Behind another steady performance from Fred VanVleet and the hot shooting of Evan Wessel, the No. 7 seed Shockers rolled past the second-seeded Jayhawks, 78-65, on Sunday, earning a trip to the Sweet 16 at the expense of the school that has caused them so much chagrin.
Tekele Cotton led the way with 19 points for the Shockers (30-4). VanVleet finished with 17 and Wessel hit four three-pointers and scored 12, sending the
Devonte' Graham and Perry Ellis had 17 points each, and Frank Mason added 16 for the Jayhawks (27-9), who blew an early eight-point lead and never really threatened in the second half.
As the final seconds ticked away, VanVleet started riling up an already boisterous section of Shockers fans. And when the game ended, Coach
Wichita State has tried for years to schedule a game against the Jayhawks, but the Sunflower State's dominant program has always refused. It took the will of the
The buzz began building for the showdown on Selection Sunday, when the game fans have been pining for was still merely a possibility. But by the time the Jayhawks beat New Mexico State and the Shockers had survived
With such pent-up emotion, the start was predictably sloppy.
The Shockers, who had seven turnovers total against the Hoosiers, had that many in the first half. Kansas fouled so often that Wichita State spent more time in the bonus than getting there.
It wasn't even halftime yet when blood was first spilled.
VanVleet was driving to the rim when his elbow caught Ellis's nose, sending the Wichita native sprawling to the floor. Red droplets started sliding down his chin, and Ellis retreated to the locker room. When he returned, he had wads of cotton stuffed up his nostrils.
The Jayhawks were leading 24-16 at that point, but the Shockers pounced on their opportunity with Ellis off the floor. They never allowed Kansas another field goal the final 6 minutes, going on a 13-2 closing kick that gave them a 29-26 lead at the break.
Ultimately, the Shockers never trailed again.
Led by the calm, cool play of VanVleet at the point, and with Wessel knocking down just about every 3-pointer he tried, the Shockers had an answer for every salvo from the
After they had extended their lead to 54-40, and the Jayhawks scored five quick points to energize their fans, unheralded reserve Zach Brown got loose for an easy dunk.
When the Jayhawks scored four quick points to trim their deficit to 63-55 with six minutes to go, Wichita State broke their full-court press and Darius Carter breezed in for layup.