No. 8 Wichita State beats Saint Louis 81-52
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) In the aftermath of Wichita State's first regular-season loss in 21 months, coach Gregg Marshall decided against extended court time Thursday or Friday.
Instead, he had his team watch video from the setback at Utah, and the No. 8 Shockers put together a solid response on Saturday.
Ron Baker scored 18 points to lead Wichita State to an 81-52 victory over Saint Louis.
Evan Wessel and Rauno Nurger had 15 points apiece for the Shockers (5-1), who lost 69-68 in overtime in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. It was Wichita State's first regular-season loss since March 2, 2013.
''We watched a lot of video from (Wednesday's loss) at Utah, and there was a lot of eye-opening things,'' Baker said. ''Today was a big improvement on that.''
Baker, Wessel and Nurger were a combined 17 of 25 from the floor.
''We came out and we bounced back,'' Marshall said. ''We swallowed a bitter pill and played well.''
Marcus Bartley scored 13 points for Saint Louis (5-3).
The Billikens trailed 14-10 with 13:27 remaining in the first half, and then managed just one field goal over the next eight minutes. The Shockers seized control with a 20-3 run that featured five points from Nurger, more than his previous total all season.
Wessel capped the surge with a 17-foot jumper and 3-pointer to make it 34-13 with 5:30 remaining. The junior was 6 for 9 from the field and matched his career high of 11 points by halftime.
''Anytime you hit your first couple shots, it gives you some confidence,'' he said.
Baker's feathery fadeaway jumper with 2:25 to play in the half pushed Wichita State's lead to 43-17, and the Shockers went deep into their bench.
Saint Louis trailed 45-25 at halftime, but coach Jim Crews said he wasn't too discouraged considering the Billikens' youth.
''We're more trying to worry about ourselves,'' he said. ''I think we did some good things. There was just too big of gaps between those good things.''
Wichita State scored the first 13 points after halftime. Tekele Cotton capped the run when he turned a steal into a dunk with 16:39 to play.
''I think watching film of our loss showed us a lot of little things we didn't do at Utah,'' Wessel said. ''Good defense and blocking out, things like that. I don't think we did too many of those little things wrong in this game.''
Saint Louis: The Billikens have six straight home games coming up. They do not play on the road again until Jan. 6 at George Washington. ... Saint Louis' first true road loss matches its total from last season, when the Billikens were 11-1 on the road.
Wichita State: The Shockers outrebounded the Billikens 41-20, including a 19-5 margin in the first half. It was a focus after Wichita State was outrebounded at Utah for the first time this season and just the sixth time in the previous 44 games. ''Instead of drilling rebounding,'' Marshall said, ''we basically watched the video and threatened them not to do it again.''
Saint Louis hosts South Dakota State on Tuesday.
Wichita State hosts Seton Hall on Tuesday.
One of Wichita State's most effective players at Utah was starting center Darius Carter, who had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in just 17 minutes. Carter had foul trouble in the first half against the Utes and fouled out before overtime.
On Saturday, Carter picked up his first foul less than three minutes into the game. He was soon replaced by Nurger. Carter returned to the court late in the half and was called for a charge. He played just seven first-half minutes and 16 for the game.
Nurger, a 6-foot-10 freshman, took advantage of the extra playing time. He was 5 for 9 from the field and 3 for 3 at the line.
''He's a guy we always knew could shoot it,'' Marshall said. ''I hope this gives him some more confidence.''