In a match up that could never happen on the gridiron, the Wichita State Shockers (11-0) beat the Alabama Crimson Tide (5-5) on the road, 72-67. While Alabama is a dynastic college football power, Wichita State disbanded their football team decades ago. Luckily, there is still basketball.
The Shockers overcame foul trouble by their leading scorer, guard Ron Baker, to pull out the 5-point victory. The game was won on from the charity stripe as Wichita State was money from the line. When Tekele Cotton missed a free throw with six seconds remaining, it was only the second misfire from the line all night for the Shockers. Cotton sank the second attempt in those last seconds to secure the game.
In all, the Shockers made 25 of their 27 free throw attempts for 92.6%. Cleanthony Early was a perfect 11 for 11 on the night form the line, and he finished with a game-high 26 points. Wichita State outscored the Tide by 11 points just from the line. Alabama finished 14 from 19 from the line for 73.7 percent.
The Shockers also smoked the Crimson Tide on the backboards as well, winning that battle 38-26. Junior reserve forward Darius Carter paced the team with 7 rebounds off the bench. Carter was one of 4 Shockers to have 5 or more rebounds as it was a team effort on the glass.
Cotton and Fred Van Vleet were the only other Shockers to reach double figure points with 11 each. Ron Baker, who averages over 14 points and 29 minutes a game this season, played just 16 in this one due to foul trouble. He finished with 8 points in the contest.
Baker did lead the team with 4 assists as his teammates only recorded 2 other combined assists in the game in one of the more strange stats from the night. While WSU did tally 25 points from the line, they did connect on 22 field goals so 6 assists as a team is a really low number. Alabama had 12 assists on 23 made shots.
While Alabama is not a force in the basketball world like they are on the gridiron, they are one of the few BCS conference teams that were willing to schedule the Shockers. Last week, Tennessee lost to Wichita State in Wichita. These two SEC teams are the only two BCS conference schools who would play the upstart Shockers.
The Shockers are 11-0 for the first time in school history and they are on the verge of breaking into AP top 10, as they sit presently at 11th. They are 9th in the Coaches poll. They will have to keep winning to maintain their position or to climb higher because their conference, while competitive, is not considered one of the strongest. If the Shockers can keep their Missouri Valley losses to one or two, and they win the conference, they could still secure a number three or a number four seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Up next for the Shockers are the North Carolina Central Eagles (6-2) on Sunday night at home at 7 p.m. CST.