Fred VanVleet

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.

No. 21 Wichita State runs away from Southern Illinois, 76-55

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) There were many reasons Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson could point to in trying to explain how his team, tied for second in the Missouri Valley Conference, has lost to Wichita State twice this season, each time by more than 20 points.

One stood out Wednesday night after No. 21 Wichita State’s 76-55 victory over the Salukis.

“It’s their length,” Hinson said. “We just don’t run up against anybody else in our league that has that kind of length.”

Fred VanVleet had 12 points and 11 assists to lead the Shockers (17-5, 11-0 Missouri Valley) to their 12th straight victory. Shaquille Morris had a season-high 13 points and fellow center Anton Grady added 10 points for Wichita State

Anthony Beane scored 15 of his game-high 20 point in the first half for Southern Illinois (18-6, 7-4). Bola Olaniyan had seven points and 16 rebounds for the Salukis, helping them outrebound the conference’s top rebounding team 48-31.

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said his team’s length showed on the defensive end.

“Our defense was phenomenal, especially in the second half,” Marshall said. “That really carried the day.”

Beane, who was 3 of 10 in the first matchup against Wichita State, was hot early. He scored 10 of Southern Illinois’ first 12 points, going 4 of 5 from the field.

Beane’s hot hand helped the Salukis stay close. Tyler Smithpeters’ steal and layup cut Wichita State’s lead to 20-19 with 8:39 remaining in the first half.

The Shockers then locked down Southern Illinois. During a stretch of more than 8 minutes, the Salukis had two baskets. One was tipped in by a Shocker going for a rebound. The other was a layup by Smithpeters when he rebounded an airball all alone.

“We wanted to take them out of their offense,” VanVleet said.

Wichita State methodically went on a 14-4 run, capped by Morris’ fade-away, banked jumper for a 34-23 lead with 2:14 remaining in the half.

Wichita State led 37-28 at halftime and quickly advanced the margin into double digits. A 3 by Evan Wessel and Morris converting an alley-oop pass made it 42-28, and Southern Illinois took a timeout just 71 seconds into the half.

The Shockers made seven free throws to make it 49-31 and four straight points from Grady gave Wichita State a 53-34 lead with 14:11 to play.

“Our guards were really pounding the ball down to Shaq and me,” Grady said. “They were dropping the ball down to us and giving us good opportunities.”

Just over 6 minutes later, 3-pointers by Wessel and VanVleet pushed the lead to 64-42 with 7:57 remaining.

“I’m not going to fault our guys at all,” Hinson said. “The first game, we didn’t compete. Tonight, we fought our butts off. We just turned it over 22 times, and that will kill you.”

MARSHALL TOPS LIST

Marshall reached 221 victories, giving him more than any coach in Wichita State history. Hall of Famer Ralph Miller went 220-133 at Wichita State from 1951-64.

Marshall is 221-81 in nine seasons with the Shockers. He won 194 games in 10 seasons at Winthrop, where he is also the career leader in victories.

“It means a lot to equal a legend like Coach Miller,” Marshall said, “a guy who made basketball important here when he came from (Wichita) East High.”

STILL STREAKING

This was Wichita State’s first home game since Arizona lost to visiting Oregon on Jan. 28. That snapped the longest homecourt winning streak in the country at 49 games, giving the Shockers the current mark.

Wichita State extended it to 43 straight home victories.

TIP-INS

Southern Illinois: The Salukis have lost eight straight games against ranked opponents. The last victory was a 64-62 decision over No. 22 Wichita State on Feb. 5, 2013. . Southern Illinois entered the game averaging 76.3 points, nearly 16 more than last season.

Wichita State: The Shockers have won 19 straight regular-season conference games. . Ron Baker had 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting Jan. 9 at Southern Illinois. On Wednesday, he had nine points on 2-of-10 shooting.

UP NEXT

Southern Illinois hosts Loyola on Saturday.

Wichita State travels to Illinois State on Saturday

WEEKLY AWARDS: Buddy Hield stars again, Oregon’s big week.

(AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

Saturday was arguably the best day of college basketball that we’ve seen this season and no player shined brighter than Hield. He had 32 points for the No. 1 Sooners, hitting five straight threes down the stretch in a come-from-behind win over Ben Simmons and LSU. That followed up a performance against a scrappy Texas Tech team where Hield popped off for 30 points on just 12 shots from the floor.

This was peak-Buddy, and to get an idea of just how good peak-Buddy is, think about it like this: offensive rating is a metric used at KenPom to determine just how efficient a player is with the possessions that he uses. Usage rate is a statistic that determines what percentage of possessions end with that player — shots taken, turnovers, fouls drawn, etc. No one in KenPom’s database, which dates back 13 seasons, has posted a higher offensive rating than Hield’s 127.8 with a usage rate above 28.0 percent. Not J.J. Redick or Adam Morrison in 2006. Not Stephen Curry in any of his three seasons. Not Jimmer Fredette in 2011. Not Doug McDermott. Not Frank Kaminsky. Not anyone.

There’s more: He’s now averaging 26.2 points for the nation’s No. 1 team while shooting 52.4 percent from three and taking more than eight threes per game! 

After this week, the question is no longer whether or not Hield can win the National Player of the Year award. Now you have to ask yourself just what kind of magic Kris Dunn or Ben Simmons will have to pull off in order to catch Hield.

THE ‘ALL THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM

  • Fred VanVleet, Wichita State: The Shockers took firm control of the Missouri Valley this week, most notably as they won in dominating fashion at Evansville, who many believed was the one team that could push them this season. VanVleet finished with a career-high 32 points at Evansville.
  • Wayne Selden, Kansas: Selden struggled in the loss at Iowa State on Monday night, but he more than made up for it with his 33-point performance in the overtime win over Kentucky on Saturday night.
  • Prince Ibeh, Texas: Ibeh is making Texas fans forget about Cameron Ridley. He averaged 15.0 points, 10.5 boards and 3.5 blocks in wins over Vanderbilt TCU, which followed up his seven points, seven boards and seven blocks against Kansas last weekend.
  • Henry Ellenson, Marquette: Ellenson went for 32 points, 10 boards and six blocks in a key win over Butler.
  • Michael Carrera, South Carolina: Carrera averaging 27.0 points and 13.0 boards in a pair of wins this week for the Gamecocks.
(AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Oregon Ducks

To put in perspective what Oregon did this week, you first need to understand that Pac-12 teams just don’t win in the McKale Center. It’s not a thing that happens, at least not in the last four seasons. The last time that Arizona lost at home in Pac-12 play was back in 2012-13, when they lost to UCLA.

The last time that a team landed a sweep of the Arizona schools on the road? You have to go back another year, when Oregon won at Arizona State and Arizona on Jan. 12th and 14th of 2012.

That’s the most difficult road trip in the conference to make, yet Oregon passed that test with flying colors this week, getting 24 points from Dillon Brooks in the win at Arizona and, on Sunday night, getting 26 points, 10 boards and seven blocks out of center Chris Boucher. The Ducks now sit all alone in first place in the conference, and while there are four teams sitting within a game of first place, it really does feel like this will be Oregon’s league to lose at this point.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Xavier: Not that you really needed the proof, but the Musketeers showed themselves to be a real Final Four contender during the week when they went into the Dunkin Donuts Center and knocked off Providence.
  • Virginia: The Cavaliers had struggled on the road all season, and they struggled on the road on Tuesday when they very nearly lost to Wake Forest — thanks, Darius Thompson — but they availed themselves on Saturday by mollywhopping Louisville in the Yum! Center.
  • USC: The Trojans defended their home court this week, beating Washington State on Thursday and following that up with a win over then-league leaders Washington on Saturday.
  • Kentucky: We all had our doubts about Kentucky, but the Wildcats looked terrific when they took Kansas to overtime in Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday. Remember, when Oklahoma took Kansas to overtime, we realized that the Sooners were actually pretty good. Is that what will happened with Kentucky now?
  • Maryland: The Terps picked up a huge win over Iowa on Thursday night. I explained why it was so important here.

