Wednesday’s box score
Take a shot
Ehimen Orukpe walked off the court greeted by smiling teammates and a fist bump from coach Gregg Marshall, wearing a look that said “That is why you work so hard – a moment like that.”
It wasn’t after one of Orukpe’s five blocks. Or his eight rebounds. Orukpe earned that welcome from the bench for a 10-foot jumper he swished to give WSU a 52-46 lead.
“That felt so good,” he said.
Orukpe, who rarely scores on anything other than putbacks and shots around the rim, got open when Iowa concentrated its defense on Carl Hall near the basket. Orukpe’s job is to move to the open space in the middle of the lane. He took the pass, turned and shot without hesitation.
“I don’t have the green light to shoot it, but I just felt it,” he said.
Marshall didn’t expect any of it.
“I was shocked he took it, for one,” Marshall said. “Then when he made it, it might have shocked me a little more.”
Consider how Iowa coach Fran McCaffery felt.
“I had never seen him take a jumper,” he said. “He drilled it just like Reggie Miller.”
Orukpe sprained his right ankle late in the game. He posed for pictures with the ankle wrapped in ice and two teammates helped him off the floor. In the dressing room, he sat with it propped up, waiting on crutches.
“I jumped and landed on somebody’s foot and it just rolled my whole ankle,” he said.
Orukpe will get plenty of time to heal. The Shockers don’t play until Nov. 28 when Tulsa visits Koch Arena.
In the old Levitt Arena, WSU once hung a banner for winning the 1963 All-College Tournament. Winning that late December tournament, which often featured some of the nation’s top teams, was big deal in its glory days.
In 1963, the Shockers defeated Montana State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma City to win it. Nobody knew they wouldn’t win another one outside of their home arena until Wednesday. The Shockers talked about that drought at halftime.
“Forty-nine years ago,” Cleanthony Early said. “Coach talked about that, that we had an opportunity to make something special happen. We made it happen.”
WSU last won an in-season tournament in 1998, when it defeated Mercer and Western Illinois to win the Cessna Classic at home. Since then, WSU played in nine tournaments without winning one.
Western Kentucky took third place in the Riviera Division with a 70-61 win over DePaul.
Jamal Crook led the Hilltoppers with 16 points. Cleveland Melvin led DePaul (2-3) with 22 points.
WSU leads the series with Iowa 5-4.…WSU’s 75 points are the most allowed by the Hawkeyes this season.… WSU guard Ron Baker went 0 for 4 from three-point range. He is 3 for 16 from behind the arc since making 6 of 14 in his first two games.… Iowa sophomore Gabe Olaseni played at Sunrise Christian.… Iowa assistant Sherman Dillard coached Indiana State from 1994-97.… The Shockers will remain in Cancun until Saturday and take a light practice day on Friday after an off day.