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Shockers Play Angry Defense and Advance in NCAA Tournament

Wichita State uses a dominating second half defensive effort to advance to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Wichita State turned a tie game into a route with its typical 'play angry' defense. The first half ended with the Shockers and Vanderbilt tied at 30, but the second half was a completely different contest. Wichita State (25-8) held the Commodores to 20 second half points on its way to a 70-50 win.

On Vanderbilt's first possession of the second half, Wichita's Ron Baker stole the basketball and made a break away layup, and the momentum moved permanently to the Shockers. Senior guards Fred VanVleet and Baker scored 14 points each and Baker led the way with nine rebounds. Vanderbilt's leading scorer Damian Jones was held to five points by the nasty Shocker defense.

With 8:38 left the Shockers led Vanderbilt 50-48, but Vanderbilt (19-14) converted just 24% of their second half shots, and Wichita outscored Vandy 20-2 the rest of the way. After missing all five of its first half three-point attempts, Wichita made seven of their 14 second half downtown shots.

The Shockers efficiency continues to impress. WSU handed out 12 assists and turned the ball over just seven times. VanVleet handed out seven assists with one turnover. Senior Anton Grady scored 11 points.

Wichita State has now won at least one NCAA Tournament game in five straight years, and have won at least 25 games seven straight seasons.

Riley LaChance and Joe Toye both came off the bench and scored 10 points to lead the Commodores in scoring. The Shockers held Vandy's top perimeter player, Wade Baldwin IV to just nine points. The Commodores made just three of 19 shots from long distance, and despite being the much taller team, they grabbed five fewer rebounds than WSU.

Wichita State survives to take on Arizona (25-8) on Thursday night in Providence, Rhode Island.