Undefeated Shockers short circuit Salukis

By Tyler Dixon

For 37 minutes, the Salukis made it a game but the Shockers put the Missouri Valley Conference on notice Tuesday and laid claim to the longest winning streak to open a season since the Memphis Tigers went 26-0 in 2007-2008.

Wichita State University (26-0, 13-0) was able to hit shots when it mattered to beat the Salukis (10-16, 6-7) 78-67 in Wichita, Kan.

Sophomore guard Anthony Beane continued to score; Beane had his fifth-straight game of at least 20 points. He finished with 25 on 10 of 19 shooting with 14 points coming in the first half.

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SIU lead 33-32 at the half and shot 46 percent from the field at the midway point.

Along with Beane’s stellar game, two other Salukis scored in double figures. Senior Desmar Jackson and sophomore Jalen Pendleton each finished with 13 points. Jackson led the team with seven rebounds while grabbing two steals.

Pendleton went to the charity stripe 12 times in the loss, but was only able to convert on seven attempts. Pendleton had the worst plus/minus of any Saluki at -19. While Pendleton was on the court, the Shockers outscored SIU by 19 points.

The Salukis had the edge on the boards in the first half, 19-16, but Wichita State was more aggressive in the second and was able switch the statistic in their favor. SIU had 29 rebounds to WSU’s 32 when the final buzzer sounded.

There was a disparity in fouls in the game as well. SIU was called for 22 fouls while 16 were called on the Shockers. Jackson fouled out late in the game while freshmen Bola Olaniyan, Sean O’Brien and Tyler Smithpeters each finished the game with four fouls.

The Shockers were able to hit 24 of 32 free throw attempts while the Salukis finished a disappointing 14 of 24 from the line.

WSU sophomore Ron Baker led his team with 19 points and hit three 3-pointers. Preseason MVC Player of the Year, senior Cleanthony Early finished with 18 points and was 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.

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The Shockers had five players with at least 10 points and the Wichita State bench outscored SIU 26-14.

Wichita State lived and died by the 3-pointer. They attempted 27 in the win and were able to hit eight. Hitting 8 of 11 shots from beyond the arc was one of the positives the Salukis can take away from the game.

Wichita State’s men and women’s team have the best-combined record in the country with 46-2, which puts them ahead of schools like the University of Connecticut, the University of Gonzaga, the University of Louisville and Duke University.

With the loss, SIU fell out of a four-way tie for third place in the MVC and is sitting in sixth place with five games remaining, three of which will be away from SIU Arena.

The Salukis continue their road trip Saturday against the Sycamores of Indiana State University. SIU beat ISU 79-60 Jan. 29.

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