Wichita, KS (Sports Network) - The 24th-ranked Wichita State Shockers will
attempt to stay unbeaten on the season, as they play host to the Northern
Colorado Bears on Saturday night at Koch Arena.
The first month of the 2012-13 campaign has not started off according to plan
for Northern Colorado, as it has lost five of its first six matchups,
including all four away from home. The Bears' 76-59 loss at Northern Iowa on
Wednesday was their fifth straight after winning the opener.
Wichita State has started the season a perfect 8-0, which has allowed it to
sneak into the Top-25. The Shockers have collected signature wins at VCU
(53-51) and versus DePaul (75-62) and Iowa (75-63) in Mexico en route to the
Cancun Challenge title. They most recently visited Air Force last Sunday,
pulling away in the second half to claim a 70-67 win.
The all-time series is tied at 1-1, but the teams haven't faced each another
since the 1939-40 season.
Northern Colorado has been respectable at the offensive end of the court in
the first month of the season, averaging nearly 72 ppg on 45.8 percent
shooting from the field, but much of that is skewed due to its 127-point
outburst against Southwest in the opener, as it averages just 60.8 ppg in its
five losses. The Bears weren't terrible from the floor against Northern Iowa
the last time out (.415), but it still lost by double digits in allowing the
Panthers to make 52 percent of their field goals while getting outrebounded by
a 35-25 margin. Tate Unruh went just 5-of-13 from the field, but four of those
buckets came from beyond the arc en route to 14 points. Tevin Svihovec scored
a team-high 16 points, and Paul Garnica added 15 off the bench. Svihovec (12.0
ppg) and Unruh (11.7 ppg) are the leading scorers for the Bears, with Svihovec
helping himself with more than five free throw attempts per contest. Derrick
Barden (8.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg) brings stability to the frontcourt.
The Shockers have been a well-oiled machine in the early going, outscoring
their opponents by more than 13.0 ppg while establishing considerable
differences between their field goal percentage (.459) and field goal
percentage defense (.378). Things were much tighter in the recent clash with
Air Force, but they stepped up their game from the field, shooting 58.3
percent, to hang on for the three-point victory. Carl Hall was nearly perfect,
hitting 9-of-10 field goal attempts for 21 points while pulling down 10
rebounds. Cleanthony Early (12 points) and Demetric Williams (10 points) also
had productive days scoring the basketball. Hall is the team's catalyst,
racking up 14.5 ppg on 54.7 percent from the field, 8.1 rpg, and 1.6 bpg.
Early (13.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) has also been a consistent performer. Malcolm
Armstead (7.5 ppg) and Williams (6.9 ppg) share duties as the team's top
distributor, as the two combine to hand out 5.9 apg.
The Sports Network