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Rested Wichita State ready to get back to work

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, at 7:41 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 6:22 p.m.

Photos

Davidson at No. 10 Wichita State

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Koch Arena

Records: DU 4-8, WSU 12-0

Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM

TV: Cox 22

Davidson at No. 10 Wichita State

PDavidsonHt.Yr.PtsReb
FDe’Mon Brooks6-7Sr.16.26.0
FChris Czerapowicz6-7Sr.8.04.3
GBrian Sullivan5-11So.14.31.9
GTyler Kalinoski6-4Jr.10.86.1
G Tom Droney6-6Sr.11.93.8
Wichita St.
FCleanthony Early6-8Sr.15.36.3
FTekele Cotton6-3Jr.10.85.1
CDarius Carter6-7Jr.7.95.2
GRon Baker6-5So.14.14.3
G Fred VanVleet6-1So.11.5x-5.3

x-assists

Davidson (4-8): The Wildcats visit Koch Arena on the return game from the 2012 BracketBusters, a 91-74 WSU victory. Czerapowicz scored 17 points and Brooks added 10 in that game. Kalinoski, from Olathe East, leads the team in rebounds, assists (39) and steals (17). He shoots a team-leading 42.9 percent (15 of 35) from three-point range. Opponents are making 50.2 percent of their shots and 38.9 percent of their three-pointers against Davidson, which surrenders 81.8 points a game. Sullivan made 7 of 14 threes in to score a career-high 33 points in last week’s 97-85 loss at North Carolina. Brooks played 28 minutes and scored 13 points in his first game back after missing six with a groin injury. He is the preseason Southern Conference Player of the Year after averaging 16.8 points as a junior. Coach Bob McKillop is in his 25th season at Davidson.

Wichita State (12-0): C Kadeem Coleby, who played three minutes in a week ago to protect an injured big toe, is practicing and is exxpected to play, WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. Early left Saturday’s practice early due to an illness, but is expected to play. Baker continues to skip some practice segments while recovering from a sprained left ankle. “We’re treating him with kid gloves,” Marshall said. While the Shockers are rewriting the school record books, the Missouri Valley Conference is a higher standard. WSU’s 12-0 start ties it for 18th in MVC history with four other schools. Indiana State’s 33-0 record in 1978-79 is No. 1. Six schools started 13-0, most recently Indiana State in 1977-78. Three Shockers are shooting 80 percent or better from the foul line — VanVleet (8.57), Baker (83.3) and Early (82.8). WSU averages 9.9 turnovers a game, fewest in the MVC. It leads the conference in turnover margin (plus-3.50) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

Wichita State senior Nick Wiggins ran with his mother, a former Olympian. He talked basketball with his father, a former NBA player. He spent Christmas in Toronto, with his family together for the first time since May.

If that sounds like a good way to hit the refresh button on a season, Wiggins agrees. He is back from the break intent of breaking out of a shooting slump nobody saw coming. No. 10 Wichita State (12-0) plays Davidson (4-8) at 2 p.m. Sunday at Koch Arena in its final non-conference game.

“Now it’s back to business,” he said. “You love to be 12-0, but you also want to be playing well, individually.”

Wiggins, a 6-foot-6 guard, earned a spot on the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench team last season, primarily because of his sweet shooting touch. He made 31 of 74 (41.9 percent) of his three-pointers and averaged 4.9 points. This season, Wiggins’ shots are bouncing off the rim, often after teasing him, at a discouraging rate.

“They go in, and it’s like someone’s on the basket just hitting them out,” he said.

That invisible defender has been busy messing with Wiggins. He is 6 of 29 from three (20.7 percent) and went through a four-game stretch without a three before making 1 of 3 in last week’s win over North Carolina Central. His accuracy at the foul line is also slipping, down from 73 percent last season to 52 percent (13 of 25) this season.

“The only solution I have is hard work,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “You’ve got to put in time and you’ve got to groove your stroke. You’ve got to regain your confidence, or your karma or your mojo. I’ve seen him make them for a year-and-a-half that he’s been with us and now, all of sudden, he can’t knock one down.”

Wiggins said he went through a stretch similar to this in junior college. He worked through it and he says he is confident this slump will end soon. The Shockers need bench scoring and so far neither Wiggins nor junior Evan Wessel is shooting well from behind the arc.

“I’m in the gym,” Wiggins said. “I feel like it’s about to turn around for me. I know what I’ve got to to do to fix it. Stay in the gym. Not hesitating. Playing with confidence.”

His family hit him with that message over the break. Mitchell Wiggins, his father, played in junior college before transferring to Clemson and then Florida State. He played six seasons in the NBA. Marita Payne-Wiggins, his mother, won two silver medals for Canada as a sprinter in the 1984 Olympics.

“(Mitchell) had ups and downs, but he never stopped believing in himself,” Nick Wiggins said. “It’s really good for me to have that, that background of athletes in my family that have been through the stuff I’m going through now.”

The Shockers will try to tie the 1982-83 team for the second-longest win streak in program history on Sunday. The record is 14, set by the 1953-54 team.

Davidson has lost three straight games, part of a non-conference schedule that includes losses to then-No. 4 Duke, then-No. 25 Virginia, then-No. 19 New Mexico and then-No. 14 North Carolina.

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

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