On Monday night, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall lusted after a gritty defensive victory. He wanted to see his team of scorers get dirty and shut somebody down.
By PAUL SUELLENTROP
The Wichita Eagle
On Tuesday night, Marshall got what he wanted. No. 12 Wichita State held BYU to six second-half baskets in a 75-62 victory in the championship game of the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center. A year ago, Wichita State won the Cancun Challenge with a dominating defensive effort. The Shockers, 7-0, slipped past BYU with an effort last seasons Final Four team could embrace.
To hold a team like that to 26 points (in the second half) is a minor miracle, Marshall said. Its defense. These guys are gritty enough.
Wichita State limited the Cougars, 5-2, to 31-percent shooting for the game and six of 30 in the second half. BYU made five of 10 three-pointers in the first half and missed all 10 in the second half.
We were just trying to be aggressive, regardless of foul calls, Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early said. We just started to lock up and do our best on the defensive end.
Wichita State threw almost every defender available at BYU guards Tyler Haws and Matt Carlino. Haws, who averaged 26 points in his first six games, shot three for 15 from the field and made 11 free throws to reach 17 points. Wichita States Tekele Cotton did most of the work and got help from Evan Wessel and Nick Wiggins, who stripped Haws on a crucial possession late in the game. Carlino burned the Shockers in the first half for 18 points. In the second, he scored just three points and missed all eight of his field-goal attempts.
Their physicality was what made them good defensively, Carlino said. We were fighting to get open on the perimeter. They had a lot to do with us not making field goals.
Wichita State needed that stopping power because its offense struggled. The Shockers shot 35.3 percent from the floor and made six of 28 three-pointers. Baker led Wichita State with 23 points, but he didnt get his career high in his normal way. He missed nine of 11 threes and went 11 for 11 from the foul line. Early and Fred VanVleet both added 12 points.
Baker made six straight free throws in the final minute, two after technicals on BYU, and put the game away. Before that, VanVleet came through with a series of crucial baskets, and forward Darius Carter made one of the games biggest baskets late in the shot clock for a 68-62 lead.
The Shockers trailed 53-52 when they hit their hot streak. Baker scored, giving Wichita State the lead. VanVleet made a three from the corner for a 57-53 edge. After two BYU free throws by Haws, VanVleet drove through the zone defense for a basket and a 59-55 lead. Carlino made two free throws with 4:02 to play, cutting the lead to 59-57, but VanVleet made a long three for a 62-57 lead.
Nick Wiggins hit two free throws with 3:02 to play and gave Wichita State a 64-59 lead. VanVleet made a 16-foot jumper that put the Shockers up 66-60. BYU rushed downcourt, but the defense tied up Haws, giving the jump ball to Wichita State on the possession arrow with 2:03 to play.
Up 66-61, Carter drove from the three-point line with the shot clock running down and snaked in a bank shot around a defender for a 68-61 lead. Carlino made one of two free throws with 1:24 to play and cut the lead to 68-62.
VanVleet missed a three-pointer, but BYUs Nate Austin was called for a flagrant foul and ejected after he elbowed Baker in a scrum for a rebound. Baker made two free throws for a 70-62 lead with 45.3 seconds to play.
After Baker poked the ball away from Carlino, BYU coach Dave Rose screamed and stomped his foot, drawing a technical foul. Baker made two free throws with 31.2 seconds to play for a 72-62 lead.
Wichita State missed six of its first seven threes and 14 of its first 17 shots and fell behind 21-11. Wiggins corner three restored Wichita States confidence, and the Shockers began moving the ball more quickly and getting good shots against the zone defense. Cotton followed with a three that made it 21-14. Bakers three-point play pulled the Shockers within 21-19, and his three from the top of the key gave Wichita State a 24-23 lead.
Wichita State passed more crisply and took advantage of holes in the zone for good shots. VanVleet began to penetrate and find shooters. Early gave Wiggins a touch pass for a layup and a 30-26 lead. VanVleet drove and scored, building the lead to 32-26.
Carlinos three cut the lead to 32-29 and started a run that gave BYU a 36-34 halftime lead. Carlino scored 18 points in the first half, making four of five three-pointers. VanVleet started the game guarding him, and Wichita State switched to Baker after a few minutes. Cotton and Wessel took turns guarding Haws, who went zero for four from the field and scored four points in the first half.