Wichita State (22-5) at Indiana State (16-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 19, 7:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hulman Center (10,200) -- Terre Haute, Indiana. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: WSU 14-1, ISU 10-1. Away Record: WSU 6-4, ISU 4-8. Neutral Record: WSU 2-0, ISU 2-1. Conference Record: WSU 11-4, ISU 9-6. Series Record: Wichita State leads, 50-29.
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 late.
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 last week.
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 many games.
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
02/19 10:33:02 ET