WICHITA – The Wichita State Shockers started slow and by the end of it, Jaime Echenique was calling for the ball. South Florida had no answer for the 6-11 big man.

Wichita State went four minutes without scoring to start the game but Echenique’s 20 points fueled the Shockers 65-55 win over South Florida on Thursday night inside Charles Koch Arena.

“I just wanted to win the game,” Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall said. “I don’t care how many free throws we made. I just wanted the win.”

The win is Wichita State’s third straight, their longest winning streak since their nine-game win streak that spanned through parts of all of December and into middle of January.

The Bulls took an 11-5 lead with 13:47 to go in the first half and that’s when Wichita State made their first move. Jamarius Burton hit a jumper and Erik Stevenson capped it with a three of a catch-and-shoot situation, giving Wichita State their first lead of the game. Echenique’s and-one opportunity made it a 10-0 run and gave them a 15-11 lead with 11:06 to go in the half.

Stevenson hit his second three of the evening with 5:53 to go as both teams tried to ride the leader board seesaw, giving the Shockers the 25-24 advantage.

It was not until Asbørn Midtgaard hit a turnaround jumper, giving the Shockers their first bucket of the game. It had been an early 5-0 run for the Bulls before then. The Shockers defense had done their part. Up to that point, they already had three steals and two blocks. The shockers just were not falling early in the game as Wichita State starting 1-of-8 from the field.

A burst to the rim by Burton and a three by Tyson Etienne gave the Shockers a 7-0 run heading into the half with a 34-29 lead.

Trey Wade found the scoreboard to start the second half and Burton put home a big-time dunk, giving the Shockers an extended 11-2 run and a 38-29 lead with 17:00 to go in the game; forcing the Bulls to call timeout.

The Bulls would not go down without a fight as they went on 11-2 run over the next six minutes to level the game at 40 a piece before Dexter Dennis nailed a three to give Wichita State the 43-40 lead.

South Florida’s Collins nailed a three with 6:29 remaining to tie the game for the seventh time, this time at 45-all.

Echenique once again was the catalyst for the Shockers. He was able to get to the line by using his size and the Bulls had no real answer for the senior out of Barranquilla, Colombia. Dennis followed it up with a three, forcing another South Florida timeout with 4:48 remaining.

“He’s [Echenique] really been a good player for us what does not show up on the stat sheet is how he helps and protects the guard son those middle screens,” Marshall said.

Burton once again drove by two Bull defenders, found himself at the rim for the layup and the 7-point lead. Then, Echenique, as he had done all game, found himself at the rim with no real resistance from the Bulls.

Echenique’s two free throws with 2:47 to go gave Wichita State their first double digit lead of the night, up 57-47.

Along with his 20 points on 4-of-8 shooting, Echenique finished with nine rebounds, four blocks, two steals and two assists. Echenique finished 12-of-14 at the free throw line as well.

“When you have a big guy who make free throws,” Marshall said. “Once we got into the bonus, our emphasis was to run some sets to get him the ball and all they can do is foul him.”

Echenique’s scoring lead is the sixth time a different Shocker player has led them in scoring.

“That’s what this program is built on,” It’s not individuals not the team.”

It was the Shockers third best free throw shooting night of the season. Wichita State shot 21-of-25 on the night, with three of the misses coming in the final minute of the game.

The Shockers will have three of their next four on the road. They’re home against Temple on Thursday, Feb. 27 in between road trips to Cincinnati and Southern Methodist. They will return home on March 8 to finish up against Tulsa.

“It’s not going to get any easier, it’s going to get tough,” Marshall said. “I told the guys back in the day when we played a little fewer games the mark of a successful was 20 win and to have 20 wins with five left with a team with 10 underclassman, that’s pretty successful.”