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Shocker report (Feb. 16)

  • Published Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, at 8:19 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, at 12:14 p.m.

Sunday’s box score

No. 4 Wichita St. 84, Evansville 68


Percentages: FG .491, FT .952. 3-Point Goals: 8-19, .421 (Baker 3-6, VanVleet 2-3, Cotton 2-4, Early 1-3, Wessel 0-1, Wiggins 0-2). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 4 (Coleby 2, Carter, Baker). Turnovers: 8 (VanVleet 2, Baker 2, Wiggins 2, Cotton, Early). Steals: 14 (VanVleet 5, Baker 5, Cotton 2, Simon, Lufile). Technical Fouls: None.


Percentages: FG .511, FT .938. 3-Point Goals: 5-11, .455 (Balentine 3-6, Simmons 2-4, Wing 0-1). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 2 (Wing, Moore). Turnovers: 18 (Gibson 5, Simmons 4, Balentine 2, Wing 2, Brown, Mockevicius, Moore, Howard). Steals: 3 (Wing, Gibson, Balentine). Technical Fouls: None.

Wichita St.384684

A—8,802. Officials—John Higgins, David Hall, Don Daily.

Guest from Evansville’s student body

A rare visitor sat in on Wichita State’s morning practice from a court-side seat — and he wore a purple Evansville jersey, No. 21.

Evansville senior Bryce Weiler, blind from birth, struck up a relationship with many big-time coaches through his association with the Evansville team, his work on a student radio station and pure persistence. He owns a piece of the nets from Butler’s 2010 and 2011 Final Four appearances, courtesy of former coach Brad Stevens. He brought a national championship ring from Louisville given to him by coach Rick Pitino.

As a freshman, Weiler asked to sing the national anthem before the game against WSU. He met Marshall and kept in touch through the WSU basketball office.

“Coach Marshall had been so nice to my friend (former Aces manager Sean Behensky), so I picked to sing for him,” Weiler said. “Most road coaches don’t talk to any managers. He was just sitting on the bench one day, and Coach Marshall started talking to him.”

On Sunday, Weiler visited with Fox Sports Midwest play-by-play man John Rooney before the game. During the game, he took his seat on the Aces bench, where manager Colton O’Day describes the action for him. Weiler, a sports management and sports communication, graduates in May and wants to find a career in the field. He does color for Evansville women’s basketball and women’s soccer

“Finding a job being the analyst for a radio network would be hard, because I’m not a former player, and since I cannot see,” he said. “I’m just going to broadcast as many different games as I can and, hopefully, find a job in marketing to keep me around college basketball and sports.”

Of all the souvenirs, a piece of the net from Louisville’s title last season is his favorite.

“For Coach Pitino to think of me during his celebration … that touched me a lot that he would put me into his celebrations and think of me,” Weiler said.

Complete game from Cleanthony

Marshall had a recent conversation with Indiana Pacers scout Carl Nicks, who came to Sunday’s game to get a second look at WSU senior Cleanthony Early. Nicks, Marshall said, wanted to know about Early’s defense.

“I made sure I put that bug in his ear before the game,” Marshall said.

Early scored 13 points, 10 in the second half, and grabbed seven rebounds. His defense got Marshall pumped. Early’s mental game sometimes sags on defense, Marshall said. Not on Sunday, and not against a difficult opponent.

“He was focused and in tune with what we were trying to do the entire time,” he said. “It gave us five guys all over the court that were playing with that same focus. When he does that, man, he’s really good.”

Early only took three shots in the first half. Point guard Fred VanVleet didn’t notice Early letting a lack of shots affect his effort on defense.

“Those stops, and the way he was playing on that end, helps us just as much as him scoring,” VanVleet said.

Deadly from the line

The teams combined to make 35 of 37 foul shots. WSU made 20 of 21, 95.2 percent. Evansville made 15 of 16, 93.8 percent.

WSU’s performance ranks ninth in program history, moving ahead of a 2011 game at Indiana State in which it made 15 of 16.

VanVleet made all six of his attempts and is 54 of 66 (81.8 percent) from the line in 14 MVC games. Ron Baker made all three of his to improve to 38 of 43 (88.4 percent) in MVC play. The miss came from Early, who made 4 of 5 and is 68 of 79 (86.1 percent) in conference games.

Early’s miss, in the first half, cost the Shockers the top spot in the record books. The most foul shots made without a miss is a 17-for-17 performance against Creighton in 2012. After the miss, WSU made its final 15 fouls shots.

Worth noting

WSU improved to a nation’s best 36-8 in road games since the 2010-11 season … WSU swept the season series for the third time in the past four seasons, and after getting swept last season … WSU center Darius Carter started for the first time since Jan. 8 at Illinois State and didn’t score. Chadrack Lufile came off the bench to score eight points in 10 minutes. Kadeem Coleby, who started the previous four games at center, scored two points in 19 minutes.

-Paul Suellentrop

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