Cleanthony Early

Wichita State remains unbeaten after road victory against Saint Louis

1 Comment

The No. 12 Wichita State Shockers left Saint Louis with a hard-fought 70-65 win after 40 minutes of physical play.

The Shockers ended up coughing the ball up 18 times, were hit with foul trouble  and Cleanthony Early struggled for the majority of the game, yet they were able to make several plays down the stretch, and make some key stops to pick up an impressive road victory over one of the favorites in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Saint Louis took advantage of Wichita State miscues and Ron Baker sitting on the bench with three fouls to take a seven-point lead with a little more than six minutes to play. The Shockers hung tough, by battling on the boards, ending with a 37-28 edge and using zone defense made it tough on Billikens offense.

Late in the game, while its defense forced enough stops, while several players began to make plays down the stretch to remain unbeaten this season.

Four straight free throws cut the lead to 58-55.Then Early finally got going when he attacked the basket, getting fouled by Rob Loe, which was his fifth.Early connected on a jumper to put the Shockers’ next possession to go up 60-58. That lead would be brief after Jordair Jett responded with a three of his own.

Baker, who had a game-high 22 points, took control with two strong drives. The first gave Wichita State the lead after he missed the initial attempt before getting fouled and hitting one of two shots.

The next bucket came with a minute to go, Baker drove and dished to the baseline, only to receive a pass back on the baseline, where he went up, absorbed the contact and put in a bucket to give the Shockers a 66-64 lead.

Wichita State picks up a second quality non-conference win in as many games after holding BYU to 62 points, and limiting Tyler Haws in Tuesday night’s CBE Hall of Fame Classic win. The Shockers aren’t done with its non-conference slate with a matchup against Tennessee in two weeks.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
Leave a comment

Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Leave a comment

Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: