WICHITA – The Shockers continue to churn out points and are getting better and better at preventing them. Wichita State shot 56 percent from the field and held visiting Southern Illinois to less than 28 in one of the most lopsided conference wins in program history, 87-45.
Tuesday’s 42-point victory tied for the fourth largest margin of victory by a Shocker team in 72 Missouri Valley Conference seasons and just five points shy of the record, set against North Texas in February, 1962 (105-58).
Three of WSU’s five-biggest MVC spreads have come under Gregg Marshall, who also owns a pair of 43-point victories against Missouri State (Feb. 7, 2015, 78-35) and SIU (Jan. 21, 2012; 85-42).
Markis McDuffie finished a rebound shy of a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds, while shooting 8-of-12 from the field. It marks his third 20-plus scoring effort of the season.
For the game, WSU shot 56 percent and swished 9-of-19 attempts from three-point range. Southern Illinois had a rough performance all-around, missing 11-of-12 three-point attempts.
WSU outrebounded the Salukis by 20 (47-27).
Sean O’Brien led SIU with 12 points to go with 10 from Armon Fletcher. The Salukis finished with just three assists on 15 baskets.
McDuffie and Willis shined early, combining to score the first 16 Shocker points of the evening for a 16-10 lead. Each had a dunk during that stretch, though perhaps their most memorable play came in between. As Austin Reaves‘ three-point miss went sailing out of bounds, a hustling Willis raced past two Saluki defenders, leaped over the end line and tapped the loose ball back into the arms of McDuffie for an easy lay-in.
Three of the Shockers four dunks came within the first 10 minutes to set the tone. Daishon Smith forced a steal and fed ahead to Rashard Kelly for a slam for No. 3. Just over a minute later, Rauno Nurger connected on a corner three to give WSU its first double-figure lead, 21-10, at the 9:00-mark.
A pair of SIU bigs landed in first-half foul trouble. Thik Bol went to the bench at 12:35, followed by Sean O’Brien at 10:56, thinning the ranks of an already lean roster. The Salukis dressed just nine players.
It also opened things up nicely for the Shocker frontcourt.
For the night, WSU’s core guard quartet of Landry Shamet, Conner Frankamp, Reaves and Smith combined for just nine points on only eight shots, due in large part to the success of the big men. They instead focused on feeding the ball inside, tallying 10 assists with just one turnover.
WSU outscored SIU in the paint, 44-16, and turned 10 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points.
The guards’ best stretch of offense came late in the half when Shamet and Frankamp each connected on threes to push the lead out to 17 with 3:00 on the clock.
McDuffie closed the half with a whirlwind stretch, scoring two baskets in less than 20 seconds to push his total to 14 points.
WSU enjoyed a 17-point halftime advantage, 39-22. The Shockers have now led by double-figures in 15 consecutive Charles Koch Arena games, dating back to last February.
The Saluki’s first-half shooting woes worsened after the intermission when they missed their first six shots. WSU took advantage with a 9-0 run to go up 48-24.
The teams traded baskets over the next five minutes, but C.J. Keyser helped kick off another run midway through the half with a three-pointer. Back-to-back scores inside from McDuffie and Rauno Nurger made it a 30-point game – 66-36 – with 8:00 to play.
Keyser hit another three at the 6:10-mark, and Shaquille Morris sank one of his own at 5:32 to complete a 10-0 push and prompt an SIU timeout with WSU leading 77-38.
Keyser finished with six points, matching his season-high. After playing just 18 minutes in the team’s first seven conference games, the freshman guard has logged 16 over the last two contests.
Shaquille Morris triple forced an SIU timeout at the 5:23 mark and Wichita State leading, 77-38.
Eric Hamilton came in off the bench to score eight points and grab four rebounds in the final five minutes, as the Shockers continued to pour it on, leading 85-43 with 2:00 to play.
Wichita State begins a two-game road swing at Bradley this Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. CDT on ESPNU. Following the trip to Peoria, the Shockers head to Drake on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. tipoff on COX Channel Kansas (HD 2022).