Wichita State hasn’t been troubled very much this season.
That may change against BYU.
Ron Baker looks to continue his superb shooting and help the No. 12 Shockers overcome the high-scoring Cougars in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City on Tuesday night.
Wichita State (6-0) is beating opponents by an average of 22.0 points, while limiting them to 39.9 percent shooting — 27.7 from beyond the arc.
That dominance started early Monday, when the Shockers had a season-high 52 first-half points and cruised to a 90-72 victory over DePaul in the tournament semifinals. Still, coach Gregg Marshall wasn’t pleased that each team scored 38 after halftime.
“Well, we didn’t play great in the second half,” Marshall said. “It’s a 40-minute game, and the objective is to score more points than they do in the full 40 minutes, and we were a first-half team.”
Similar results could prove costly in the title game since BYU (5-1) averages 93.2 points while shooting 48.0 percent — 38.2 from behind the arc. The Cougars hit 10 of 12 from 3-point range in Monday’s 86-82 win over Texas.
The Shockers are facing BYU for the first time since a loss on Jan. 28, 1989, after winning the first six games of the series.
“They play as fast as any team I’ve coached against, maybe ever. They really push that ball, and they have so many weapons,” Marshall said. “These games are going to steadily get harder.”
Another big performance from Baker, however, could keep Wichita State rolling.
The sophomore guard scored a career-high 21 points in Wednesday’s 77-54 win at Tulsa, and matched it while sinking 7 of 10 from the floor Monday.
Tekele Cotton is in search of some consistency, as he’s reached double-digit points in every other game this season after getting 17 against DePaul. He had nine while missing seven of 10 attempts from the field five days earlier.
BYU is getting terrific production from Tyler Haws, who averages a team-high 26.0 points while adding 7.3 rebounds over four games after missing the first two with an abdominal injury.
The junior guard came up big Monday, scoring all but two of his 25 points in the second half. He hit the go-ahead jumper with 1:39 left in regulation while scoring the Cougars’ final seven points to hold off the Longhorns.
“The key for Ty is just to be confident and continue to believe the next one is the play that is going to work,” coach Dave Rose said. “When he is in that little groove that he was in at the end, he’s one of those guys who kind of lives for that moment. That’s what he wants. He got some space and buried that thing.”
Matt Carlino is averaging 18.8 points after getting 20 while hitting 5 of 7 3s Monday.
BYU has dropped 10 of its last 11 meetings with ranked teams, losing five straight since a victory over then-No. 24 Gonzaga on Deb. 2, 2012.