Despite grabbing 18 offensive rebounds and forcing 15 turnovers, Wichita State couldn’t shoot their way out of a paper bag on Tuesday night as Indiana State knocked off the 15th ranked Shockers on the road, 68-55.
Known for their stingy defense, Wichita St. had trouble containing the Sycamores offensive attack, which relied heavily on slow, methodical offense, waiting for the best scoring opportunity. Junior forward Manny Arop had a game-high 17 points on 7-11 shooting for the game, with the dagger being a breakaway slam off of a steal in the closing minute.
As a team, the Sycamores shot 53 percent (24-45) compared to the Shockers 27 percent (16-59) from the field. Wichita State had problems figuring out a way to get Carl Hall, the team’s second leading scorer and primary post presence, the ball as Indiana State had backside help and double-teams ready for Hall at every turn.
Because the Shockers couldn’t get the ball in the paint, they shot 28 three-point attempts, making nine of them. Cleanthony Early led the Shockers with 15 points on 3-10 shooting, two of which were early first half three pointers .
After jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes, Wichita State could not find the basket if their lives depended on it, much to the credit of the Sycamores stifling defensive attack, forcing them out of their comfort zone.
Defensively the Shockers had solid game, despite being unable to contain penetration into the paint in the first half. Out of the gates in the second half, Wichita St. forced a couple turnovers and looked to have turned around the game. However, Arop, Devonte Brown and Dawon Cummings (off the bench) led the Sycamore offensive attack with calm, deliberate offense which kept the Shockers completely out of rhythm.
With the win, Indiana State moves themselves into one game of the first place Shockers and one half-game back of Creighton for second in the Missouri Valley conference standings. The Sycamores still have games against Wichita St. and Creighton left on their conference schedule, but have the luxury of both of them being on their home floor. If they can maintain the pace in the standings until those games, Indiana State could surprise many people and, potentially, pull off a run to become Missouri Valley regular season champions. In doing so, Indiana State would put themselves right into the discussion of a potential at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Wichita State will go on the row for two-straight against Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois. Another poor shooting performance as they had on Tuesday night, the Shockers could find themselves on the outside of the rankings once again.