WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall was thrilled his star guards Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker received so much preseason recognition. He is even happier the attention does not affect their play.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall was thrilled his star guards Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker received so much preseason recognition.
He is even happier the attention does not affect their play.
VanVleet, a preseason All-American, had 21 points and nine assists. Baker, also on the Wooden Award watch list, made six 3-pointers and had 19 points, leading No. 9 Wichita State to a 75-55 victory over Tulsa on Saturday.
"Our veterans played some beautiful basketball for the most part," Marshall said. "Eighteen assists on 25 field goals is indicative of these guys who are getting so many great accolades still sharing the basketball."
Darius Carter added 14 points for Wichita State (4-0).
James Woodard scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half for Tulsa (3-3). D'Andre Wright had 13 points for the Golden Hurricane.
Woodard said Baker's play was key.
"He never gets sped up, always plays at his pace and is so smart," Woodard said. "We knew if we could keep him contained, we could keep this a real game."
Tulsa's offense kept the contest tight early. The Golden Hurricane hit six of its first nine shots while building a 16-15 lead just 5:32 into the game.
But Tulsa went just 1 of 17 the rest of the half, and the Shockers took off. Baker, Tekele Cotton and Ria'n Holland hit 3s in a 13-2 run for a 28-18 lead with 7:15 remaining in the half.
VanVleet scored eight points in the half's final 4 minutes, and Wichita State led 40-22 at the break.
VanVleet opened the second half with a reverse layin, and Baker soon followed with an open 3-pointer.
Tulsa coach Frank Haith jumped off the bench after Baker's trey and angrily called a time-out.
"Our defense let us down, and we talked about a number of things at halftime," Haith said. "I called the timeout because we still weren't doing them."
The Golden Hurricane responded. Tulsa went on a 15-2 run. Curtis started it with a 3-pointer and Woodard has six points.
Woodard's baseline jumper with 11:04 remaining brought the Hurricane to 47-37.
"We started moving the ball more and getting open shots," Woodard explained.
After a media timeout, Baker sank another 3-pointer to ignite 19-5 run that featured four interior points from Carter and extended Wichita State's lead to 59-42 with 7:37 remaining.
VanVleet, upset his team "let down a little bit," made sure the Shockers would not be challenged further.
"Anytime the other team is making a run, we know just to get the ball in Fred's hands and he will make good things happen," Baker said. "He made layups to end their runs and layups that started runs of easy baskets for us. That's what he does."
Tulsa: At 124 meetings, the Golden Hurricane has faced Wichita State more than an opponent in program history. The Shockers lead the series 64-60 and have won seven straight. . Woodard has scored in double figures in 35 of his last 40 games, dating back to last season. . Tulsa entered the game allowing 55.4 points per game, 23rd best nationally.
Wichita State: Cotton returned to the starting lineup after sitting out the previous game to rest two injured fingers on his right hand. Cotton still had his shooting hand heavily wrapped, and coach Gregg Marshall termed the fingers "still very sore." . . . Wichita State has won 35 consecutive regular-season games and 20 straight home games. Those streaks rank first and seventh nationally.
Tulsa: Hosts Creighton on Wednesday.
Wichita State: Travels to Utah on Wednesday.