Wednesday’s box score
No. 5 Wichita St. 70,
Illinois St. 55
Percentages: FG .404, FT .684. 3-Point Goals: 11-27, .407 (Early 6-9, Baker 2-7, Wiggins 1-3, VanVleet 1-4, Cotton 1-4). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 5 (Wiggins 2, Carter, Baker, Lufile). Turnovers: 13 (Early 4, Cotton 3, Baker 2, Wiggins, Lufile, VanVleet, Coleby). Steals: 4 (Cotton, VanVleet, Lufile, Baker). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .322, FT .696. 3-Point Goals: 1-25, .040 (Lofton 1-6, Keane 0-2, Lee 0-2, Hunter 0-3, Zeisloft 0-5, Knight 0-7). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 5 (Jones 2, Lynch 2, Lofton). Turnovers: 9 (Wills 2, Hunter 2, Zeisloft 2, Lynch, Lee, Knight). Steals: 5 (Lee, Knight, Lofton, Lynch, Hunter). Technical Fouls: Wills.
A—9,510. Officials—Mike Stuart, Tom Eades, Randy Heimerman.
Who is that team?
Cleanthony Early said the Shockers didn’t recognize the team wearing yellow jerseys in the first half.
Nobody did. One of the nation’s best ball-handling team looked flustered and out of control at times. Credit Illinois State’s quickness and aggressive defense, fueled by season’s biggest crowd of 9,510, with bothering the Shockers.
“In the first half, I think we got a little sped up,” WSU guard Fred VanVleet said. “Trying too hard, I think, was the problem. Everybody was trying to make the right play and sometimes over-passing.”
At the first media timeout, Wichita State had more turnovers (five) than shots attempted (four). Four minutes later, WSU had seven turnovers and four made baskets and trailed 14-11. With 7:09 remaining in the first half, WSU trailed 18-15 after committing eight turnovers that led to eight points for the Redbirds.
At the half, WSU had 11 turnovers while making 9 of 24 shots.
The Redbirds led 28-25 at halftime. They pulled off a nifty play in the final seconds, hitting Reggie Lynch near halfcourt, who passed to Bobby Hunter speeding toward the basket. Hunter’s layup with one second remaining energized the crowd one more time before the break.
The Shockers felt good only trailing by three. That feeling was justified 20 minutes later.
“We were fired up going into halftime and had some momentum,” Hunter said. “We talked about staying focused and coming out in the second half and winning the first four-minute war. We came out flat and that hurt us.”
Early on the list
Early is on the Wooden Award’s midseason watch list of 25 players.
The award will be announced the weekend of April 11-12. A Wooden Award All-America team, with 10 players, will be announced during the NCAA Tournament. The final ballot will consist of around 20 players, including additions from later this season.
Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins are also on the list of 25.
Early, a forward from Middletown, N.Y., averaged 15.3 points and 6.6 rebounds entering Wednesday’s game.
WSU trailed at halftime for the seventh time. Wednesday’s attendance of 9,510 was the largest since 2010 at Redbird Arena. The Shockers ended Illinois State’s seven-game home win streak. WSU is the highest-ranked team to play at Redbird Arena. Illinois State is 10-53 against ranked teams.WSU defeated the Redbirds for the fifth straight time and took the series lead 38-37. It has won nine of the past 10 meetings. Illinois State guard Zach Lofton is 7 of 29 from the field and 2 of 14 from three-point range in two games against WSU this season.