Wichita, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - The 10th-ranked Wichita State Shockers put their perfect record on the line once more, as they entertain the Davidson Wildcats at Charles Koch Arena on Sunday afternoon.
It's been a struggle for Davidson this season, the team winning only half as many games as it has lost (4-8). The Wildcats are mired in a three-game losing streak, although they nearly pulled off their biggest win of the campaign the last time out, as they fell in overtime at North Carolina, 97-85. Davidson will play one more game before kicking off Southern Conference play at Wofford on Jan. 4.
Wichita State has won each of its first 12 games, most of them rather comfortably, including a 77-66 decision last Sunday against North Carolina Central. The Shockers, who will open Missouri Valley Conference play at Southern Illinois this coming Thursday, are 7-0 at home this season. Prior to the NC Central game, WSU took out a pair of SEC foes in Tennessee (70-61) and Alabama (72-67), allowing the team to fine-tune its game as it stares down the barrel of what promises to be another challenging league slate.
Wichita State is 1-0 in the series with Davidson -- that initial meeting taking place on the Wildcats' home floor on Feb. 18, 2012 (91-74).
Poor defense has been Davidson's downfall this season, as the team yields an average of 81.8 ppg. That figure ranks the club 334th of the 345 teams charted by the NCAA at the Division I level. Foes are connecting on 50.2 percent of their field goal attempts, which includes a 38.9 percent showing from 3-point range. From an offensive standpoint, the Wildcats are netting 75.8 ppg in hitting 43.2 percent of their total shots, but only 29.4 percent of their long-range launches. The team boasts four double-digit scorers, led by De'Mon Brooks and his 16.2 ppg. Brooks is also one of the top rebounders, his 6.0 rpg just a shade off the pace set by Tyler Kalinoski (10.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg). Brian Sullivan (14.3 ppg) and Tom Droney (11.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg) have produced at times, but the 'Cats have really struggled to demonstrate much in the way of consistency. Sullivan went off for 33 points in the recent loss to North Carolina, while Jordan Barham came off the bench to log a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards. Brooks tacked on 13 points and Kalinoski chipped in 10 for Davidson, which shot 50 percent from the field in regulation, but came up small in overtime (2-of-10). A massive 34-14 deficit in points at the foul line, including 11-2 in OT, proved to be the difference.
Wichita State has gotten it done at both ends of the court this season, putting up 77.1 ppg while allowing 61.4 ppg. The Shockers also have four players averaging double figures in the scoring column, and they are shooting 45.8 percent from the field, while knocking down 32.4 percent of their 3-point tries. Conversely, foes are hitting only 40.0 percent of their total shots, which includes a poor 29.8 percent effort from beyond the arc. Cleanthony Early (15.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) paces the club both in scoring and rebounding, while Ron Baker (14.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.4 apg), Fred VanVleet (11.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.3 apg) and Tekele Cotton (10.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg) have each shined in supporting the team's overall effort, which also includes significant differentials in both rebounding (+8.9) and turnovers (+3.5). Darius Carter was high man for the Shockers in their recent win over NC Central, scoring 19 points, while Early recorded a double-double consisting of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Baker tallied 15 points, and VanVleet finished with a line of 14 points, eight assists and six boards. The opposition shot 51.1 percent from the floor, draining 10 treys along the way, but the home team used a 22-10 edge in points from the charity stripe coupled with a 37-22 advantage on the glass to keep its unblemished record intact.