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Shockers prepare for conference play with 102-53 win over Newman

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, at 8:05 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, at 5:19 p.m.



Start me up

WSU coach Gregg Marshall said Ben Smith earned his fifth start of the year with his play in the Shockers’ last two games — wins over Utah State and Chicago State. Smith didn’t know until the moments before tipoff that he was in the first group. Smith, a 6-foot-5 senior, has been on fire from beyond the three-point arc in his last games, hitting 7 of 11.

“It was just in the minutes before they announced the starters that I found out,” Smith said. “And it’s really not that big a deal to me at all, to be honest,” Smith said. “I just play. It’s no different for me whether I start or come off the bench.”

You good, bro?

Murry took a hard fall late in the first half, making a move from right to left across the lane and hitting the court. The senior guard was slow to get up as he stayed on his knees with his head buried in his hands before getting up and making 1 of 2 free throws. Marshall said he didn’t think Murry was hurt on the play.

“Well we didn’t have to summon our training staff, which is good,” Marshall said. “Now we’ve got the break coming up, and we want everybody to come back healthy from wherever they’re working out or doing their conditioning.”

Worth noting

Former Shocker Mason Felter, who played for WSU from 2008-2010, scored five points and had four rebounds in 21 minutes.æ.æ.æ. Newman’s Bobby Wesley made history at Koch Arena in March 2009, when he helped lead Garden City Community College to its first Region VI championship since 1953.æ.æ.æ. It was the third year in a row the teams have played, but the first regular-season contest.

— Tony Adame

As far as tuneups go, this will do just fine.

Wichita State defeated Newman, an NCAA Division II opponent, 102-53 on Monday night at Koch Arena in its final game before Missouri Valley Conference play begins on Dec. 28 at Bradley.

And in the win over the Jets, WSU coach Gregg Marshall found plenty of positives.

"I think it's a great way to go into the holidays," Marshall said. "I thought the group we had on the floor for the last 10 or 12 minutes of the first half was the most cohesive we had. Newman grabbed five offensive rebounds right at the beginning but we had a stretch where we grabbed 12 rebounds off 12 missed shots from Newman. That's good basketball."

Ben Smith and Garrett Stutz led the Shockers with 16 points each against their in-town , and Smith hit 4 of 5 three-pointers. Demetric Williams added 12 points for WSU while Joe Ragland finished with 11 points and six assists.

It was the first time this season WSU has scored 100 points and the second game in a row the Shockers have gone over 90. WSU has won its ast two games by a combined 99 points after defeating Chicago State 94-44 last Wednesday. The Shockers have won seven in a row overall.

"Everything starts with defense, and we're a high-energy team," Smith said. "We started slow, coach talked to us about it, and we figured it out. It feels good to go into the holidays with a big win... makes for a merry Christmas."

Wichita State opened the game with back-to-back threes from Smith for a 6-0 lead, but WSU turnovers let Newman back in the game, cutting the lead to 10-8 with 15:48 to play. The Shockers weren't able to gain much separation until around the 11-minute mark, when a jumper by Smith sparked an 8-0 run and gave WSU a 32-19 lead.

"I love Ben Smith, and he also played great against Utah State and Chicago State, too," Marshall said. "He's defending well, he's shooting the ball well, he's rebounding well... he's just a multi-dimensional player."

WSU added another late run in the first half for a 53-29 halftime lead.

"Things got turned in a hurry," Newman coach Mark Potter said. "You're sitting there where it's about a 10-point game and if you can keep it that way you might be able to compete in the second half, but when teams are that athletic and that talented they can really blow things open quickly."

The Shockers didn't emulate their sluggish start in the second half, quickly pushing their lead to 30 points at 61-31 on a right-handed dunk from Stutz. The Shockers passed the 100-point mark on a jumper from freshman Evan Wessel that made the score 101-53.

"We're a really confident group right now, everybody's getting in sync," Williams said. "And that's important for us headed into conference play."

The Shockers follow their MVC opener against Bradley with a home game against No. 23 Creighton, the league's preseason favorite, on Dec. 31.

"It's going to be great, we're excited for (MVC play) to start," Marshall said. "It's that time where you put it all in the meat grinder and hope you don't lose a finger doing it. I hope we come out with filet mignon."

Reach Tony Adame at 316-268-6284 or tadame@wichitaeagle.com.

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