wichita State utilized only seven players for most of the game and five of them scored in double figures, as the Shockers posted an 86-77 victory over Coastal Carolina in the opening round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Xavier Bell led the way for the Shockers (4-0) with 20 points and Kenny Pohto added 16, all in the second half. But Wichita coach Paul Mills gave much of the credit for the offensive production to Colby Rogers, who had six assists and no turnovers to go along with 15 points of his own.

“He did a great job of moving the ball and taking care of it,” Mills said. “We only had seven turnovers as a team.”

The Shockers led 43-39 at halftime, then opened the second half with a 19-9 run to build a 62-48 lead with less than 13 minutes remaining. But the Chanticleers (1-1) bounced right back, using a 15-4 run of their own to close the gap to 66-63 with still 9:36 to play.

“You want to see how they respond in a situation like that, and we competed,” Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis said. “We got better as the game went on. We don’t like to lose, but I don’t think we left anything on the court.”

Consecutive jumpers by Rogers and a 3-pointer from Harlond Beverly pushed Wichita’s lead back to nine points at 77-68, and the Shockers maintained at least a six-point advantage the rest of the way, partly by connecting on 7-of-8 free-throw attempts in the final minutes.

“We were really composed and made free throws down the stretch,” Mills said. “Everybody kept together during the rough moments and responded correctly.”

Kevin Easley led Coastal with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists, and Jacob Meyer added 11 points and nine boards.