Wichita State is one win away from its fourth consecutive Missouri Valley Conference title.
On Tuesday, the Shockers closed out their home schedule with a 109-83 rout of Evansville at Koch Arena and set the school record for three-pointers in a season.
On Saturday, they play at Missouri State and a win secures at least a share of the title. This is a good time to remember that WSU is a team without a senior in its rotation, a team that lost four senior starters, two of whom are in the NBA, from last season.
Tuesday’s box score
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That turnover may have slowed WSU during its non-conference schedule. The rebuild ceased when MVC play began and hit full speed in mid-January when the Shockers started an 11-game win streak, all but one by 15 or more points.
WSU (26-4, 16-1 MVC) defeated Evansville for the ninth straight time. The 11-game win streak is tied with two others for the sixth-longest in program history.
Six Shockers reached double figures, led by Shaq Morris with 18 points. Conner Frankamp, Markis McDuffie and Rashard Kelly each scored 13 and Kelly added a career-high five assists.
Landry Shamet contributed 12 points, nine in the first half. Darral Willis added 11.
WSU made 13 of 23 three-pointers and committed three turnovers.
Evansville (14-16, 5-12) lost its second straight game. Jaylon Brown scored 25 points for the Aces, making 10 of 11 foul shots.
Seniors J.R. Simon and Zach Bush played their last home game and took their bows after the game. They represent the last links to the 2013 Final Four and 2014 team that went 35-1. They checked in with 7:06 to play to a standing ovation from fans and teammates, WSU leading 87-64.
WSU ran a play for Simon immediately and he curled into a three-point shot. Shaq Morris raised his hand and started running downcourt while the ball was in the air. Of course, it swished in. Simon’s three set a WSU season record with the team’s No. 261 from behind the arc. The 2010-11 NIT champions made 260.
Games against Evansville used to turn into grinding slugfests, with the Aces determined to drag the Shockers into a half-court battle. The Shockers are too powerful on offense for the Aces this season.
Daishon Smith’s three gave WSU an 80-57 lead with 8:35 to play, a game’s worth of scoring in just over 30 minutes. The Shockers made 9 of their first 16 three-pointers.
Wichita State made 7 of 14 three-pointers in the first half on its way to a 48-32 lead. Frankamp made 3 of 4 and scored 11 points. Shamet made all three of his threes for nine points.
The Shockers turned a six-point lead into a 17-point edge with a 17-6 run late in the half. A three by Kelly and two by Frankamp provided the biggest boost. Down 37-22, the Aces tried a zone defense for a few possessions before the Shockers ran them out of that approach.
Brown scored 10 first-half points for the Aces and Dru Smith added nine.
The Shockers committed only two turnovers in the first half and they scored nine points of six Evansville turnovers.