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Wichita State knows senior-day loss would dampen MVC celebration

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, at 4:27 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, March 11, 2012, at 1:04 p.m.

Shocker report

Wednesday’s box score

Wichita State (68)

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Smith

37

3-12

2-2

1-4

2

1

11

Stutz

30

5-15

2-2

3-14

1

2

12

Ragland

32

5-10

0-0

1-2

4

0

14

Williams

33

4-4

1-1

0-2

2

1

11

Murry

17

4-6

0-0

0-3

3

4

9

Hall

12

1-1

0-1

0-1

0

4

2

Kyles

25

2-5

1-2

1-3

3

1

5

Cotton

13

1-1

0-0

1-2

0

3

2

White

1

1-1

0-0

0-0

0

1

2

Totals

200

26-55

6-8

8-33

15

17

68

Percentages: FG .473, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 10-23, .435 (Ragland 4-7, Smith 3-9, Williams 2-2, Murry 1-1, Stutz 0-1, Kyles 0-3). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 2 (Stutz, Murry). Turnovers: 14 (Stutz 4, Murry 3, Ragland 2, Kyles 2, Smith, White, Williams). Steals: 9 (Kyles 2, Stutz, Hall, Ragland, Smith, Cotton, Murry, Williams). Technical Fouls: None.

Illinois State (55)

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Ekey

23

0-5

0-0

0-2

0

0

0

Carmichael

20

2-9

2-4

2-7

0

4

6

Brown

34

2-7

2-2

0-3

1

2

8

Moore

22

0-4

1-2

0-4

4

1

1

Wilkins

26

4-10

1-1

3-8

0

1

9

Allen

31

7-10

0-0

0-2

1

2

17

Cousin

29

2-5

2-2

1-2

3

1

7

Threloff

15

3-3

1-3

2-3

0

2

7

Totals

200

20-53

9-14

9-32

9

13

55

Percentages: FG .377, FT .643. 3-Point Goals: 6-15, .400 (Allen 3-4, Brown 2-4, Cousin 1-2, Wilkins 0-1, Moore 0-1, Ekey 0-3). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 3 (Ekey 2, Wilkins). Turnovers: 14 (Moore 4, Allen 3, Cousin 3, Wilkins, Brown, Carmichael). Steals: 7 (Allen 2, Moore 2, Threloff 2, Wilkins). Technical Fouls: None.

Wichita St.

34

34

68

Illinois St.

22

33

55

Att.–4,573. Officials–Zelton Steed, Hal Lusk, Jeff Campbell.

Work to do

WSU plays Drake at home on Saturday with nothing at stake — other than spoiling a big black-and-yellow party.

The game is sold out and the Shockers plan on cutting down nets and enjoying the MVC title with 10,000-plus fans.

A loss to Drake would serve as a monumental buzz kill.

“They’re not going to roll over,” WSU senior Toure Murry said. “We’ve just got to play 40 minutes, and cut those nets after the game.”

There is also history to play for on Saturday.

WSU’s 15 MVC wins are its most since the 1982-83 Shockers went 17-1. No other team won more than 14. The Valley is playing an 18-game schedule for the 22nd season and only three teams won 16 or more Valley games.

David with a big D

Wednesday didn’t start out great for Shocker guard David Kyles.

His back hurt, a pain he blamed on his hotel bed. He spent shootaround watching and stretching with trainer Todd Fagan.

By game time, it felt better. Kyles made his biggest contribution on defense. When Illinois State’s Tyler Brown hit two threes in the second half, coach Gregg Marshall summoned Kyles to guard him.

“David was locked in tonight,” Marshall said. “He appeared ready on both ends of the floor.”

Brown, who averages 13.1 points, finished with eight on 2-of-7 shooting.

“I just wanted to play hard,” Kyle said. “I wanted to get that title for Toure (Murry), because he was out with foul trouble.”

Different on defense

The Shockers remembered Nic Moore’s performance in Koch Arena. The freshman scored 23 points and led a second-half comeback that fell short in a 65-62 loss on Jan. 10.

Moore’s prominence in the scouting report rose. On Wednesday, he scored one point. He missed all four his shots in 22 minutes.

“We just didn’t relax, on the ball or off the ball,” WSU guard Joe Ragland said. Everywhere he went, we tried to get to him. From what I remember, he had one open shot. At home, he probably had four of those same looks.”

