On Sunday, Wichita State Shockers defeated their in-state rivals, Kansas, knocking them out of the NCAA Tournament. The seventh-seeded Shockers emerged victorious by a margin of 78-65, securing a berth in the Sweet 16 round.
According to USA Today, Wichita State’s coach Gregg Marshall said it is a victory they will cherish for a long time.
“I’m not sure we’ll even need a plane to fly home,” he said.
In the first twenty minutes of the game, Kansas could only score six points in the paint. The defense of the Shockers was impressive, giving their rivals little to no room for scoring angles. The Jayhawks only managed scoring 35.1 percent from the floor, allowing the Shockers a lead of 29-26 at halftime.
The stronghold of the lead tightened in the second half. Shockers delivered four of their next seven three-point attempts, giving them an advantage of 54-40 advantage on a three from Evan Wessel.
Tekele Cotton scored 19 points, while Fred VanVleet contended with 17. Evan Wessel hit four three-pointers, scoring 12.
“We don’t have McDonald’s All-Americans, we don’t have guys that have been in the spotlight, and been given that pedestal,” FOX Sports quoted VanVleet as saying.
“We work for everything we’ve got, from managers to coaches to our preacher to, you know, whoever. We’ve scrapped and fought our whole lives.”
With the Shockers in the double-digit lead, VanVleet brought his players in a huddle late in the game during a timeout, ensuring they do not lose their advantage by starting celebrations before the game finished.
“We’d been playing anybody else, it would have meant the same, advancing to the Sweet 16,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “It just so happens we played an in-state team to go where we wanted to go, and they were much better than us.”
Progressing into the Sweet 16 round, the Shockers will be up against the third-seeded Notre Dame in Thursday’s Midwest Regional semifinal in Cleveland.
You might also be interested in: Obama Favors Kentucky In NCAA Tournament Bracket