NEWM-Wichita St. Preview

BY foxsports • November 22, 2014

With Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker on the floor and Gregg Marshall on the sidelines, Wichita State's dominance shows little signs of slowing.

The 11th-ranked Shockers look for a 34th consecutive regular-season victory Sunday against in-city challenger Newman.

Wichita State (2-0) has not lost a regular-season matchup since the final game of the 2012-13 season, when it fell at Creighton.

The Shockers enter Sunday coming off their first true test, a 71-56 win Tuesday over Memphis. Baker led the way with 21 points and six assists, and VanVleet added 15 points despite shooting only 5 of 14 from the field.

''We just needed to get into a rhythm,'' said Baker. ''We weren't making shots early in the game, we weren't getting good looks, we weren't finishing layups. When we started making those, making the open shots, things got smoother for us.''

Wichita State stifled Memphis, forcing 24 turnovers - tied for the Tigers' most giveaways since 2004-05. The Shockers' defensive reputation carries over after they held opponents to 39.0 percent shooting last season, best in the Missouri Valley Conference and 11th nationally.

"I thought our defense was spectacular all night," said Marshall, the national coach of the year last season. "Then we made a couple shots. We finally made a couple shots."

Wichita State's defense kept it afloat after Marshall's club opened by missing 19 of its first 24 shots. The Shockers, though, hit only 4 of 16 from 3-point range after missing all 11 attempts from long distance in their season-opening win against New Mexico State.

''I don't know what is going on with the 3, I thought we were a great 3-point shooting team,'' Marshall said. ''But then we finally made one and then we made a couple more.''

Wichita State gave minutes to six freshmen against Memphis, and Shaquille Morris stood out with six points and three rebounds in 16 minutes. The Shockers' bench scored only 13 points, but Marshall hopes some playing time now can lead to increased production later.

"They learned a lot," Marshall said of his young players. "They made some mistakes, but that's how you get better. They'll grow from it. Hopefully they can add to our weapons coming off the bench."

Wichita State's bench averaged 18.6 of the team's 75.2 points per game last season.

Newman - a Division II university located in Wichita - last played the Shockers in 2011, losing 102-53. The Jets shot just 28.1 percent from the field and 4 of 21 from behind the arc.

Newman defeated Emporia State and Washburn in its first two games this month after finishing 9-17 in the Heartland Conference last season.

Sunday's matchup, while a regular-season contest for the Shockers, qualifies as an exhibition game for Newman.