Wichita, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Tekele Cotton supplied 17 points with five rebounds and three steals to lead No. 11 Wichita State to a 71-54 win over New Mexico State on Friday.
Cotton, the reigning Missouri Valley Defensive Player of the Year, looks to be a focal point for a Shockers (1-0) team that looks to make it back to the NCAA Tournament after an exceptional season.
Wichita State became the first team in NCAA history to win its first 35 games last season, but was upended by Kentucky in the round of 32 as a No. 1 seed.
Ron Baker netted 16 points and Preseason MVC Player of the Year, Fred VanVleet, finished with six points, seven steals, five rebounds and four assists in the win.
Daniel Mullings, the reigning Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, finished with 14 points for the Aggies (0-1), who went 26-10 a season ago en route to the NCAA Tournament.
VanVleet's layup at 15:26 of the first gave the Shockers an early 10-4 lead. Wichita State's defense held the Aggies scoreless for over three minutes later in the half as Ian Baker's 3-pointer ended the drought at 8:14. Ron Baker and Cotton followed with a layup and dunk, respectively, to make it a 24-12 game.
The Shockers brought a 38-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
New Mexico State couldn't get much going throughout the night on Wichita's stingy defense. VanVleet stole the ball off of DK Eldridge early in the second and tossed it up for Cotton, who slammed it home for a 42-23 lead. The Aggies trailed by as many as 24 and didn't threaten the rest of the way.
Wichita State shot 31-for-63 and limited the Aggies to 16-of-40 shooting ... The Shockers had a 50-12 advantage in the paint and 14-2 edge on the fastbreak.