Wichita State beats Davidson, extends best start in school history
WICHITA, Kan. (AP)
To him, the Shockers aren't undefeated and highly ranked because of something you can see statistically.
''They are a Top 10 team because they do everything,'' he said. ''They can score from the inside, score from the outside, score in transition, score from the foul line. And their defense is superb.''
Cleanthony Early had 24 points and 10 rebounds as Wichita State (13-0) extended the best start in school history.
Ron Baker had 15 points for Wichita State, Darius Carter scored 13, and Tekele Cotton added 10.
Tyler Kalinoski had 17 points for Davidson (4-9), while Tom Droney added 12 and Brooks scored 10.
''There was a combination of mistakes for us,'' McKillop said, ''some they caused, some we did.''
As Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall looked over the stats, he saw similar shooting percentages. What stood out was Wichita State going 28 of 41 on free throws while Davidson was just 11 of 16. Three Wildcats fouled out.
''The difference in the game was we were able to drive it better,'' Marshall said. ''That got us to the line. Forty-one free throws is a lot for us.''
Wichita State shot 27 free throws in the second half, many were with the Shockers trying to hang on to a slim lead.
The Wildcats used a 6-0 run in less than 90 seconds on two running jumpers by Droney and a basket by Chris Czerapowicz to cut Wichita State's lead to 45-44 with 15:34 remaining.
The Shockers stemmed the tide with a 9-2 run. Davidson shot 1 of 7 during the stretch, which was capped by a 3 by Early that made it 55-46 with 12:15 to play, the Shockers' biggest lead of the game to that point.
But the Wildcats stayed within striking distance thanks to 3-pointers. In the next 5 minutes, Kalinoski hit two 3s while Czerapowicz and Brian Sullivan each hit one.
Kalinoski's second 3-pointer in that span made the Wildcats 5 of 8 from beyond the arc in the half and cut the Shockers' lead to 65-60.
''It goes to show you that they're a really good team,'' Baker said. ''They kept hitting shots and making plays to keep it close.''
But Davidson went through another drought after that, not hitting a field goal for more than 5 minutes.
That allowed Wichita State to pull away behind key plays, like Early's soaring tip-in over two defenders and Fred VanVleet's 3-pointer after Davidson had cut the lead to four.
''Cle came out of nowhere on that tip-in,'' Marshall said. ''That was a really athletic play.''
By the time the Wildcats made another field goal, Jake Belford's 3-pointer with 1:33 remaining, Wichita State had already built a 75-64 lead with 1:44 left.
''I thought we really fought in quite an electric atmosphere,'' McKillop said. ''Each time we would get it close, they would make a big shot, like the 3 VanVleet hit. And they are superb on defense.''
To that end, Wichita State stuck Cotton, its top defender, on Sullivan. After scoring 33 in Davidson's previous game at No. 19 North Carolina, Sullivan was 2 of 10 from the field and had eight points Sunday.
''I thought that was huge, Tekele doing what Tekele does on someone,'' Marshall said.
Wichita State had a significant advantage in points off turnovers, converting Davidson's 15 turnovers into 18 points. The Shockers had nine turnovers, which the Wildcats turned into seven points.