SET YOUR DVR

No. 2 North Carolina at No. 16 Louisville, Mon. 7:00 p.m.
No. 9 West Virginia at No. 14 Iowa State, Tue. 9:00 p.m.
No. 25 Notre Dame at No. 15 Miami (FL), Wed. 7:00 p.m.
No. 6 Villanova at No. 10 Providence, Sat. 2:30 p.m.
No. 21 Purdue at No. 8 Maryland, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
No. 17 Baylor at No. 9 West Virginia, Sat. 8:00 p.m.

SUNDAY’S SNACKS: No. 6 Villanova, No. 8 Maryland earn road wins

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Boston University 75, Lehigh 73

The matchup between two teams in the middle of the pack in the Patriot League wasn’t decided until time expired, as BU’s John Papale tossed in a shot after nearly turning the ball over. Cheddi Mosely scored 18 points and Eric Fanning 16 for the Terriers, who had five players in double figures. Lehigh’s Tim Kempton led all scorers with 24 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 8 Maryland 66, Ohio State 61: Melo Trimble scored 20 points and Jake Layman added 16 and ten boards as Maryland completed a season sweep of the Buckeyes. The Terrapins managed to gut out the win in Columbus thanks to some timely shots late from Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon, and a defense that limited Ohio State to 35.6 percent shooting from the field. With the win Maryland remains a game behind No. 3 Iowa and No. 19 Indiana in the Big Ten standings.

No. 6 Villanova 68, St. John’s 53: This game was noteworthy because the Wildcats played without starting center Daniel Ochefu, who didn’t make the trip due to a concussion suffered in practice. Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins picked up the slack as both posted double-doubles, with Hart finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Jenkins 14 and ten. The Wildcats struggled offensively, shooting less than 37 percent from the field and committing 20 turnovers, but they were still too much for a St. John’s team that has now lost 12 straight.

Colorado 70, California 62: The Golden Bears have won one game away from Berkeley this season: at Wyoming. That remains the case as they lost to the Buffaloes in Boulder. Colorado rebounded from a slow start, as they made just two of their first 20 shots, to move to 6-3 in Pac-12 play. Josh Scott led three Buffs in double figures with 18 points, while Cal’s Jaylen Brown led all scorers with 21 points.

STARRED

Fred VanVleet, Wichita State: VanVleet scored a career-high 32 points in the Shockers’ win at Evansville. He also limited Jaylon Brown, who scored 18 in the first meeting, to seven points and five turnovers.

Chris Boucher, Oregon: 26 points, ten rebounds and seven blocks in the Ducks’ win at Arizona State.

Dion Wright, St. Bonaventure: 19 points and 14 rebounds in the Bonnies’ 16-point win over Richmond.

STRUGGLED

A.J. Davis, UCF: Davis made just one of his 11 shot attempts, scoring seven points and grabbing seven rebounds in the Knights’ 67-41 loss to UConn.

