Wichita State wasn’t playing a major threat when Seton Hall visited on Tuesday night, but not many Big East programs are brave enough to play that kind of true road game. Although unbeaten entering the contest, the Pirates quickly fell apart as the No. 11 Shockers controlled most of the game in a 77-68 win.
Seton Hall had another sensational performance from freshman guard Isaiah Whitehead on Tuesday night, as the McDonald’s All-American finished with 23 points, but the Pirates just didn’t have the depth to compete with Wichita State. This was especially apparent on the perimeter.
After a scoreless first half, junior guard Sterling Gibbs finally got comfortable and ended up with 19 mostly meaningless points and Seton Hall never recovered when the Shockers made a balanced run midway through the first half.
Wichita State led by as much as 21 points as junior guard Ron Baker had an outstanding effort, finishing with 22 points, four steals and three rebounds on 9-for-11 shooting. But Baker had plenty of help as junior point guard Fred VanVleet got back on track with 18 points, eight assists and four steals and senior forward Darius Carter had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
With VanVleet looking more confident on the offensive end, especially when he can score and distribute, this Shocker team is so dangerous when they get ahead early. This team is experienced and once they get a lead, they run a lot of time during offensive possessions and take smart shots. The Shocker defense also continues to force turnovers and a lot of pressure that helps them get out and run.
Seton Hall had an unbeaten record, but it was fool’s gold. They’ll be a solid Big East team, but one who ultimately can’t make a major push without some major help for Whitehead.
Still, this is a nice win for Wichita State. The Shockers get an SEC opponent with Alabama next week and beating power conference teams never looks bad for a team in a mid-major conference.