MBB Preview: vs. Saint Louis (Nov. 19) – GoShockers.com

Myrtle Beach Invitational
Sunday, Nov. 19 | 7:00 p.m. CDT
Conway, S.C. | HTC Center
TV: ESPNU (Rich Hollenberg & Daymeon Fishback)
Radio: KEYN 103.7 FM with Mike Kennedy & Dave Dahl

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Sun, Nov. 19 10:30 a.m. Wyoming vs. Furman (5th Place) ESPNU
1 p.m. Charleston vs. Coastal Carolina (7th Place) ESPN+
5:30 p.m. Vermont vs. Liberty (Championship) ESPN or ESPN2
8 p.m. Saint Louis vs. Wichita State (3rd Place) ESPN2


• Wichita State closes the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Sunday in the third place game vs. Saint Louis at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
• A win would move the Shockers to 5-1 and would be the best start since 2019-20 when they started the season 6-0.
• Wichita State is 23-41 all-time vs. Saint Louis, but the Shockers have won the last five meetings.
• This is Wichita State’s first appearance in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The Shockers are 20-21 in Multi-Team Events since 2007 and 81-71 all time.
• Wichita State is 3-2 all time when playing on Nov. 19.
• Wichita State’s 95 points against Friends were the most since the Shockers scored 102 against Prairie View A&M on Dec. 22, 2021.
• Wichita State’s three assists vs. Liberty tied the fewest in a game in school history (3 vs. Bradley, 1/11/1998).
Xavier Bell is averaging 22.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in two games of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. He scored a career-high 24 and grabbed a career-best 9 rebounds vs. Liberty.
• Bell is the team’s leading scorer at 17.0 points per game and has handed out a team-best 18 assists.
Kenny Pohto scored all 16 of his points after halftime in the opening round win against Coastal Carolina.
Colby Rogers scored a game-high 20 points and Quincy Ballard notched his first career double-double against Lipscomb. Rogers made his long-awaited Shocker debut after sitting out last season due to the NCAA’s transfer rules.
• Rogers’ 20 points tied for the 5th most in a Shocker debut in school history.
Dalen Ridgnal ranks 11th nationally in total rebounds (42).
• Wichita State ranks 14th nationally in defensive rebounds per game and 27th in rebounds per game.
Quincy Ballard ranks 2nd nationally in blocks (13) and 25th nationally in blocks per game (2.6).
• First-year head coach Paul Mills has only four returning letterwinners, and welcomes seven newcomers to the 2023-24 roster.
• Wichita State currently has 10 players on scholarship eligible to play in 2023-24 and two walk-ons.
• KenPom ranks the Shockers 117th nationally in its preseason rankings and 62nd defensively.
• WSU’s win vs. Coastal Carolina on Nov. 16 was the 400th win that athletic trainer Todd Fagan has been apart of during his 18 years on the bench.
• First-year head coach Paul Mills has only four returning letterwinners, and welcomes seven newcomers to the 2023-24 roster.
• Wichita State currently has 10 players on scholarship eligible to play in 2023-24 and two walk-ons.
• KenPom ranks the Shockers 101st nationally in its preseason rankings and 54th defensively.
• First-year head coach Paul Mills has only four returning letterwinners, and welcomes seven newcomers to the 2023-24 roster.
• Wichita State currently has 10 players on scholarship eligible to play in 2023-24 and two walk-ons.
• KenPom ranks the Shockers 109th nationally in its preseason rankings and 52nd defensively.
• Wichita State returns only 20.3 percent of its scoring from a season ago, having lost its top four scorers. Pohto is the only returner to average more than 4.0 points per game. Craig Porter Jr., James Rojas, Gus Okafor and Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler exhausted their eligibility, and four others exited via the transfer portal.
• Wichita State has only two true freshmen on the roster in Joy Ighovodja (Nigeria) and Yanis Bamba (Canada).
• The 2022-23 Shockers ranked 230th in adjusted tempo, but that will most certainly change under Mills’ leadership. His Oral Roberts squad was 40th in tempo last season.
• Wichita State ranked near the very bottom in the NCAA when it came to 3-point shooting a season ago. Converting on just 30.9 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc, that ranked 324th nationally. Mills’ Oral Roberts squad on the other hand attempted nearly 400 more and shot 36.5 percent, which ranked 56th in the country.
• Oklahoma transfer, Bijan Cortes, had his NCAA waiver denied and will sit out at least the first semester. There is still a chance he could have a waiver approved for the second semester. In two seasons at Oklahoma, Cortes averaged 2.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He appeared in 59 career games with the Sooners and was a career 50 percent 3-point shooter. In his final season he posted career highs of 3.2 points, 2.0 assists and was 13-of-27 from beyond the arc.

