Friday’s box score
No. 2 WSU 80, Evansville 58
Percentages: FG .368, FT .692. 3-Point Goals: 7-16, .438 (Balentine 7-14, Simmons 0-1, Ptacek 0-1). Team Rebounds: 8. Blocked Shots: 3 (Howard 2, Mockevicius). Turnovers: 12 (Gibson 6, Balentine 2, Brown 2, Moore, Simmons). Steals: 4 (Mockevicius 2, Simmons, Howard). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .509, FT .560. 3-Point Goals: 10-21, .476 (Baker 4-6, Cotton 3-5, Early 2-5, VanVleet 1-3, Green 0-1, Wiggins 0-1). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 11 (Coleby 6, Early 2, Carter, Lufile, Cotton). Turnovers: 9 (Baker 2, Early 2, VanVleet 2, Lufile 2, Bush). Steals: 9 (VanVleet 4, Wessel, Early, Lufile, Cotton, Baker). Technical Fouls: None.
A—NA. Officials—Mike Stuart, Mark Whitehead, Kipp Kissinger.
Wichita State converted three three-point plays and two four-point plays. Credit tough practices as finishing school.
“There's not a line item for referees in our practice in our budget,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said.
WSU forward Cleanthony Early contributed a four-point play for a 23-20 lead. His steal and layup led to another and a 35-25 lead.
“We don't get any foul calls in practice,” Early said. “It's like I'm trying to make the basket regardless because I feel like I might not get the foul call. Sometimes you get lucky and you get the foul call and the ball goes in the basket.”
Send it away
Wichita State’s 11 blocks set a tournament record, moving Creighton (1984) and Illinois State (2009) back in the record books with 10.
Kadeem Coleby’s six tie him with Creighton’s Gregory Echenique in second place for single-game blocks. Echenique blocked six in 2013 against Drake and again against WSU.
“Having Kadeem back there and C.J. (Lufile) really helped tonight especially, and it's been that way all season when we want to extend pressure,” WSU guard Fred VanVleet said. “Got to have some erasers back there.”
WSU’s 11 blocks ranks in a tie for sixth in program history, matching a 1962 effort against Drake. The Shockers have blocked 170 shots this season, second on the season list.
VanVleet briefly left the game midway through the second half and received some attention from trainer Todd Fagan. No big deal, he said.
“I think I just tried to get a rebound or a loose ball and just fell straight on my back, but I'm fine,” he said.
Evansville guard D.J. Balentine suffered a hip pointer late in the game.
• WSU makes its ninth trip to the semifinals since 1991 and its 16th since the tournament started. It has played in five championship games.
• WSU improves to 28-32 in the MVC Tournament and is 1-1 vs. Evansville. The Aces are 6-20 in the tournament.
• The Shockers made 50.9 percent of their shots and are 8-0 when shooting 50 percent or better.
• Aces center Egidius Mockevicius scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, his MVC-leading 10th double-double.