GAME NOTES: All alone atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings coming
into the week, the Wichita State Shockers hit the road to challenge the
Indiana State Sycamores at the Hulman Center on Tuesday night.
The aptly-named Shockers pulled out a remarkable win on Sunday as they came
back from a seven-point deficit with just 40 seconds remaining to capture a
thrilling 68-67 win over Illinois State on the road. The victory was the third
in a row for a team that is now back on top in the MVC with a record of 11-4,
just ahead of a Creighton squad that has hit several bumps in the road of
As for the Sycamores, they too remain in the chase for the regular-season
title with nine wins in 15 chances. Coming into this week, Indiana State was
tied with Northern Iowa for third in the standings even though it has bowed to
both Missouri State (67-65) and Bradley (80-68) in back-to-back games over the
The Shockers lost the first meeting of the season late last month with a 68-55
setback at home when they were still among the nationally ranked. Despite the
defeat, WSU is still ahead in the all-time series by a count of 50-29 and has
won eight of the last 10 encounters with the Sycamores.
Aided by a crucial personal foul on Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael, the
Shockers did just what their name implies as they scored eight straight points
in the final minute to grab the win against the Redbirds. Cleanthony Early
played the hero as he knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer with six seconds
left in regulation. Early finished with 12 points off the bench, while
starters Malcolm Armstead (18 points, six rebounds, six assists), Carl Hall
(13 points) and Demetric Williams (10 points, seven rebounds) all played
crucial roles in the outcome as well.
The last five games have had a different leading scorer for the Shockers each
time, but overall the go-to guy still seems to be Early with his 14.4 ppg as
he shoots an impressive 80.5 percent at the charity stripe. Hall (12.3 ppg)
has carved out a spot in the paint for himself where he is able to come down
with more than seven rebounds per game, but between he and Early, the two who
generally handle the ball the most, they have a collective 27 assists in as
Against Bradley on Saturday, the Sycamores led by three points at the break
and a high of seven points just minutes earlier, but the team then allowed the
hosts to knock down 60 percent from the floor in the second half to streak to
the win. Dawon Cummings tried to give Indiana State a fighting chance with a
game-high 19 points off the bench, shooting 5-of-6 behind the three-point
line, followed by R.J. Mahurin and Jake Odum with 14 points apiece, but it
simply wasn't enough.
In conference play, Odum has been the most aggressive player for the
Sycamores, pacing the team with his 14.4 ppg as well as having handed out 67
assists and coming up with 24 steals over the course of 15 games. As someone
who isn't afraid to force the action, Odum has made 99-of-116 (.802) at the
free-throw line in those league bouts, his conversions more than twice what
any one of his teammates has even attempted at the stripe.
The Shockers caught a huge break with how the meeting against Illinois State
played out a few nights ago, but maybe that boost is just what WSU needs right
now to get back on track and take full command of the conference.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wichita State 72, Indiana State 64