WSU senior Nick Wiggins scored 10 points off the bench on Tuesday.Key statistics: The Salukis missed 10 of 24 fouls shots, or else things might have played out much differently. WSU made 6 of 13 threes in the second half. While SIU only committed 13 turnovers, they led to 23 Shocker points.
How the game turned: WSU scored on its final six possessions to turn a 64-61 lead into a 78-67 win. The key sequence started with Nick Wiggins’ three to make it 67-61. WSU’s Tekele Cotton pressured Anthony Beane into a missed jumper, denying SIU the kind of response that kept the game close. Cotton made two free throws on the next possession for a 69-61 lead with 2:55 to play.
Records: WSU 26-0, 13-0 MVC; SIU 10-16, 6-7
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It is becoming more common to see opponents winning 50-50 balls from the Shockers in recent games. SIU, a solid rebounding team despite its lack of size, out-hustled the Shockers at several times and kept the rebounding stat close before losing 32-29. On Saturday, the Shockers dominated Northern Iowa on the boards after a close first half. Indiana State out-rebounded WSU 41-35 and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds to WSU’s four. The Shockers are talented enough to win with equality on the boards, but that’s not how the program got to this point. “They’re playing really hard and they really want to win,” WSU forward Cleanthony Early said. “They’re rebounding and they’re playing tough. We get kind of get smacked in the face by that. We stay strong and try to punch them back.”WSU guard Ron Baker missed three three-pointers and committed four turnovers in 14 minutes in the first half. He finished with 19 points, making 3 of 8 threes, and five turnovers. “He’s going at least one dribble too far, at times,” Marshall said. “He’s trying to make a spectacular play or a spectacular pass and he’s open coming off the ball screen. Shoot the basketball. That’s what you do. You’re not Magic Johnson – yet. Just shoot the ball.” Baker needed to be a little more decisive in those situations and shoot open shots, he said. “I was making too many extra passes off the dribble,” he said. “Coach gets on me like that and people think he’s barking at me. He’s just coaching.”
Next up: at Evansville, 4 p.m. Sunday (Fox Sports Kansas City)