While coach Gregg Marshall has taken comfort in knowing there isn’t much Ron Baker can’t do, that has become a difficult lesson for Wichita State opponents.
The do-it-all guard looks to continue his tear as the 11th-ranked Shockers try to start 9-0 for the second straight season Saturday night against visiting Oral Roberts.
Baker is having a breakout sophomore season after capping a well-rounded performance with the go-ahead basket in Wichita State’s 70-65 victory at Saint Louis on Sunday.
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He finished with a game-high 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting with six rebounds, four steals and two 3-pointers, helping the Shockers (8-0) rally from a seven-point deficit with less than seven minutes remaining.
Since scoring 10.5 per game on 48.4 percent shooting over his first four, Baker has averaged 21.8 points while shooting 57.8 percent – including 10 for 23 from 3-point range – in his last four.
He earned MVP honors after leading the Shockers to the Hall of Fame Classic title with a career-high 23 points in a 75-62 victory over BYU on Nov. 26. On Monday, Baker was named the MVC player of the week following 20-point efforts against DePaul, BYU and the Billikens.
“He just does so many good things,” Marshall said. “He’s a great young man. He’s super coachable. He’s enjoyable to compete with. He can handle it, shoot, rebound, defend. He can take it to the basket. He can score from 25 feet. He’s got a great in-between game. He’s just a winner and we’ve said that many times.”
Baker will try to help the Shockers match the 9-0 start they had last season when they became the first MVC team to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
While Wichita State leads the all-time series 5-4, Oral Roberts (5-3) carries a three-game winning streak into this matchup. The teams haven’t met since the Golden Eagles’ 76-73 victory at Koch Arena on Dec. 30, 2003.
“It’s a great opportunity,” coach Scott Sutton said. “We’re going to have to play great. We’re going to have to make shots and they’re going to have to have a night when the ball is not going in. But that’s why you play the game, and we’ve won some of these games before.”
Oral Roberts had split its last four games against ranked opponents before losing 76-67 at then-No. 12 Wisconsin on Nov. 23. Shawn Glover finished with 24 points as the Golden Eagles pulled within four points twice in the final minutes.
Glover had a season-high 27 points in a 63-56 win over Bowling Green in the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 27 before leading the way with 15 in Tuesday’s 74-64 victory over visiting Division II Cameron.
The senior forward has been the team’s primary scoring option since guard Obi Emegano was lost for the season with a right knee injury against St. Louis on Nov. 21.
After allowing 70.4 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting during a 2-3 start, the Golden Eagles have given up an average of 61.7 points on 40.9 percent shooting during their winning streak.
“They’re going to come in here hungry for a big win,” said Marshall, who hopes to guide the Shockers to their 22nd straight home win against a non-conference opponent.