Worth noting

WSU center Garrett Stutz recorded his 11th double-double, most by a Shocker since Steve Grayer had 11 in 1988-89.… Two Shockers sat out with injuries. Junior James Anacreon remains slowed by a groin injury. Freshman Evan Wessel dislocated the pinky finger on his left hand in Monday’s practice.… Illinois State sophomore Jon Ekey returned to the starting lineup after a one-game absence. He scored 19 off the bench in Saturday’s win over Oakland. He didn’t score Wednesday.… WSU is 46 of 86 from three-point range in its past five games.

— Paul Suellentrop

More information

Drake in the way

WSU and Drake often intersect when the Shockers are putting the finishing touches on MVC titles.

•  In 1964, the Shockers defeated Drake 58-50 in an MVC playoff between the co-champs at Allen Fieldhouse to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

•  In 1965, WSU, with the title already secure, ends the regular season with a 76-74 overtime win over Drake.

•  In 1976, the Shockers wrap up sole ownership of the championship with a 75-69 win at Drake.

•  In 2006, Paul Miller’s tip-in in the final seconds gives WSU a 60-58 win at Drake and secures a piece of the Valley title.

On Saturday afternoon, most Wichita State fans will sit through 40 minutes of basketball against Drake in order to enjoy the real fun. Senior day. Cutting down the nets. Celebrating a Missouri Valley Conference title.

Party like it’s 2006.

“There’s no party until we win that game,” senior guard Joe Ragland said.

Thanks for the reality check, Joe. Everybody who remembers the cheers, laughs, ladders and scissors from the 2006 title celebration, cool down.

No. 19 WSU (25-4, 15-2 MVC) must handle Drake (16-13, 9-8) to avoid an awkward moment. Five seniors who helped revive the program and lead WSU back to the top of the conference and into the NCAA Tournament surely don’t want to lose their final game at Koch Arena.

Unlike past seasons, this is the final home game of the season. Guaranteed. Ragland, Garrett Stutz, Ben Smith, Toure Murry and David Kyles say goodbye before hitting the road for tournament time in March. There will be no second acts in the CBI or NIT.

“It’s going to be special, and it’s that much more special because it’s senior night,” Kyles said after Wednesday’s 68-55 win at Illinois State.

Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. game sets up similarly to the one in 2006.

The Shockers clinched a share of the MVC title with a win at Drake three days earlier. They returned to Koch Arena to play in front of a crowd crazy to celebrate WSU’s first title since 1983 and send off a senior class that included center Paul Miller. Last-place Illinois State — with current Shocker assistant coach Dana Ford in the lineup — made it interesting before playing its appointed role. WSU won 64-57. Players celebrated with fans. Fans recorded every moment on cell phones. Miller told the story of how he committed to former coach Mark Turgeon on that same court five years earlier. Turgeon reminded everyone how voters picked WSU fifth in the preseason poll.

Then the nets came down. Turgeon later sent pieces of the net to former players, the ones who helped build the program.

“I remember we struggled early, and then we finally decided to start playing the way we were supposed to,” former Shocker Ryan Martin said. “It was more nerves than pressure. We did know what was at stake. We all wanted to win it so bad for Coach. We knew he deserved it.”

Six years later, the current Shockers will likely think many of the same thoughts.

“I remember everybody rushing the floor,” Martin, now an assistant coach at Northern Colorado, said. “I remember P.J. (Cousinard) and Cam (Ledford) on the scorer’s table. That’s what you play college basketball for. You play to win championships and cut down nets and play in the NCAA Tournament.”

Perhaps it is good that Drake is the opponent. The Shockers can’t forget the 93-86 triple-overtime loss on Jan. 28 in Des Moines. WSU shot miserably — 31 of 76 and 7 of 25 from three-point range. Their 18 turnovers (in 55 minutes) match a season high.

Drake forward Ben Simons scored 29 points. He missed five games with mononucleosis before playing against Southern Illinois on Wednesday. He scored 14 points to help Drake win 78-63.

“We have to beat them,” Ragland said. “The game that we lost at their place, we made a lot of mental mistakes. When they come to our place, we’re going to have to be ready.”

Drake is playing for bigger stakes than the Shockers. The Bulldogs are tied for third with Missouri State, but could drop as low as eighth with a loss. They are one of six teams that could finish 9-9 and leave tournament seedings to tiebreakers. Two of those six teams will join No. 9 Southern Illinois and No. 10 Bradley in the Thursday play-in games in St. Louis and face four games in four days to win the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

WSU has clinched the top seed, with Creighton locked in at No. 2. The top six teams begin tournament play on March 2 at the Scottrade Center. WSU’s game is at 12:05 p.m.

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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