WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Gal Mekel scored a career-high 16 points Tuesday as Wichita State opened its season with a 61-56 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
It was the Shockers' first game under head coach Gregg Marshall. The former Winthrop coach replaced Mark Turgeon, who left for Texas A&M.
Mekel, a sophomore from Tel Aviv, Israel, made 5-of-10 shots to lead the Shockers. Wichita State freshman J.T. Durley added 12 points, all of them in the first half.
Wichita State led 35-28 at halftime, but couldn't pull away from the Golden Lions in the second half.
The Shockers took their biggest lead, 47-30, on Phillip Thomasson's 3-pointer with 15:42 left in the game. After a basket by Ramon Clemente made it 50-36 with 12:48 to go, Wichita State went cold and scored only one basket in the next 7:48.
With the Shockers struggling, Arkansas-Pine Bluff went on a 13-3 run, capped by Jarvis Gunter's basket with 5:30 to play that trimmed Wichita State's lead to 53-49. But that's as close as Arkansas-Pine Bluff could get.