By Craig Phelps
St. Louis, MO – The number one seed in the Missouri Valley Tournament, the Wichita Shockers, showed why they own the conference’s best record Friday evening. The Shockers defense gave the Bradley Braves trouble all night long while their hot hand threw points on the board at will in their 70-56 victory at the Scottrade Center.
While the Shockers (24-7 [14-4]) came into the game with 12 more wins on the season than the Braves (12-20 [4-14]), they did not take the Braves lightly. They looked like a team who was set out on a mission.
“Determination. We came here to try to win. You can’t relax against anybody in this tournament because anybody can beat anybody,” said guard Joe Ragland. Ragland was one of two Wichita players in double digits with 11 points.
Wichita held Bradley to just 29.2 percent from the field during the first half of play and just 37.7 percent overall. The Braves only managed to make 3 three pointers on 12 attempts, with only one player making multiple deep shots; Dodie Dunson slinked his two three point attempts and was four of nine from the field. The Braves simply didn’t have the legs to keep up with the shockers.
“We’re going to always be aggressive and hopefully we make shots and outscore their bench every game. That’s an advantage that we have being so deep,” said the Shockers junior guard, David Kyles.
Depth has been one of the biggest advantages for the Wichita Shockers this season, and Friday night was no exception to the rule. Ten of the Shockers thirteen players scored a bucket with seven of them having at least five points. They had 36 points off of the bench, compared to just seven points for Bradley.
Garrett Stuts led the boys from Wichita, Kansas with 16 points while Joe Ragland backed him up with 11 marks on the board. Overall, Wichita shot 50 percent in the first half and 45.6 percent in the game.
The Shockers out rebounded the Braves by ten boards, 39-29.
Wichita advances to play the winner of Indiana State and Evansville Saturday at 4:05pm. The game will be on MVC-TV.