Game 2: Wichita State outlasts Missouri State

By Gus Bode

ST. LOUIS – The Wichita State men’s basketball team used its depth to wear down and outlast Missouri State in its opening round victory on Thursday.

Twelve Shockers earned playing time in the team’s 59-46 win against the Bears, who only played eight as it dropped to 11-20. Guard Toure’ Murry scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead Wichita State’s offense.

Forward Ramon Clemente scored 12 points, connecting on four of its five field goals and going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

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Clemente said he addressed the team before the game about the importance of capturing a win on the conference tournament’s opening night.

‘I talked to my teammates – the young guys – about the bad taste in my mouth from going out in the first round last year,’ Clemente said. ‘We talked about staying strong. They didn’t want to let me have that experience again … I appreciate it.’

While Wichita State (16-15) used a balanced scoring attack to take a four-point lead, it was the Shockers’ defense which was the difference in the game.

Wichita State blocked nine shots, one short of a MIssouri Valley Conference Tournament record, and held Missouri State to 29.1 percent shooting from the field and 16.7 percent from the 3-point line.

Shockers head coach Gregg Marshall said the team should be ready for a quick turnaround against co-conference champion, and No. 2 seed Creighton.

‘I talked to the team about you eat an elephant one bite at a time, and you know, we’ve got the next bite, if we can take it, is Creighton tomorrow,’ Marshall said. ‘They’ve got the advantage where they were able to watch us and rest.

‘We got the advantage in thatwe were able to come in this building and play and get familiar with the tournament and the court and hopefully get any jitters that may have occured out.’

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Missouri State will return to Springfield with its first losing season in eight seasons in head coach Cuonzo Martin, who replaced long-time head coach and current Kansas assistant Barry Hinson.

Forward Kyle Weems scored a game-high 20 points, but it was not enough to power the Bears to a victory.

Martin said it was tough for the team to overcome its depth woes as an injury depleted season helped derail his first season as a head coach.

‘To try to win four games with the intensity level we try to play with four guys is extremely hard to do. I told our guys to lay it on the line. We’re not changing anything; you’ve got to compete.’

Luis C. Medina is on location in St. Louis and can be reached at [email protected]

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