Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

March 24, 2013

Shock 'em: Wichita State ousts No. 1 Gonzaga

NCAA tournament — East and South Region roundups

SALT LAKE CITY — The No. 1 got taken down by a bunch of 3s.

Gonzaga is out of the NCAA tournament thanks to Wichita State, a No. 9 seed that made five straight shots from behind the arc Saturday for a 76-70 victory that sent the West Region's top seed — and the nation's No. 1 team during the regular season — back home.

"This is incredible for our team," said freshman guard Ron Baker, who hit four of the Shockers' season-high 14 3-pointers. "We came together down the stretch and pulled the upset off. This feeling is unimaginable."

Now Wichita State doesn't have to try and emulate fellow mid-major Gonzaga any more.

The Shockers (28-6) one-upped the Zags (32-3) on the NCAA tournament stage, and advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time since 2006. They are headed to Los Angeles to face the winner of Sunday's game between La Salle and Ole Miss.

Gonzaga became the first top seed to be eliminated, giving all the Zags' doubters an I-told-you-so moment. The Zags survived a scare in the second round against Southern but couldn't hold up against a Shockers team whose motto is "play angry."

Call it the Marshall plan, by 50-year-old Shockers coach Gregg Marshall.

He pulled his team aside after Gonzaga had made its big second-half run to take an eight-point lead.

"You know what I asked them? On Oct. 15, down eight with eight minutes to go, would you take it for the right to go to Los Angeles in the Sweet 16?" Marshall asked. "And they did it from there."

Cleanthony Early and Baker scored 16 points apiece, freshman Fred VanVleet added 13, Carl Hall had 10 and Tekele Cotton eight.

Baker called it the epitome of team.

While Baker hasn't been this deep in the tournament before, the Shockers are no stranger to the NCAAs, with Saturday's win evening their record at 10-10. They earned a trip to the Final Four in 1965, the regional finals three times and most recently made it to the Round of 16 in 2006 before losing to George Mason.

Marshall also led Winthrop to seven NCAA tournament appearances during his nine seasons there.

Still, Wichita State hadn't fared so well against top-ranked teams. The last time they played one, in 1967, they lost by 34. That was UCLA, a team that went on to win its fourth of 10 titles during the Wooden era.

While Gonzaga held the top spot in the AP Top 25 over the final weeks of the season, skeptics thought of the Bulldogs as a soft No. 1 seed that benefited from a relatively easy schedule in the West Coast Conference while other top contenders were getting banged around in the power conferences.

That's not to say the Bulldogs didn't fight, with Kelly Olynyk scoring 26 points to lead Gonzaga, and Kevin Pangos adding 19.

Gonzaga trailed by as many as 13 in the first half, was down 36-31 at the break, but came on strong early in the second half.

Wichita State was not intimidated.

"They never quit," Marshall said. "You know we got the big lead, Gonzaga makes a great run as a No. 1 team in the country would, and these guys dig down."

Shockers, for sure.

They showed their grit after Gonzaga's 12-0 run gave the Bulldogs a 49-41 lead with 11:53 left. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Kevin Pangos and Michael Hart started it, Olynyk hit a jumper then a pair of free throws, and Pangos capped it with a steal and fast-break layup.

But Wichita State outscored the Zags 35-21 from there.

The string of five straight 3s began when Tekele Cotton spotted up with 6:05 remaining and hit a shot that cut Wichita State's seven-point deficit to four.

It ended at the 1:28 mark when VanVleet, dribbling the ball between his legs, nearly lost it, but gathered himself and threw one up with 1 second left on the shot clock. It went in, the Shockers were ahead 70-65 and the rest of the game was a free-throw-shooting contest.

"I was just disappointed that with 1 second left that we even let him get a 3 off," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "That was a mental error on our part."

The Shockers, who made just 2 of 20 3-pointers in their 18-point win over Pitt on Thursday, shot 50 percent from beyond the arc and 50 percent overall.

"They deserve a ton of credit," Few said. "It's the first time in a while someone made 50 percent on us, and to bang in 14 3s (overall) is pretty amazing."

It was another sudden end to an amazing ride for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs were playing in their 15th straight NCAA tournament but have not advanced past the Round of 16 since 1999.

"I think we just ... let our guard down a little bit," Hart said. "That was key. We defended so well at start of the second half, then we just lost some guys. You can't do that when guys get it going. You gotta get a hand up and stay close to your assignments. We kinda lost it there a few possessions and that really hurt us."

While the Zags left disappointed, the Shockers stayed fairly low key in victory.

At one point, Early and teammate Chadrack Lufile jumped up and body slammed each other and the Shockers huddled at midcourt for a long team hug. But largely, Wichita State acted like a team that's been there before.

"We play together, we stick to our goals, we're good teammates," Baker said. He hardly looked fazed.

The game was physical as expected, with Olynyk getting a forearm across his neck in the first half but continuing to go hard at the basket.

Gonzaga's 39-30 rebounding edge couldn't make up for 36 percent shooting.

Six different Wichita State players hit 3s in the opening 20 minutes as the Shockers made 7 of 15 from beyond the arc in the first half.

They finished 14 of 28 overall.

"Man it means a lot," Shockers senior forward Carl Hall said. "It means a lot to this program and our fans deserve this."

Text Only
Sports
  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • shock pic.jpg Time to rest

    Shock beats San Antonio before entering All-Star break

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy leads, Tiger Woods in contention after 1st day at British Open

    July 18, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Stocks