Saturdays box score
No. 2 WSU 68, Missouri St. 45
Percentages: FG .314, FT .563. 3-Point Goals: 4-18, .222 (Gulley 2-5, Williams 1-1, Scheer 1-5, Thomas 0-1, Thurman 0-1, Mvouika 0-2, Ruder 0-3). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 2 (Thurman, Kirk). Turnovers: 9 (Gulley 3, Thurman 2, Mvouika 2, McCullough). Steals: 6 (Gulley 2, Scheer, Thomas, Ruder, Pickens). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .512, FT .613. 3-Point Goals: 5-18, .278 (Early 2-4, Baker 2-5, Cotton 1-4, Green 0-1, Wiggins 0-4). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 4 (Carter 3, Wessel). Turnovers: 16 (Early 4, Baker 3, Wessel 2, Wiggins 2, Coleby 2, Lufile, VanVleet, Cotton). Steals: 3 (Cotton 3). Technical Fouls: None.
A10,506. OfficialsBob Staffen, Randy Heimerman, KC Ely.
In this corner
Missouri States first possession ended with Wichita States Tekele Cotton stealing the ball, leading to a layup by Ron Baker. Jarmar Gulley missed a shot on the second possession.
WSU led 8-1 when Bears freshman center Tyler McCullough tried to make a move in traffic and stepped out of bounds.
The first five minutes went to the Shockers. So did the next 35. The first few minutes of senior day always make coaches nervous. Add in the hype surrounding the unbeaten season and its an emotional trap.
WSUs defense rose to the occasion against an opponent that had reason to feel confident based on the January meeting. WSU coaches noticed that MSU senior Keith Pickens appeared ready to battle during warmups. So did Jarmar Gulley. The coaches made sure the Shockers knew.
(Pickens) is down there bouncing like hes getting ready to do a prize fight, WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. He was into it. He looked ready. So I said, These guys are ready. They dont fear you. We have to play.
The Bears scored a season-low 45 points and shot a season-low 31.2 percent.
They werent getting any looks early in the game, WSU guard Ron Baker said. We kind of got them in a hole and we took off from there.
In the history books
The Shockers are locked in as a reference point for college basketball for years. Every team will measure its regular season against what they accomplished, until somebody manages to go 32-0 before the postseason.
The players are trying to savor that spot while keeping their minds on tournament play. The celebration in the locker room was one of those times to savor.
Well remember these things forever, WSU sophomore Fred VanVleet said. The way we played made everything better. I felt like we were pretty on point from the jump. We could have went around and slopped through the game and still come out with a win.
March has barely started and the Shockers enjoyed two lifetime celebrations cutting down nets after clinching the Missouri Valley Conference title and Saturdays regular-season finale. Junior Darius Carter wants to remember the moments, but the instinct to focus ahead is hard to break.
For the most part I look at it as another step towards a bigger goal that we have, he said.
Bob Knight on press row
ESPNs Bob Knight talked to the Shockers after practice on Friday. While he seemed to enjoy that, the highlight of his trip might have been hunting near Fall River. He was part of a group of three shooters, including WSU senior associate athletic director Darron Boatright, who shot 37 pheasants and 10 chukars at Flint Oak hunting club.
At Koch Arena, he watched the Shockers work out and interviewed coach Gregg Marshall. When he huddled with the team, he told them to embrace the opportunity ahead of them and be prepared to recover quickly from a win or a loss. He expressed admiration for their style of play.
I think you play basketball about as well as Ive seen basketball played in a long time, he said.
Missouri Valley Conference commissioner Doug Elgin presented the team with the regular-season championship trophy after the game. WSU signee Zach Brown, a forward from Sunrise Christian Academy, and Park Hill (Mo.) junior guard Landry Shamet visited Saturdays game. Brown, from Houston, will be a freshman at WSU next season. NBA scouts from San Antonio, Atlanta and Dallas had seats on press row The Shockers defeated MSU for the seventh straight time and lead the series 34-30 and 22-6 in Wichita. WSU is the highest-ranked team MSU played in the regular season. Carter came off the bench to score 10 points, his sixth straight game with nine or more points.