Never a doubt---
Ok, Northern Iowa scored the first six points of the second half to cut the lead to one, but even then you never felt like Wichita State was in any danger last night in Cedar Falls. The Shockers were drawn into a track meet in the first half, easy to do when you’re hitting shots, but got back to whom they are defensively in the second and cruised to 25 and oh.
Wichita State sweeps the toughest trip in the Valley that doesn’t involve a stop at Koch Arena, handling two tough environments by being simply being tougher and better than anything thrown at them in Indiana and Iowa. The Shockers knew that this last week was a telling one and they were prepared for it and while they were outrebounded in Terra Haute and turned it over too much in Cedar Falls they had more than enough to overcome.
I felt like the weight of maintaining the streak was far more evident at Indiana State than it was at UNI, maybe it’s just because the Panthers weren’t as much of a challenge, but the Shocks looked much looser last night. Maybe that’s a product of fluid offense as WSU posted their third best shooting effort of the season.
So many pieces---
The matchup with Northern Iowa is the perfect example of why Wichita State is such a tough out. Cleanthony Early has all 16 of his points in the first half, before being saddled with foul trouble in the second when he wasn’t a factor. Darius Carter and Tekele Cotton score all 18 points in an 18-8 run that blows open the game midway through the second half. Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker combine for 26 points 11 rebounds 10 assists and three turnovers in the back court and the trio of Carter, Chadrick Lufile and Kadeem Coleby bang UNI’s big men (specifically Seth Tuttle) into submission. It’s a great formula, one that should serve them well in March.
Great to go home---
Three of the happiest guys with last night’s win were Gregg Marshall’s assistants. Chris Jans, Greg Heiar and Steve Forbes are all Iowa guys who pull lots of family and friends to games at UNI and Drake---who says you can never go home?
Spreading the wealth---
Between them the Shocker men and women have won 43 straight games this season, Wichita State is the only program in the country with two unbeaten teams in conference play. The WSU women host Loyola this afternoon.
Southern Illinois come into the Roundhouse on Tuesday, the Salukis have won four straight games as head coach Barry Hinson works to change the culture in Carbondale. Hinson is one of the good guys in the Valley and it’s good to see him have some success. It’s been a star crossed year for him after a post-game rant made headlines at Murray State, followed by the unexpected death of his son in law at Christmas.
The 38 points from K-State’s Marcus Foster yesterday kind of overshadowed the team win against Texas for K-State, a win that they really needed to have. Foster is a remarkable talent who doesn’t get the run like the rest of the fabulous frosh around the country…but I’ll bet he has better college careers than all of them because he won’t be one and done. Now KU comes into Manhattan on Big Monday, I’ll weigh in on that game in this space tomorrow.