No. 8 Wichita State upset by Illinois State 65-62
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Weakened by illness yet still feisty, Gregg Marshall is glad to have some time off before the NCAA Tournament.
No. 8 Wichita State will take a hit in the poll and with the NCAA selection committee, too, after a 65-62 loss to Illinois State in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Saturday. Their coach said he’d been diagnosed with pneumonia the last two days and was “looking forward to some bed time and some rest.”
“I love fact we’re in, I love the fact we’re going to get a good seed,” Marshall added. “I don’t care really where we go.”
Marshall said his wife preferred a regional on the West Coast and he wouldn’t mind heading East, but added he had “no idea” where the Shockers (28-4) would land.
“They have a lot of big executives that sit on that NCAA executive committee to make the high-dollar decisions,” Marshall said. “My job is just to get in and be a part of the party.”
Daishon Knight is mostly to blame for Wichita State going home early and to a bit of uncertainty.
Knight capped a 25-point game with two critical free throws in the closing seconds and the Redbirds rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit with 63 percent shooting the rest of the way.
VanVleet was offline on a contested 3-point attempt with 1 second remaining. He’d considered calling a timeout, or passing to fellow guard Ron Baker, who’s more dangerous from long range.
“I probably should have, but just trying to make a play,” VanVleet said. “I had Ron in the corner and I was looking for him and couldn’t get it to him.”
Knight was 6 for 7 from the field in the second half, including a 3-pointer that put Illinois State ahead to stay at 59-58 with 2:21 to go. He had nine points in a 14-0 run that put the Redbirds in front early in the second half. Reggie Lynch was 3 for 5 with nine of his 11 points and all but one of his five blocks in the second half.
Knight had 24 points the first meeting against Wichita State, but was scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting in the second at home before breaking out.
The fourth-seeded Redbirds (21-11) were 0-2 against the regular-season champions in conference play and trailed by 12 in the first half. Illinois State has won six straight and will play No. 11 Northern Iowa, the second seed, or Loyola, the No. 6, for the Valley’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the final on Sunday.
Another win by the Redbirds would give the Valley three bids for the first time since sending four teams in 2006.
VanVleet had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Wichita State, which had trouble adjusting to Illinois State’s zone. The losers were 4 for 18 from 3-point range.
Freshman reserve MiKyle McIntosh, a 55 percent free-throw shooter, was 4 for 4 at the line over the final 1:47 for his only points of the game. Knight hit two free throws with 7.6 seconds to go for the game’s final points.
Baker had 13 points, but was scoreless in the second half on 0-for-5 shooting. Baker, who also absorbed a hard fall under the basket, added seven assists and six rebounds.
The 14-0 run gave Illinois State a 41-36 lead with just under 13 minutes to go. Wichita State went nearly 6 minutes between baskets before climbing back into it and it was tight the rest of the way.
Illinois State: Coach Dan Muller beat Wichita State for the first time in eight tries.
Wichita State: This is the 25th year for the tourney in St. Louis and the top seed has won just eight times, including the Shockers last year. ... The Shockers shot their first free throw with just over a minute left in the half.
Illinois State: Redbirds face No. 11 Northern Iowa, the second seed.
Wichita State: NCAA Tournament, TBA.