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Wichita State blasts Creighton, takes control of MVC race

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012, at 6:11 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, at 1:07 p.m.

Gregg Marshall talks about big win over Creighton

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Shocker report

Saturday’s box score

Wichita State (89)

WICHITA ST.

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Smith

31

8-12

3-3

1-6

0

2

22

Stutz

13

3-6

0-0

1-1

1

4

8

Ragland

32

9-12

4-4

1-4

6

2

24

Williams

33

2-5

7-7

1-7

4

1

11

Murry

31

4-10

2-2

2-6

2

1

11

Wessel

1

1-1

0-0

0-1

0

0

2

Anacreon

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Vautravers

1

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Orukpe

3

0-0

0-0

1-1

1

1

0

Hall

22

4-5

1-1

1-4

1

4

9

Kyles

20

1-1

0-0

0-3

2

0

2

Cotton

3

0-0

0-0

0-1

0

1

0

White

9

0-2

0-0

0-2

0

2

0

Totals

200

32-55

17-17

9-37

17

18

89

Percentages: FG .582, FT 1.000. 3-Point Goals: 8-16, .500 (Smith 3-6, Stutz 2-2, Ragland 2-4, Murry 1-1, Vautravers 0-1, White 0-2). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 3 (Orukpe, Hall, Ragland). Turnovers: 9 (Stutz 2, Williams 2, Smith, Cotton, Hall, Murry, Ragland). Steals: 0 Technical Fouls: None.

Creighton (68)

CREIGHTON

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

McDermott

32

5-14

2-2

3-6

0

3

13

Echenique

28

5-6

6-7

3-5

1

1

16

Gibbs

27

3-7

1-1

0-4

5

4

7

Manigat

19

0-3

2-2

0-0

0

4

2

Young

30

3-7

5-8

0-0

5

1

11

Chatman

14

0-2

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Stormberg

1

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Jones

21

2-6

1-1

0-4

3

0

6

Sebastian

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Ferrarini

1

0-1

0-0

1-1

0

0

0

Dorwart

1

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Dingman

6

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Artino

4

1-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

2

Wragge

15

4-7

0-1

0-1

0

2

11

Totals

200

23-57

17-22

9-23

14

16

68

Percentages: FG .404, FT .773. 3-Point Goals: 5-23, .217 (Wragge 3-6, McDermott 1-3, Jones 1-4, Dorwart 0-1, Dingman 0-1, Stormberg 0-1, Young 0-2, Gibbs 0-2, Manigat 0-3). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 2 (Echenique 2). Turnovers: 6 (McDermott 2, Wragge, Chatman, Young, Manigat). Steals: 4 (Manigat 2, McDermott, Echenique). Technical Fouls: None.

Wichita St.

49

40

89

Creighton

36

32

68

Att.–18,735. Officials–Tom Eades, Kelly Self, Don Daily.

Shockers in spotlight

Wichita State should reap a bounty of rewards for knocking off a ranked team on the road.

The Shockers enjoy a reasonable chance to move into the national rankings on Monday after spending much of the season just outside the top 25. In last week’s Associated Press poll, WSU received 31 votes, six spots from No. 25.

No. 17 Creighton will likely drop out after its third straight loss. No. 19 Virginia, No. 20 Mississippi State and No. 25 Harvard lost last week. Iowa State and Southern Miss, two teams receiving more votes than WSU, also dropped a game last week.

The Shockers entered the game with a No. 20 ranking in the power ratings at collegerpi.com. A win over No. 23 Creighton boosts that number and gives the Shockers a win that will stand out on their NCAA Tournament resume.

Expect the national media to take a closer look at WSU this week. The Shockers felt slighted up to this point as they watched Creighton get most of the attention reserved for teams outside conferences such as the ACC and Big 12.

“I felt last year, it was the same,” WSU senior Joe Ragland said. “We just don’t get that recognition. I guess now they’re going to start paying attention. I’m glad it’s here.”

Blanking the Bluejays

Wichita State’s defensive effort shouldn’t go overlooked. The Shockers held Creighton, the MVC’s leader at 43.6 percent, to 5-of-23 shooting from three-point range.

The defensive effort started by holding forward Doug McDermott to 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting, 10 points below his average.

“Teams don’t want him to get going, so they’re going to pack the paint and make our shooters beat them,” Creighton center Gregory Echenique said. “When we start making shots, they’ve got to make a choice.”

WSU can do that better than most, thanks to its length and quickness. In the first half, WSU guard Toure Murry harrassed McDermott in the post, forcing him to pass. Murry moved quickly enough to alter a shot by Josh Jones at the three-point line.

Ben Smith did most of the defensive work on McDermott. Despite giving up three inches, he kept McDermott under control, especially in the second half.