Leo Vincent, Southern Illinois: Vincent shot 1-for-7 from the field, scoring three points in the Salukis’ 67-58 loss at Northern Iowa.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 3 Iowa rebounded from its first conference loss by beating Northwestern, 89-71. Peter Jok scored 26 points and Jarrod Uthoff, who failed to reach double figures for the first time this season in Thursday’s loss at Maryland, added 23 for the Hawkeyes. Tre Demps led all scorers with 30.
  • No. 12 Michigan State won its third straight game, this time blowing out Rutgers 96-62. Denzel Valentine scored 20 points and Bryn Forbes 18 for the Spartans, who made 17 three-pointers. Four players scored in double figures for the Spartans and two, Matt Costello (14) and Deyonta Davis (11) reached double digits in rebounds.
  • If anyone in the Valley was going to catch No. 22 Wichita State, Evansville needed to beat the Shockers today. They didn’t as Wichita State won 78-65 with Fred VanVleet scoring a career-high 32 points to lead the way. Wichita State’s now 10-0 in league play, three games ahead of the Purple Aces (who they’ve swept the season series from) and Southern Illinois.
  • Chris Boucher produced the best game of his Oregon career in the 23rd-ranked Ducks’ 91-74 win at Arizona State. The 6-foot-10 senior finished with 26 points, ten rebounds and seven blocked shots. With the win Oregon became the second Pac-12 team to get a road sweep this season, joining Utah.
  • Demetrius Jackson returned to the lineup for No. 25 Notre Dame, which took care of Wake Forest 85-62. Jackson finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and six steals, and Zach Auguste scored a team-high 21 points to go along with 12 boards.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • After winning ten of 11 games, Wright State has now lost two straight after falling 75-68 at Detroit Sunday afternoon. The Raiders now trail Valparaiso, who they beat January 22, by two games in the Horizon League standings.
  • There’s still a four-way tie atop the Summit League standings, as IUPUI beat North Dakota State 73-72 in Indianapolis. Jordan Pickett scored 20 for the Jaguars, who are 7-2 in league play (as are South Dakota State, Omaha and IPFW).
  • George Washington avoided a bad loss, as they got going offensively in the second half of their 76-70 win at George Mason. Having already lost at Saint Louis, the Colonials could not afford to fall in Fairfax as well.
  • Also 5-3 in Atlantic 10 play is St. Bonaventure, which took care of Richmond 84-68 in Olean Sunday afternoon. Marcus Posley scored 26 points and Dion Wright added 19 and 14 boards for the Bonnies.
  • Amida Brimah made his return from a broken finger in UConn’s 67-41 win over UCF. Brimah scored six points and blocked two shots, and Shonn Miller led the way offensively with 11 points.
  • William & Mary erased a 12-point halftime deficit, beating James Madison 68-62. Prior to the defeat the Dukes were undefeated on the road this season.
  • Wisconsin held off Illinois, 63-55, moving their win streak in the series to nine games. Nigel Hayes scored 17 points but the key for Greg Gard’s team was their defense, as Illinois shot just 36 percent from the field.

SUNDAY’S SNACKS: Wisconsin comes back, No. 10 SMU still undefeated

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GAME OF THE DAY: Colorado 91, Oregon 87

The Buffaloes completed an important home weekend sweep of the Oregon schools with a four-point win over Oregon in Boulder. If you like offense this was the game for you, as both teams shot at least 50 percent from the field and ten players scored in double figures (five for each team). Josh Scott led the way for Colorado with 17 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds, and Colorado’s 14-point advantages at the foul line (25-11) and in second-chance points (26-12) helped them make up for Oregon shooting 12-for-21 from three. Dillon Brooks paced Oregon with 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

Wisconsin 77, No. 4 Michigan State 76: Trailing by four in the final minute, Wisconsin scored the game’s final five points to pick up a close win after falling short on multiple occasions this season. The Spartans played without the injured Tum Tum Nairn and they certainly missed their point guard down the stretch. With the late collapse Michigan State became the third Top 10 team to lose two games this week (No. 8 Miami, No. 9 Duke). Should we be worried about the Spartans?

No. 16 Iowa 82, Michigan 72: Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes won their 11th straight Big Ten regular season game, pulling away from the Wolverines late in Iowa City. Jarrod Uthoff scored 23 points and Peter Jok added 16 for Iowa, which had four players score in double figures and shot 51.7 percent from the field. Derrick Walton Jr. led the way for Michigan with 16 points and six assists, but 13 Wolverine turnovers were converted into 16 points by Iowa. Iowa scored the game’s first 11 points, and that proved to be the difference.

Florida State 69, No. 13 Virginia 62: Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles shot 63.2 percent from the field in the second half as they won their second straight ACC game. Malik Beasley scored 14 of his 17 in the second half and fellow freshman Dwayne Bacon tallied 18 points and nine rebounds in the win. As for the Cavaliers, they’ve lost all three of their conference road games and the same reasons reared their ugly heads Sunday night in Tallahassee.

STARRED

Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes: Wisconsin’s two leaders combined to score 52 of the team’s 77 points in their win over No. 4 Michigan State. Add in Ethan Happ’s 14 and the remaining Badgers combined to score 11 points.

