WSU will count on the warm embrace of Koch Arena to end a three-game skid. It will be interesting to see how long that embrace lasts. We’ve seen home crowds that grow nervous and disenchanted in bad times. That grumbling can switch the pressure to the home team, especially in a close game. Lot of mental demons for the Shockers to beat down tonight and giving the crowd a reason to cheer will help. That means more than grabbing a lead. It means playing the way the fans grew to expect on offense and defense. Making shots will win over antsy fans. So will a few ripping hustle plays.
Missouri State (7-17, 5-7): Thurman, who played at Heights and Southeast, scored a season-high 21 points in WSU's 62-52 win on Dec. 23. He made 3 of 6 three-pointers. "We will make that more of priority that that doesn't happen," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. "He is a very talented player." Since that game, Thurman has averaged 7.3 points and is 3 of 13 from three-point range.... The Bears lost 48-37 at Northern Iowa on Tuesday, its lowest scoring game since 1952. They made 15 of 55 shots, 3 of 21 from three.... Downing scored 14 points in the earlier loss to WSU despite missing all six of his threes.
Wichita State (19-5, 8-4): The Shockers are home for the first time since a 68-55 loss to Indiana State on Jan. 29 ended a 19-game win streak at Koch Arena.... Early scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win at MSU. Hall came off the bench to score 15 points. WSU outscored the Bears 17-9 at the foul line.... WSU has won three straight over the Bears and Marshall is 10-3 against them.... The Shockers haven't lost three straight games since a six-game skid in 2009.
RPI as of Friday: MSU 221, WSU 41