Wichita, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Wichita State will make its first appearance
since falling to Louisville in the Final Four, as the 16th-ranked Shockers
host Division II foe Emporia State at Charles Koch Arena on Saturday to tip
off the 2013-14 season.
Emporia State is looking for its second victory over a Division I opponent in
as many days as it notched an 81-76 decision over the Western Athletic
Conference's UMKC Kangaroos on Friday. The Hornets' victory over a Division I
squad was shocking considering they finished 13-14 last season. They were not
too successful in their other exhibition versus a ranked opponent in Oklahoma
State, falling to the Cowboys, 87-51, in Stillwater.
Coach Gregg Marshall's Shockers have high hopes after their 30-win campaign
last season ended with a hard-fought loss to the eventual national champion
Louisville Cardinals. Wichita State will have to replace three of its top
players from that squad that finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference
to Doug McDermott and Creighton. With the Bluejays testing the waters of the
new look Big East Conference, Marshall and the Shockers are the early
favorites to win their conference, which would give them another chance at a
late run in March.
The Hornets' victory over the Kangaroos counted as an exhibition as will their
bout with OSU. ESU's matchup with the Shockers will also be considered an
exhibition. The Hornets rallied past UMKC behind a strong showing from Paul
Bunch, who tallied 20 points, eight rebounds and five blocks to lead the way.
Kaleb Wright and Terrence Moore netted 17 points apiece whole Gavin Brown
contributed 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists. ESU played very well
defensively, holding the Kangaroos to 35.8 percent shooting from the floor.
The Shockers have a tremendous leader in Cleanthony Early (13.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg),
who made a big-time impact in his inaugural season with the program in 2012-13
after making a name for himself at the junior college level. He will be joined
by sophomore sharpshooter Ron Baker (8.7 ppg), junior Tekele Cotton (7.8 ppg),
and a total of eight letterwinners in all. Early was named the MVC Preseason
Player of the Year, while Baker came on strong down the stretch after missing
the first half of last season with an injury. Senior center Kadeem Coleby will
provide WSU with a defensive presence as well as some rebounding help for
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