Percentages: FG .396, FT .867. 3-Point Goals: 7-25, .280 (Brown 3-5, Moore 3-6, Allen 1-6, Hill 0-1, Ekey 0-1, Upshaw 0-1, Blue 0-1, Wilkins 0-2, Cousin 0-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 0. Turnovers: 9 (Brown 3, Carmichael 2, Wilkins 2, Threloff, Moore). Steals: 4 (Cousin 2, Brown, Carmichael). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .415, FT .773. 3-Point Goals: 4-18, .222 (Williams 1-2, Ragland 1-3, Smith 1-4, Kyles 1-6, Stutz 0-1, Murry 0-2). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 4 (Stutz 4). Turnovers: 8 (Murry 3, Ragland 2, Hall, Smith, Williams). Steals: 3 (Murry, Williams, Stutz). Technical Fouls: None.
Att.–10,078. Officials–Tom Eades, Kelly Self, Zelton Steed.
Cooking at home
Wichita State started the game playing like a team determined to put its home issues behind it.
The Shockers pressed. They rebounded. They ran a layup drill on the Redbirds. The crowd loved it and home-court advantage kicked in against a team without a senior.
“Very, very poor first half,” Redbirds coach Tim Jankovich said. “Nothing we felt was important was getting done.”
The Shockers led 11-0 on two free throws by Carl Hall. David Kyles made a three for a 22-5 lead with 14:01 to play. Illinois State cut it tol 31-20 and the Shockers went on another run, building the lead to 38-22 at halftime.
“We got a lot of transition (baskets) and we defended them well,” WSU guard Joe Ragland said.
It’s a rookie
Freshman Nic Moore is enjoying a fine season and has a chance to grow into one of the Valley’s better point guards. WSU just didn’t want that growth to happen after halftime.
“I don’t know what sparked Nic Moore,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “He certainly saved his energy and his heroics for the second half.”
Moore led all scorers with 23 points. He scored 20 in the second half when he made 6 of 8 shots and two three-pointers.
“We know he’s capable of that,” Jankovich said. “That’s not luck.”
Tuesday’s game didn’t start well for Moore. WSU senior Joe Ragland forced Jankovich to sit Moore for defensive deficiencies.
Ragland scored and drew a foul on Moore to start the onslaught. The free throw gave WSU a 7-0 lead. After Moore, trapped at halfcourt, threw away a pass, Ragland drove by him for a layup.
Moore came out after picking up his second foul and didn’t return for the rest of the half. He didn’t start the second half, returning with 13:08 to play.
Evidently, Moore used that time to gather himself. He scored five straight points to cut WSU’s lead to 48-38.
He was just getting started.
WSU senior Toure Murry returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench the past two games. He took the assignment of guarding Tyler Brown, Illinois State’s second-leading scorer.
Brown wasn’t a factor early in the game with Murry chasing him. He missed his first shot and didn’t score until WSU led 30-14.
Redbirds forward Jon Ekey, playing with a sprained left ankle, came off the bench for the second time this season. WSU defeated Illinois State for the fifth straight time.