MVC: Sycamores swamped by No. 15 Wichita State
ST. LOUIS (AP)
The Sycamores fell behind by 17 points in the first nine minutes before losing 72-48 to the Shockers on Friday.
''I felt like we were ready to go, but they put us on our heels right from the start and they never let up,'' Indiana State coach Greg Lansing said. ''As far as I'm concerned, they're as good as anybody I've seen.''
The top-seeded Shockers (27-4) dominated the first half on the way to leads of 20-3, 32-7 and 40-19 at halftime.
Toure Murry and Joe Ragland scored 14 points each and Garrett Stutz had 12 rebounds to lead the Shockers, who won their season-high ninth game in a row. Wichita State advanced to play Illinois State in a semifinal game Saturday.
The eighth-seeded Sycamores (18-14) rebounded with a solid effort in the second half. They scored the first nine points to make it 40-28.
But Ragland stopped the rally with a 3-pointer and the Sycamores never got closer.
''We knew they would come out hard,'' Mahurin said. ''It's tough to bounce back from a start like that.''
Lansing was proud of the way his team battled in the second half. The Sycamores missed 20 of their first 22 shots and went 4 for 25 over the first 20 minutes.
''Once we got down 20-3, we started competing harder and playing like we needed to play,'' Lansing said. ''To keep fighting and playing, I'm proud of their effort.''
Wichita State, which won the regular-season title with a 16-2 record, is looking for its first MVC Tournament championship since 1987. Demetric Williams added 10 points for the Shockers.
Murry averaged 11.9 points last season and sizzled down the stretch in leading the Shockers to the National Invitational Tournament title. He began this season as the top returning scorer, but has been forced into more of a supporting role this time around. He is third in scoring at 12.1 behind Stutz (13.8) and Ragland (13.2).
''Being the top scorer was great, but for us to win, I needed to do other things,'' Murry said. ''When I was the leading scorer, it seemed like we weren't the great team that we should have been.
I just changed my game a little bit and concentrated on finding my teammates.''
Murry had four assists and a team-high three steals against Indiana State.
''I felt we came out and took care of business,'' Murry said. ''That's the way we're capable of playing.''
Murry is proud of his 103 assists, which ties him for the top spot on the team with Ragland. Murry has a team-high 38 steals.
''I still believe like I'm a glue guy and I can still lead the team,'' Murry said. ''I just lead it by doing different things.''
Ragland feels that Murry is the key to the Shockers' overall success despite his status as the No. 3 scorer.
''Even though it might not look like it, he's still our leader,'' Ragland said. ''I call him, Mr. Do-It-All. He does more things and that helps his all-around game and makes us all better.''
Earlier in the season, Ragland hit eight 3-pointers and scored 31 points in an 89-70 win over UNLV. Murry assisted on six of those 3-pointers.
''He just made me a better player that night,'' Ragland said. ''He could have taken those shots, but because he is so unselfish he helped me have my best game of the year.''
Ragland, who connected on six of eight shots from the floor and had five assists against Indiana State, combined with Murry to get the Shockers out to a 7-0 lead after 2:14. Ragland hit a 3-pointer surrounded by a pair of Murry jumpers.
Nine minutes later, Murry reeled off eight successive points in just under three minutes to push the lead to 32-7.
The Shockers hit on nine of their first 12 shots on the way to a 20-3 cushion.
Wichita State, needed No. 1 for the first time since 2006, is looking for its third MVC title.
''I was pleased with the effort, I thought we started out great,'' Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. ''I love it when my teams play with that kind of confidence.''
NOTES: Indiana State eliminated Wichita State in the semifinals of the tournament last season. ... Stutz has 11 double-doubles this season, nine against MVC opponents. ... Indiana State has won 17 or more games each of the last three seasons for the first time since the Larry Bird era (1977-79). The MVC has two teams in the Top 25 for the first time. Creighton is ranked No. 25. ... The Shockers are an NCAA-best 19-3 on the road since the beginning of last season