• The Shockers are in search of their first title at a Multi-Team Event since winning the 2012 Cancun Challenge and the 2013 CBE Classic in consecutive years. They’ve been runner-up four times since then: 2014 Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu), 2017 Maui Invitational, 2019 Cancun Challenge, 2022 Hall of Fame Classic.
• The 2012 Cancun title was WSU’s first at a neutral site event since winning the 1963 All-College tournament in Oklahoma City.
• Shocker teams have won a total of 15 regular season tournaments in the modern era, with 10 of those coming on their home court.
• Wichita State was scheduled to take part in the 2020 Battle 4 Atlantis, but the event was canceled due to COVID-19. A replacement event took place in Sioux Falls, S.D. with many of the same teams, but the Shockers had to withdraw when two players tested positive during a pre-tournament COVID screening.
• Wichita State took third-place in the 2021 Roman Main Event in Las Vegas. Both games had memorable finishes. Against an Arizona team that would eventually go on to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, WSU rallied from 16 down in the second half before falling in overtime. The Shockers staged a similar second-half comeback against UNLV in the consolation game. 
• Down a point, Tyson Etienne drew a foul near midcourt with 3.5 seconds remaining and sank two game-winning free throws.

• Led by eighth year head coach Travis Ford, Saint Louis enters the matchup at 4-1. The Billikens won their Myrtle Beach Invitational opener vs. Wyoming, 79-69, but dropped their second game to Vermont, 78-68.
• Ford has 137 wins in eight seasons at Saint Louis, third most in school history.
• Through the first two games in Myrtle Beach Tim Dalger is averaging a team-best 13.5 points per game.
• Sincere Parker dropped 22 in the win over Wyoming but did not play against Vermont. He averages a team-high 17.3 points per game this season.
• Terrence Hargrove Jr. (14.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Gibson Jimerson (12.6 ppg) and Tim Dalger (11.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg) round out the double figure scorers for the Billikens.
• Senior Gibson Jimerson was named to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference First Team. He was a second team all-conference selection a season ago.
• Saint Louis was picked to finish 6th in the A-10 Preseason Coaches Poll.

• Saint Louis leads the all-time series, 41-23 in a series that dates back to 1936.
• From 1946 to 1954, Saint Louis won 16 straight matchups. The Billikens are 24-8 against the Shockers in St. Louis.
• In 64 all time meetings, the two programs have never met on a neutral court until Sunday.
• Wichita State enters the game having won the last five with the last matchup coming on Dec. 6, 2016 in Charles Koch Arena. Wichita State dominated that contest, winning by 30 behind a balanced scoring attack.
• All but eight of the games between the two schools came as members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
• From 2013-15, Ron Baker had the Billikens’ number, scoring 54 points in three games, including 22 at Saint Louis in 2013.

• Now in its fifth year, the Shockers are making their first-ever appearance at the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The inaugural Myrtle Beach Invitational took place in 2018 with UCF defeating WKU in the championship.
• The HTC Center is hosting an ESPN Events’ in-season tournament for the sixth straight season starting with the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip-Off that was relocated to the Coastal Carolina University due to Hurricane Maria.
• UMass won the 2022 title, edging new American Athletic Conference foe, Charlotte, 60-54.

• Wichita State could potentially face three first-time foes in the non-conference slate, all three are in the Myrtle Beach Invitational field (Coastal Carolina, Liberty and Vermont).
• Liberty (CUSA), College of Charleston (CAA), South Dakota State (Summit League) and Kansas (Big 12) were all picked to win their respective leagues. Norfolk State (MEAC) and Western Kentucky (CUSA) were picked second and third in each of their preseason polls.
• The Shockers’ will play three road or neutral site games against teams that finished inside the Top 50 of last year’s NCAA NET Rankings (at Missouri – 47, vs. K-State – 19 and vs. Kansas – 9).
• Wichita State has won eight of its last nine non-conference true road games, dating back to the 2019 NIT run. The Shockers only loss came a year ago in Manhattan vs. Kansas State.
• Wichita State’s non-conference slate sends the Shockers to Columbia on Dec. 3 to face Missouri.

• Wichita State has an elite rim protector in Quincy Ballard. His season was cut short in 2022-23 due to injuries, so he’s only played 15 total games in his Shocker career. In those 15 games he has 27 blocked shots. Thirteen of those have come in the first five games of this season.
• Through five games his 13 blocks rank second nationally.
• He’s registered multiple blocks in half the games he’s played.

A SHOCKER WIN WOULD…                                                                     
… Make them 5-1 and would be the best start since 2019-20 when the Shockers started 6-0.
… Make them 4-2 all time on Nov. 19.
… Give Paul Mills 111 career coaching victories.
… Run their record to 1,662-1,246 all time.
… Make them 24-41 vs. Saint Louis all time.

A SHOCKER LOSS WOULD…                                                                     
… Make them 4-2 this season.
… Make Paul Mills 4-2 as Wichita State head coach.
… Drop their record to 1,661-1,247 all time.
… Make them 23-42 all-time vs. Saint Louis.

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