Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker combined for 29 points and Wichita State’s swarming defense did the rest as the Shockers beat Arizona 65-55 on Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Wichita State (26-8) will play Miami (26-7), the third seed in the South Region, on Saturday.
Arizona coach Sean Miller called a timeout 53 seconds into the game after VanVleet and Baker pounced on a loose ball in the Wildcats end. It was evident from the outset that Wichita State’s in-your-face defense was going to be the decisive factor against Arizona (25-9).
"I hate to see those guys lose. I really like Sean [Miller] and his program because of how they play,and they play the right way. But it was our night. Our defense carried the way," said Shocker coach Gregg Marshall in a post-game media conference.
The Shockers forced 19 turnovers they converted into 22 points and snared nine steals.
Arizona's big three of Ryan Anderson, Gabe York, and Allonzo Trier, each averaging 15 points, combined for 28.
Video by Patricia Vizzini
The Wichita State University Shockers are preparing for first round play in the NCAA tournament on Thursday night.
The 11th seeded Shockers will face a 6th seeded Arizona team on Thursday night in the south regional first round play.
Shocker fan Holly Dyer, a member of the WSU Alumni Board, is on her was to Providence for the game. She says the Shockers are in good shape.
"Arizona is known as a free-flowing offensive team, but I think our defense will match pretty well with them," Dyer says. "I know that Utah beat Arizona pretty handily. I hope since we beat Utah, we'll be able to handle Arizona just as well as Utah did."
If the Shockers win on Thursday evening, they will face either Buffalo or Miami on Saturday. Thursday night's game begins at 8:20. It will be televised on TNT.