Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The Wichita State Shocker try to keep their perfect record intact tonight as they tangle with the DePaul Blue Demons in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at the Sprint Center.
The Shockers are off to a perfect 5-0 start to the 2013-14 campaign, although the competition to this point may be called into question. There were home wins over the likes of Emporia State, Western Kentucky, William & Mary and Tennessee State before the squad finally hit the road last week. Away from home, WSU managed to crush Tulsa in a 77-54 final.
As for the Blue Demons, they've won three of their first four games, the lone setback coming against Southern Miss (75-68) as part of this event in Rosemont back on Nov. 13. Since then, the team has defeated Wright State (81-72) and Milwaukee (80-71), the most recent coming on the road six days ago.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Blue Demons are ahead by a count of 4-3, even though Wichita State won the most recent battle during the Cancun Challenge last season, 75-62.
The winner of this game will face off against the survivor of the Texas/BYU matchup in the title game on Tuesday night.
Against Milwaukee, Cleveland Melvin scored 20 points, shooting 3-of-6 beyond the arc, added nine rebounds and three blocked shots in the win last week at U.S. Cellular Arena. Brandon Young came up with 19 points and six assists, while Jamee Crockett came off the bench to tally 10 points in just 16 minutes of work as the Blue Demons shot 49.2 percent from the field and 9-of-18 (.500) behind the 3-point line, compared to just 28.0 percent for the Panthers from long range.
Not only is Melvin hitting on 62.2 percent of his total field goals, his 12- of-18 accuracy out on the perimeter is also worthy of high praise as he generates 19.0 ppg for DePaul. What makes his efforts even more extraordinary is the fact that he is first in rebounding too with 7.0 rpg. Young checks in with 15.8 ppg and has made sure to keep teammates involved in the flow with 19 assists, albeit against 17 turnovers.
Tied with Tulsa at the break (31-31), the Shockers made only 35.7 percent of their field goal attempts in the first half, but the team turned that around in the final 20 minutes with 53.6 percent accuracy, adding a perfect 11-of-11 at the free-throw line as well. Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker both tallied 21 points, followed by Cleanthony Early with 12 and nine boards in only 18 minutes of action. Chadrack Lufile came off the bench to register a game-high 10 rebounds and seven points for the visitors.
Even though he has led the team in scoring only once in five games, Early is still the top scorer overall with his 14.8 ppg, although VanVleet and Baker are closing in with 14.6 and 12.6 ppg, respectively. While Anthony focuses his efforts on the inside, resulting in 7.0 rpg, the aforementioned duo has combined to hand out 51 of the program's 74 assists and have turned the ball over just 15 times.