“At practice, my teammates do a good job of playing like McDermott,” Smith said. “We just try to go with the gameplan and do the best we can to limit his touches, make it hard on him to catch the ball where he wants to catch it.”

Family matters

When Smith made a three-pointer over McDermott late in the first half, CU coach Greg McDermott had seen enough. The Bluejays weren’t playing hard on defense, and his son was no exception.

So Greg got after Doug pretty hard in the huddle.

“I didn’t think he was playing hard,” Greg McDermott said. “He’s one of our best players, and there’s a lot that goes with that. Sometimes when you need to light a fire under your team, you need to light a fire under one of your best players. That was an attempt to do that that obviously didn’t pay many dividends.”

Worth noting

WSU defeated a ranked team on the road for the first time since a 2006 win at No. 14 Syracuse…. The 21-point margin over Creighton is WSU’s biggest in Omaha since a 77-55 win in 1953. It is Creighton’s biggest loss in nine seasons at the CenturyLink Center and its worst at home since a 21-point loss to Nebraska in 1995…. Smith made 3 of 6 threes and is 11 of 23 in his past four games. His 22 points tie his career high, set this season against Chicago State…. Ragland is 16 of 21 in his past two games…. WSU committed nine turnovers, its fourth straight game with 10 or less.

— Paul Suellentrop

— Wichita State and Creighton spent the past six weeks separating themselves from the rest of the Missouri Valley Conference. It took the Shockers two hours to separate themselves from the Bluejays.

WSU routed No. 17 Creighton 89-68 on Saturday in front of 18,735 fans, the largest crowd in Creighton history. The Shockers chanted “MVC, MVC” in a locker room filled with fans after earning a two-game lead with three to play.

No, it’s not over. But the Shockers (22-4, 13-2 MVC) made an air-tight case to be considered the Valley’s best team with a well-rounded demolition. Senior Ben Smith ended the news conference by reminding everyone he leaves Omaha unbeaten in the arena, producing a laugh and a fist bump from coach Gregg Marshall.

“I couldn’t have asked for more,” Marshall said. “It was a no-doubter.”

The Bluejays (21-5, 11-4) lost their third straight game and got a scolding from their coach for a lack of fight. The Shockers shot 58.2 percent by driving past defenders for layups and making 8 of 16 three-pointers. They out-rebounded the Bluejays by 14 and held their MVC-leading offense 12 points below its average.

“Our defense was atrocious,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “It was an embarrassment. Wichita took advantage of a lot of our weaknesses.”

The Shockers didn’t act surprised.

Creighton won the first meeting, 68-61 on Dec. 31 at Koch Arena. The Shockers missed 19 of 26 three-pointers and didn’t think it possible to shoot that poorly again.

“I felt like I let my team down the first time we played them, and I knew I could get to the basket because they don’t really take too many charges,” WSU guard Joe Ragland said.

WSU didn’t even need a big game from center Garrett Stutz, who played 13 minutes due to foul trouble. Ragland scored 24 points, 17 in the second half. Smith scored 22, 15 in the first half to help build a 49-36 lead.

“They just took it right at us,” Bluejays guard Grant Gibbs said. “They scored in the paint all night.”

The Shockers broke Creighton with two impressive scoring runs that summarized the game.

Creighton, after trailing by 10, cut the lead to 33-28 on two free throws by Gregory Echenique. Smith answered with two free throws, starting WSU on a streak of seven scores on seven possessions. Smith provided the final points, dropping in a stepback three over Doug McDermott for a 49-36 halftime lead.

The Shockers pulled away again in the second half, going up 70-51 on another Smith basket over McDermott. The Bluejays took one more swing at igniting the crowd with four straight points to get within 15 points.

Plenty of time, Greg McDermott thought.

This time, the Shockers scored on their next eight possessions to finish off the Bluejays. Demetric Williams silenced the crowd with a three-point play and then Ragland took over. He made a 15-foot jumper for a 75-58 lead. His layup to beat the shot-clock made it 81-63.

“We didn’t have an answer for Ragland in the second half,” Greg McDermott said.

Marshall cleared his bench in the final minutes, allowing the team and 250-or-so WSU fans a chance to celebrate. WSU won by double digits in Omaha for a second straight season, an accomplishment that seemed impossible before it broke a 17-game losing streak here last season.

By then, many of the Creighton fans had departed, with their voices intact. WSU refused to let the crowd roar into a factor.

“It’s their home court, and once you get the crowd into it they might start hitting shots and getting the calls,” Smith said. “We just tried to keep them quiet.”

Check Paul Suellentrop’s Shocker blog at blogs.kansas.com/shockwaves. Reach him at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com.

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