Saturdays box score
No. 3 Wichita St. 83, Drake 54
Percentages: FG .419, FT .789. 3-Point Goals: 3-10, .300 (Daniels 2-2, Hawley 1-2, Berkeley 0-1, Caird 0-2, Carter 0-3). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 2 (Enevold Jensen 2). Turnovers: 20 (Berkeley 4, Caird 3, Enevold Jensen 2, Carter 2, Ugbede 2, Madison 2, Hawley 2, Daniels 2, VanDeest). Steals: 5 (Carter 2, Daniels, Hawley, Madison). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .525, FT .632. 3-Point Goals: 9-29, .310 (Wessel 2-2, Cotton 2-5, Baker 2-6, Green 1-2, Wiggins 1-6, VanVleet 1-6, Simon 0-1, Early 0-1). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 8 (Carter 4, Coleby 2, Wiggins, Cotton). Turnovers: 10 (Early 3, Baker 2, Wiggins 2, Cotton 2, Green). Steals: 10 (Cotton 7, VanVleet 3). Technical Fouls: None.
A10,506. OfficialsDan Chrisman, Brad Gaston, James Durham.
Pay attention to the coach
Rashard Kelly watched Saturdays pregame practice from a front-row seat. When not checking his phone, he got a lesson in the complexity of college basketball.
Youve really got to get locked in, he said. They take things seriously, and its not like basic high school sets and plays.
Kelly, a 6-foot-8 forward, signed with Wichita State in November. He plays for the post-graduate team at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, which is 30-8 entering Fridays First Piedmont Invitational in Chatham, Va. Kelly scored 17 points in their most recent game, a 93-56 win over Combine Academy.
Im trying to prepare myself for the next level, he said. Every game is a step closer. We press the whole game, so Im trying to play with the same intensity the whole game.
Kelly visited WSU in September. He came back on Saturday morning, with his parents, to experience a game at Koch Arena. On their way from Virginia, the family ran into Shocker fans flying to the game, their first taste of Shocker mania. Once in Wichita, theyve seen Shocker shirts everywhere.
A year ago, if you say Wichita State in Virginia, people are like, Who? he said. Now, its nationwide. Everywhere I go, everybody asks how the team is doing and if Im excited.
And more visitors
The Shockers entertained recruits of all ages on Saturday.
Forward Willie Atwood, from Connors (Okla.) State College, is the most immediate concern. The sophomore is attracting more attention each game, including schools such as Kansas State, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Creighton. Atwood, 6-foot-8, averages 20.6 points and 9.3 rebounds. He made his first visit to WSU.
Also on hand: Eisenhower senior guard Trevon Evans; Owasso (Okla.) junior guard Shake Milton; Mustang (Okla.) sophomores Jakolby Long, a guard, and Austin Meyer, a forward; and Andover Central sophomore guard Darraja Parnell.
Points from the post
Shocker centers score, as long as they dont start.
Entering Saturdays game, WSU starter hadnt scored a point in four straight games. Chadrack Lufile ended that drought with a basket early in the game. He finished with four points.
True to the recent trend, WSU got its post scoring off the bench. Darius Carter made 6 of 8 shots and scored 15 points.
Before Lufiles basket, Kadeem Coleby was the last starting center to score. He made a free throw at Indiana State on Feb. 5. He made a field goal, and scored four points, against Evansville on Feb. 1. Lufile was the last starting center to score double figures, 10 against Indiana State on Jan. 18.
The backup big men, however, did their part. In the past five games, either Darius Carter or Lufile came off the bench to score eight or more points. Carter averaged 13.3 points off the bench in those games. He went scoreless in his start at Evansville.
WSU won its eighth MVC title and second in the past three seasons. It also earned the No. 1 seed in the MVC Tournament in St. Louis. Coach Gregg Marshall joins former coach Gene Smithson, who won MVC titles in 1981 and 1983, as the lone Shocker coaches to win two conference championships WSU improved to 97-47 and 60-12 in Wichita against Drake. It has won five in a row over the Bulldogs WSUs Cleanthony Early, limited by fouls, scored a season-low three points. He failed to reach double figures for the third time this season. Early passed the 1,000-point mark for his career (now with 1,003) and is the first two-season transfer to do so WSU guard Fred VanVleet had six assists and no turnovers, giving him 20 and three the past three games.