Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The 12th-ranked Wichita State Shockers
will try to win the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship when they meet the
BYU Cougars at the Sprint Center on Tuesday night.
After suffering a heartbreaking loss, their first of the season, last
Wednesday against now No. 17 Iowa State (90-88), the Cougars got back in the
win column with a hard-fought 86-82 triumph over Texas on Monday. The victory
was the fifth in six tries for BYU and the first away from its homecourt.
The Shockers kept up their impressive start to the year on Monday as they
rolled over DePaul in the second semifinal of the event. The Shockers' 90-72
triumph over the Blue Demons was their sixth in as many games this year. In
those six wins, Wichita State has not been victorious by fewer than 14 points.
On Monday, the Cougars made up for their failing in crunch time against the
Cyclones by ending their victory over Texas with a 7-2 spurt. The Cougars hit
45.2 percent of their shots from the floor in the victory, including a stellar
10-of-12 performance from 3-point distance.
The Shockers have won six of the seven all-time meetings between these two
Tyler Haws knocked down a jumper off an assist from Matt Carlino to spark the
decisive run for the Cougars in the final minutes against Texas. BYU's major
advantage in the contest was from 3-point range as the Cougars netted an
incredible 10-of-12 shots from there.
The connection in the backcourt between Carlino and Haws has been a productive
one for the Cougars. Haws (26.0 ppg) has been ripping the net at a torrid pace
in his four games played while also contributing well on the boards (7.3 ppg).
Carlino (18.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.5 apg) can score as well as set up his teammates
for open looks. Against Texas the duo combined for 45 points, 11 rebounds and
eight assists. Kyle Collinsworth (12.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 5.7 apg) is another
effective performer in the backcourt. Eric Mika (13.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is the
most utilized scorer in the frontcourt. With such a strong group of scorers
the Cougars have had no issue filling it up this season, netting 93.2 points
per game on 48 percent shooting from the field.
Thanks to a healthy dose of shots from the interior, the Shockers were easily
able to overcome DePaul. The Shockers outscored the Blue Demons by a wide
margin in the paint (50-30) and also willed their way to the free-throw line
at a steady rate as they got 25 points from the charity stripe.
That type of aggression in attacking the basket has helped the Shockers
produce at a very high level offensively. Wichita State is scoring 81.7 points
per game and shooting at a 49.1 percent rate from the field. Add in tight
defensive efforts that have kept foes to below 60 points per game and 40
percent shooting and it is no wonder the Shockers have gotten off to such a
strong start. Of the four double-digit scorers on the roster, Cleanthony Early
(14.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is the most valuable while he also finds time to clean the
glass better than any player on the squad. Ron Baker (14 ppg), Fred VanVleet
(13.2 ppg, 5.8 apg) and Tekele Cotton (11.0 ppg) are also reliable offensive
threats in a rotation that's only drawback is a lack of depth.
The Sports Network