Springfield, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The sixth-ranked Wichita State Shockers
face one of their toughest tests to date, as they put their unblemished record
on the line in Saturday's Missouri Valley Conference clash with the Missouri
Wichita State is one of only five teams left at the Division I level still
without a loss, as the team is 16-0 overall and 3-0 in conference. The
Shockers recently topped visiting Illinois State, 66-47, and they now take to
the road for this bout before returning home for a pair against Bradley and
Indiana State in the next week.
Missouri State has also been impressive through the first two months of the
season, recording a 12-3 mark, which includes a 2-1 league ledger. The Bears
have won four of their last five games, with the one setback in that stretch
coming at Loyola-Chicago (89-57) last Sunday. The team bounced back by posting
a 68-65 win at Bradley three days later, and is putting its perfect 8-0 home
record on the line tonight. Wichita State is the highest ranked team the Bears
have every hosted.
Wichita State owns a 32-30 advantage in the all-time series with Missouri
State, and the Shockers have won the last five meetings.
Simply put, you don't get to be undefeated this late in the season if you
aren't getting it done in nearly all facets of the game. Wichita State is
averaging 76.3 ppg while allowing just 60.9 ppg, and they are outshooting foes
(.456 to .400), outrebounding them (39.2 to 31.4 rpg), and they are +3.9 in
turnover differential. The Shockers boast four double-digit scorers among the
starting five, led by Cleanthony Early and his 16.3 ppg. Early also spearheads
the effort on the glass with 6.4 rpg, while Fred VanVleet chips in with 12.0
ppg while handing out a club-best 5.4 apg.
The Shockers didn't play very well in their recent bout with Illinois State,
but it's a true testament to the team's overall talent and desire as it still
prevailed with relative ease. Early and Ron Baker scored 11 points apiece to
pace the unit, while VanVleet dished out 10 assists. WSU shot only 41.1
percent from the floor, but nailed nine 3-pointers while holding the Redbirds
to just 32.7 percent efficiency, which included misses on 19 of their 26 long-
Balance is the key for Missouri State, which despite having a pair of double-
digit scorers in Marcus Marshall (14.3 ppg) and Jarmar Gulley (13.7 ppg), is
putting up 73.7 ppg on typical shooting efforts of .435 overall and .363 from
beyond the arc. Seven other players average between 5.1 and 7.6 ppg, and the
Bears also use more than 13 forced turnovers per outing to help overcome any
shortcoming they may have themselves.
Gulley and Marshall were once again the top performers for the Bears in their
recent win over Bradley, as the two scored 26 and 20 points, respectively,
combining to go 7-of-14 from 3-point range. No other player tallied more than
eight points for Missouri State, which made good on 51.1 percent of its total
shots while holding the Braves to 43.8 percent. The Bears won the game despite
being outrebounded by a 35-22 margin.
The Sports Network