No. 24 Wichita St. 91, Davidson 74

Joe Ragland wasn’t perfect. The Wichita State guard, however,

was pretty close.

Ragland turned in one of the best games of his college career

Saturday, scoring 30 points on 11 of 14 shooting and No. 24 Wichita

State shot 80 percent in the second half to break open a tight game

and beat Davidson 91-74.

Ragland hit all but one of his four 3-point attempts and made

all five free throws. The senior finished one point shy of his

career high set earlier this season against UNLV.

”How about 30 points on 14 shots?” Wichita State coach Gregg

Marshall said. ”You talk about efficiency. That was one of our

keys – being efficient on offense. I guess the only thing he could

do better was be absolutely perfect. But 30 points? I should have

played him more, I guess.”

Ragland said he was feeding off his teammates’ talents.

”Those guys demand a lot of attention from the defense and I’m

able to get open,” he said. ”I’ve worked on my game enough to

make the defense pay every time I’m wide open. I had a lot of wide

open opportunities tonight. I was able to get into the lane.”

Said Davidson coach Bob McKillop: ”He didn’t miss too many

shots. He threatened you from 3-point land. He threatened you from

the drive. He threatened you in transition and in half court. He

did a nice job of controlling the offense. He was

sensational.”

It was Marshall’s 300th career victory as a coach. He won 194 of

those about 35 miles down the road at Winthrop University in Rock

Hill, S.C., so the victory was extra special. But Marshall didn’t

want to talk about that milestone, instead wanting to focus on what

the win meant for his team.

Wichita State came into the game ranked in the top 25 this week

for the first time since 2006. The school will likely to move up in

the polls with a few teams in the lower half of the top 25 losing

this week.

”This gives us a quality win and will enable us to move up…

if not the top 15, then the top 20,” Williams said. ”Hopefully

this gets us into the (NCAA) tournament.”

Toure’ Murry scored 16 points and Carl Hall added 13 points off

the bench for the Shockers (24-4), who’ve won 22 of 24. Seven-foot

Center Garrett Stutz, the Shockers’ leader scorer this season, had

eight points.

Despite persistent foul trouble that allowed him to play only 19

minutes, Jake Cohen scored 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting to lead

Davidson (20-7). Chris Czerapowicz had 17 points and Nic Cochran

finished with 16 for the Wildcats.

Wichita State led 39-38 at the break, but hit 20 of 25 shots in

the second half, many of those on easy transition baskets and

drives to the lane.

The turning point came six minutes into the second half. With

Wichita State leading 51-50, Hall hit a shot in the lane and the

Wildcats seemed to fall apart on offense. The Shockers got three

easy transition baskets by Murry, David Kyles and Demetric

Williams, allowing the Shockers to open a nine-point lead.

About a minute later Cohen, who played only seven minutes in the

first half, picked up his fourth foul. The Shockers soon stretched

their wings – and their lead – opening a 23-point margin. Davidson

made a run to get it down to 11, but it was too late.

”We got out of sync and we took some bad shots and that leads

to easy run-outs and bad defense during about that eight-minute

stretch,” said Cohen. ”So that is something we have to look at

going forward. Our consistency in that eight-minute stretch. They

are a good transition team.”

Ragland said the Shockers’ goal was to step up their defensive

intensity in the second half, and they did just that.

”We didn’t play our best basketball in the first half,”

Ragland said. ”We wanted to put the pressure on them as well as

protect the rim and clog up their offense.”

Earlier this year Davidson toppled then No. 12 Kansas on the

road and was competitive with Duke before falling at Cameron Indoor

Stadium.

Cohen, who came in averaging 13.5 points, scored Davidson’s

first 12 points of the game to keep the Wildcats close early

on.

But he was forced to sit most of the first half after picking up

his second foul with 12:12 left and Davidson trailing 16-14.

However, Cochran picked up the slack scoring 13 points first-half

points and Czerapowicz hit a pair of 3-pointers to keep the

Wildcats within one at the break.