The Nationally-ranked Wichita State Shockers trounced the Missouri State Bears 67-42 in the first semi-final of the Arch Madness Tournament in St. Louis, Mo.
The Shockers proved why they are the No. 2 ranked team in the nation as well as the top team in the MVC this year by putting on an absolute clinic.
The Bears hung around early, coming within one point with just over 10 minutes to go in the first half, but then the Shockers found their groove.
Over the final 10 minutes of the first half and the first 10 of the second half, Wichita State went on a massive tear, breaking the game wide open with a 47-13 run.
The Shockers’ three-point shooting was lights-out during this stretch. The team accumulated eight total three pointers and five in a row to kick off their long run.
At the heart of Wichita’s run was John Wooden Award finalist Cleanthony Early. Early was three-of-five from beyond the arc in the first half and racked up a game-high 20 points, despite only playing 18 minutes.
It was a short game for a lot of the Shockers, with no player playing more than 27 minutes on the day. By the mid-way point of the second half, Shocker Head Coach Gregg Marshall had benched his regulars.
Marshall’s secret to success is a reluctance to use timeouts unless absolutely necessary.
“I think time-outs are a sign of weakness,” Marshall said. “I like to do my coaching before the game and in practice.”
For Missouri State, the end of the road was painful. The Bears racked up 12 turnovers and 16 fouls while shooting only 32 percent from the field. In addition, no player scored in double digits for MSU. The closest the Bears came was Gavin Thurman with nine, but four of those points came from the free-throw line.
Missouri State Head Coach Paul Lusk spoke highly of Wichita State’s ability to beat them multiple ways.
“They’re really good. They really guard you. They can hurt you a lot of different ways,” Lusk said.” You have to have the physicality to match up with them.”
For the Shockers, they are one win away from winning their first MVC tournament since 1987.
Marshall is excited to have the opportunity to cut down the nets in St. Louis.
“I want to win very badly, but I would want to beat you in cards if we dealt them tonight,” Marshall said. “That’s just the way I’m wired. I want to win this tournament.”
The Shockers await the winner of six-seeded Southern Illinois University and second-seeded Indiana State University game to see who they will play in the MVC Championship game tomorrow at 1 p.m.