Saturday’s box score
Wichita St. 66, Illinois St. 51
Percentages: FG .291, FT .667. 3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Zeisloft 2-4, Carmichael 1-2, Ekey 1-3, Brown 1-4, Keane 0-1, Wilkins 0-1, Allen 0-4). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 8 (Carmichael 3, Ekey 2, Wilkins 2, Brown). Turnovers: 11 (Hill 4, Carmichael 2, Keane, Zeisloft, Wilkins, Ekey, Brown). Steals: 5 (Allen 2, Brown, Hill, Wilkins). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .411, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 5-15, .333 (Van Vleet 2-2, Early 1-2, Armstead 1-3, Baker 1-5, Williams 0-1, Cotton 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 7 (Early 3, Orukpe 2, Hall 2). Turnovers: 14 (Baker 3, Armstead 2, Cotton 2, Early, White, Van Vleet, Orukpe, Hall). Steals: 6 (Armstead 3, Williams 2, Hall). Technical Fouls: None.
Att.–18,262. Officials–John Higgins, Don Daily, Paul Janssen.
One more victory
Wichita State guard Demetric Williams sat in the corner of the locker room, a box of pepperoni pizza his reward.
Williams, already WSU’s winningest player with 108, won an NIT title, a Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title and played in the NCAA Tournament. That leaves one item unfinished for WSU’s lone four-year senior.
“From the beginning of the season, this is one of my goals,” he said. “I’ve saw people winning in my face my freshman year and I saw the emotion and how much that means. This is something I really want.”
WSU is 2-2 in championship games, losing to Creighton in 1981 in Omaha and Northern Iowa in 2010 in St. Louis. It defeated Tulsa, in Tulsa, in 1985 and 1987. Creighton has won 11 tournaments, losing once in the championship game, at Tulsa in 1984.
Maybe the buffalo wings revolted. Maybe the spaghetti churned away. Maybe something else caused the problems.
All Cleanthony Early knows is he didn’t feel right Friday morning and significantly worse after Friday’s quarterfinal game.
“I was throwing up,” he said. “I had diarrhea. I was super dehydrated. When I was throwing up, I threw up pretty much everything I ate.”
Early needed a shot and an IV. He didn’t think he was going to play as late as Saturday morning. He took a nap and woke up feeling woozy, but well enough to play.
“I warmed up with the guys prior to the game and I told Coach I could contribute at least a little bit,” he said. “I still feel a little weak and tired, but I’ll just go rest it off and do what I need to get ready for (Sunday).”
Early played 14 minutes and scored eight points with six rebounds and three blocks. On Friday, he played 21 minutes and scored five points in a 69-59 win over Missouri State.
“He just gutted it out,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said.
Gold, Jerry, gold
Marshall’s post-game news conference ended with a brief comedy riff on Creighton coach Greg McDermott, after a questioner referred to him instead of Doug, his son and Creighton’s leading scorer.
“If Greg McDermott scores, that will be good for us,” Marshall said. “There will be technical fouls.”
Then Marshall, smiling big, took off on the video shown during Creighton games with Greg McDermott, athletic director Bruce Rasmussen and university president Rev. Timothy Lannon doing the Gangnam Style dance, their heads superimposed on dancer’s bodies. Greg McDermott takes another star turn in a YouTube video showing him dunking in practice and celebrating with an airplane run.
“I know he can dance,” Marshall said. “I know he can dunk, too. He’s multi-talented, and a great coach.”
Down 17-1, Illinois State switched to a matchup zone that coach Dan Muller recently installed.
The move slowed down WSU’s offense and got the Shockers standing and dribbling. The Redbirds rallied, taking a 24-23 lead before trailing 26-24 at halftime.
“I thought it confused them a little bit,” Muller said. “That got us rebounding opportunities and we pushed the ball and scored. I thought if we could get going, see the ball go in the basket a couple times, we could go on a run.”
WSU figured out the zone in the second half, forcing the Redbirds out of it for some stretches. It made 12 of 27 shots in the second half, an improvement from the first half. More important, it cut down on turnovers, committing five in the second half after nine in the first half.
WSU swept the Redbirds in three meetings for the first time. Illinois State defeated every other MVC team at least once this season … WSU is 4-5 vs. the Redbirds in the tournament and trails the series 36-37.… Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael fouled out for the first time this season.… WSU guard Malcolm Armstead averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds against the Redbirds.
— Paul Suellentrop