WICHITA, KANSAS – Wichita State went more than 10 minutes without a field goal and the Houston Cougars made them pay.

Houston came into Charles Koch Arena and handed the Shockers a 65-54 defeat. It is Wichita State’s worst home loss since Louisiana Tech beat Wichita State 71-58 in the season opener last year and worst conference home loss Cincinnati topped the Shockers 66-55 on Jan. 18, 2019.

The Shockers have now dropped back-to-back games and are 15-3 on the season, 3-2 in the American Athletic Conference.

It’s only the third loss by double digits to a conference opponent at home since the 2010-11 season.

“The last two games I haven’t gotten it done. I haven’t done enough,” Gregg Marshall said. “The youth and inexperience of this team is rearing its head.”

Erik Stevenson missed 18 shots in a row before the bottom finally felt water. The sophomore’s slump spanned three games and was a cause of concern for Wichita State in the first half. When it finally went through the nylon, the feeling was great

Wichita State cut the lead down to one at 25-24 with 5:41 to go in the half but poor free throw shooting and the inability to get good looks really limited Wichita State’s comeback ability.

Houston would hit their free throws and a big three from Nate Hinton put the Cougars up by nine. Quinton Grimes hit two free throws, giving Houston the 35-25 halftime lead and their largest lead of the half.

“We had three atomic bombs and missed seven free throws,” Marshall said. “There’s really the game.”

The bottom would fall out in the second half. Wichita State couldn’t buy a bucket and Houston went right for the throats. They jumped on the Shockers with a 12-0 run to start the half. While the first four minutes were fruitful for Houston, the Shockers couldn’t buy a bucket. They missed their first four buckets of the second half.

“Whatever I’m doing at halftime isn’t working,” Marshall said.

It wasn’t until Jamarius Burton made two free throws with 13:01 did the scoring drought end. The drought with no field goals continued. It wasn’t until the 11:48 mark of the second half did the Shockers finally hit a basket, a three-pointer by Grant Sherfield cut the Cougar lead to 49-30.

Over that span, Wichita State missed 18 straight shots and essentially, that’s where Houston made their money. They forced the Shockers into tough shots and one-possession opportunities. Then, on the offensive end, Houston was able to utilize their inside-out game to the best of their ability.

Erik Stevenson finally hit a three-pointer with 11:24 to go in the game, ending a streak of 18 consecutive misses, dating back to the UConn game. His three brought Wichita State within 49-33.

It seemed Houston had an answer. The Shockers couldn’t get a stop and Houston would always find an offensive rebound or a tip on a ball. Those 50-50 balls coaches always preach about, fell in the hands of the Cougars.

In six of their last eight games, Wichita State has shot less than 70 percent from the free throw line. Against Houston, the Shockers were 9-of-20, 45 percent. If there is any take away, the Shockers were 4-of-8 in the second half, which by any Division I standards is unacceptable.

“I don’t recognize this team,” Marshall said. “They look like the teams we’ve beaten before. That fight isn’t there.”

Etienne led the Shockers with 10 points. Stevenson finished all seven of his points in the second half.

Houston had four players in double figures, including Fabian White Jr., who led all in scoring with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting and five rebounds. Houston's DeJon Jarreau flirted with a triple-double, scoring 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

“We just have to keep working,” Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson said. “We have a culture and an identity that our players adhere to and know what we demand.”

Wichita State will try to rebound from their two-game skid as they travel to South Florida to take on Brian Gregory and the Bulls (8-9, 1-3, AAC). That game is scheduled to tip-off at 6 p.m on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Wichita State lost 54-41 in Tampa last season.

“I asked the players what I need to do to help them,” Marshall said. “We have to go into practice, break down the film and see what we need to do.”