Wednesday’s box score
Evansville 59, Wichita St. 56
Percentages: FG .458, FT .700. 3-Point Goals: 8-14, .571 (Ryan 3-6, Balentine 3-6, Nelson 1-1, Jones 1-1). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 0. Turnovers: 12 (Ryan 4, Taylor 4, Balentine 2, Jones 2). Steals: 1 (Jones). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .382, FT .625. 3-Point Goals: 4-19, .211 (Williams 1-2, Cotton 1-3, Wiggins 1-3, Armstead 1-7, Hall 0-1, Early 0-3). Team Rebounds: 8. Blocked Shots: 3 (Orukpe 2, Hall). Turnovers: 13 (Cotton 3, Williams 2, Orukpe 2, Hall 2, White 2, Early, Wiggins). Steals: 8 (Armstead 5, Van Vleet 2, Early). Technical Fouls: None.
Att.–10,506. Officials–Randy McCall, Paul Janssen, Zelton Steed.
Wichita State lost on senior night for the first time since 2007, when Missouri State won 71-65.
Seniors Demetric Williams, Carl Hall, Malcolm Armstead and Ehimen Orukpe received framed jerseys, hugs from coach Gregg Marshall, president John Bardo and athletic director Eric Sexton before the game. Alongside family members and friends, they watched a highlight video on the scoreboard.
Did the emotions and distractions hurt the Shockers? Maybe.
“We came out a little flat,” Marshall said. “Jitters. We missed a layup. We threw the ball away on the very first possession. Just dropped it.”
Fouls also hurt. Williams, tasked with guarding Evansville star Colt Ryan, picked up two early in the first half and played only five minutes.
“There was a lot of emotion going around,” Williams said. “I started off slow and couldn’t really get the handle on the ball. Two quick fouls. Most of the first half, I had to sit.”
Williams didn’t lose many home games in his four seasons. This one will sting.
“I’m going to miss it,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to play here and play in front of all these fans.”
Kudos to Colt
Ryan normally carries an enormous burden for Evansville. His duties grew when senior guard Ned Cox couldn’t play because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
Ryan had to score, as usual. He also had to help handle the ball more than usual. As usual, he came up big. He made 10 of 18 shots and scored 29 points in 39 minutes.
“He’s a guy that takes a lot of attention from your defense,” Marshall said. “They do some really good stuff to get him shots.”
Ryan, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored 18 points in the first half to help the Aces build a 38-28 lead. While WSU’s Tekele Cotton limited him early in the second half, Ryan hurt the Shockers in the final 10 minutes. He scored seven of Evansville’s final 10 points after it fell behind 53-49.
“Like any senior, he sees it all coming to an end,” Evansville coach Marty Simmons said. “He wants the ball.”
Evansville swept the season series for the first time since 2001, snapping an 11-game losing streak in Wichita. The Aces improved to 2-7 in Valley road games and the Shockers fell to 15-2 at home and 7-2 in MVC games.… Ryan was the only Ace to reach double figures.… The Shockers out-rebounded Evansville 42-23 and committed one more turnover, 13-12. They scored 15 second-chance points off 18 offensive rebounds.
— Paul Suellentrop