Thursday’s box score
2236–58Wichita St. 38 34 – 72
Small to start
Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early returned to the starting lineup, replacing center Ehimen Orukpe.
La Salle’s four-guard lineup gave Orukpe no good options for a man to guard. Carl Hall moved to center and Early started as a counter to La Salle’s small look. He started his 20th game, the first since March 8 against Missouri State in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
On the bench
La Salle center Steve Zack was cleared to play on Wednesday after missing six games with a sprained left foot.
Coach John Giannini elected not to play him against WSU, even though his six may have helped. After practicing Wednesday, Zack tired quickly and woke up sore on Thursday.
“He had a lot of soreness,” Giannini said. “We didn’t think he could move well enough to help us.”
The big 3-0
Wichita State needs one win to set a school mark for victories in a season.
It tied the 2011 mark (29-8), set by the NIT champions, with Thursday’s win over La Salle.
The Shockers have won 25 or more games in four straight seasons, a first for the program. They are averaging 27.5 wins a season over the past four.
Shaq on their side
Recruit Shaq Morris, a center from Oklahoma City, will come to WSU versed in recent history.
He enthusiastically followed WSU in the tournament, recording his thoughts on his Twitter account.
“Mark my words WSU will be in the Elite 8 tomorrow,” he wrote on Wednesday.
During Thursday’s first game, he handed out a scouting report for the regional final.
“I want ohio state to win this one,” he wrote. “We match up with ohio state better.”
Len Elmore worked on the TBS broadcast with Reggie Miller and play-by-play man Kevin Harlan. Elmore, who played at Maryland, is the older brother of former WSU center Bob Elmore.… WSU improved to 11-10 in the NCAA Tournament, in its 10th appearance.… WSU improved to 2-2 against double-digit seeds in its past three NCAA appearances. It is 3-0 against higher seeds, beating a No. 1 (Gonzaga), No. 2 (Tennessee) and No. 8 (Pittsburgh).… WSU is 2-0 against La Salle.