Creighton’s Isaiah Zierden: Zierden shot 9-for-12 from the field, including eight three-pointers, and scored 31 points in the Bluejays’ win at DePaul.

Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet: 29 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field (8-for-8 FT), five assists and three steals in a win over Indiana State.

STRUGGLED

Tulane’s Jernard Jarreau: Jarreau scored five points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field in Tulane’s loss to No. 10 SMU.

Houston’s Devonta Pollard: Pollard scored two points, shooting 0-for-7 from the field, in the Cougars’ home loss to UConn.

Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon: Brogdon scored ten points, shooting 4-for-17 from the field in the Cavaliers’ loss at Florida State.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 10 SMU remained the nation’s lone undefeated team, as they moved to 17-0 with a 60-45 win at Tulane. Markus Kennedy led four Mustangs in double figures with 13 points, and SMU limited the Green Wave to 29.2 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers on the day.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Creighton took another step towards entering the bubble conversation (if they aren’t involved already) Sunday, avoiding what would have been a bad loss by winning at DePaul 91-80. Isaiah Zierden shot 8-for-11 from three and scored a career-high 31 for the Bluejays.
  • UConn got back on the right track, outscoring Houston 41-22 in the second half and winning 69-57. Sterling Gibbs led four Huskies in double figures with 20 points.
  • Army West Point defended its home floor with a 65-45 win over American. Larry Toomey scored 13 points and Kyle Wilson and Dylan Cox added 12 apiece for the Black Knights, who are now 3-3 in Patriot League play.
  • Playing without the suspended Jordan Washington, Iona dropped its second straight game 79-75 at Rider. The Gaels are now 6-2 in the MAAC, with Monmouth and Saint Peter’s (both 5-1) tied in the loss column.
  • Wichita State remained atop the Missouri Valley with an 82-62 win over Indiana State. Fred VanVleet scored 29 points and dished out five assists, and Ron Baker added 16 points in the win.
  • Utah picked up a much-needed win at home, coming back to beat Oregon State 59-53. Jakob Poeltl scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the way, as the visiting Beavers were undone by a cold offensive stretch of more than seven minutes and Jarmal Reid’s moment of insanity.

Wichita State returns to form with 67-50 win over No. 25 Utah

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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All-Americans Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker combined for just 17 points on 7-for-19 shooting on Saturday afternoon. Connor Frankamp, the Kansas transfer eligible for his second game, finally hit his first shot as a Shocker … with less than a minute left in the game. Anton Grady and Landry Shamet did not play.

And Wichita State still smacked around No. 25 Utah in the Koch Center, winning 67-50 in a game that the Shockers controlled basically from the tip.

They’re back, guys.

Zach Brown and Markus McDuffie led the way for the Shockers. Brown finished with 14 points while McDuffie added 13, hitting 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Perhaps more promising is that, for the second straight game, the Shockers held a likely NCAA tournament team to just 50 points in 40 minutes. On Saturday, their game-plan was pretty simple: pressure Utah’s guards in the half court, make it difficult for them to run offense and double Jakob Poeltl on the catch, forcing someone else to beat them.

Poeltl finished with just five field goal attempts and six free throws. Utah committed 19 turnovers. Not a bad effort.

The Shockers entered the season as a preseason top 15 team, but a hamstring injury to VanVleet was a major reason that they lost four of their first six games. There had been concern that this group had managed to play their way out of at-large contention in the first three weeks of the season, but those doubts have been assuaged. With their point guard back in the lineup, the Shockers landed wins over UNLV and Utah in Wichita this week, and while that certainly does not lock anything up, it does show us just how good this team can be when they’re at full strength.

For Utah, a team that looked like they might be the best in the Pac-12 prior to Saturday, this loss is really concerning. They’ve now played two top 25 caliber teams this season — Wichita State and Miami — and been beaten fairly easily in both games. Jakob Poeltl is a beast, one of the nation’s most improved players, but there’s only so much he can do if he can get the ball in the post or a play run for him.

We knew losing Delon Wright was going to hurt this group.

We saw just how much is hurt today.