It was the Shockers night to prove they are a No. 1 seed and on Thursday they proved that they deserved at that seed. They easily defeated the California Polytechnic State University, 64-37, and dominated the game from the outset. Still, there were times that Wichita State appeared somewhat sluggish, but it did not matter as Cal Poly only shot 20.7 percent for the game and the Shockers played stout defense. The Shockers roll into the round of 32 with a 35-0 record.
"We were very, very focused tonight," said Shockers head coach Gregg Marshall. "It's been a long time since we had played and this team had our attention having won four in a row."
The Shockers dominated the entire game, it was a blowout. After being tied at 3-3, WSU went on a 16-2 run that started the blowout for the Shockers. Cleanthony Early was playing some of his best basketball, he found openings and was a major mismatch for the Mustangs. He ended up with 19 of his 23 points in the first half.
"I just felt like these games could potentially be your last. And I try to go out there and play as hard as possible because I do want to win. And I do want to give my all for my teammates," said Early.
Cal Poly was begging for a bucket. Nothing was falling for them and they were hoping for halftime to come soon. Chris Eversley exemplified the Mustangs’ struggles as he went 2-11 from the field for his team. It was difficult first half as the Mustangs ended the first half only making 14.3 percent of their shots and being down 21 points. The Shockers had a 32-13 lead going into halftime.
WSU picked up right where it left off from the first half. They opened the second half on a 13-4 run to extend their large lead to 28 points with 12:57 left in the second half. After that, the Shockers play their bench players the rest of the half. Their starters briefly reentered the game around the 8:00 mark after their lead was cut down to 20 points.
The Mustangs shot a little better in the second half, but they seemed tired after playing against Texas Southern on Wednesday. The travel seemed to affect them more than the other First Four teams.
"Hats off to Gregg's (Marshall) program and those kids. I think you've got to be a well-rested, a well-prepared team to have a chance against them," said Mustangs head coach Joe Callero. "We were not a well-rested or well-prepared team tonight. We could have made some adjustments tactically earlier than we did. But at the end of the day you could see why they're undefeated, so hats off to them."
The Shockers will begin the challenging part of its region on Sunday. WSU will play the No. 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday. They have five games left to reach the perfect 40-0 season.
"35-0 is awesome, but really to condense it even more, we're talking really about being 1-0 in this tournament," said Marshall. "And it takes six to win, takes two to get out of the weekend. And that's our goal right now to get out of the weekend."