Nurger, Wessel & Baker help lead WSU Past Billikens, 81-52

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WICHITA, Kan.- Rauno Nurger and Evan Wessel racked up 15 points apiece, both career-highs, to help lead the Wichita State men’s basketball team past Saint Louis 81-52 at INTRUST Bank Arena on Saturday.

Ron Baker added 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including 3-for-4 from three-point range.

­Baker led off the scoring for Wichita State laying the ball in at the 18:33 mark. Evan Wessel followed that up draining a three-pointer on the next offensive possession to make the score 5-0 Shocks. Later, after Saint Louis hit a three of its own, Baker answered with a shot from long distance to put Wichita State up 9-5 at the first media timeout.

Fred VanVleet grabbed the rebound off a missed jumper by Saint Louis and drove the floor in transition for a layup to give his team an 11-7 lead. Less than a minute later, Wessel hit his second three of the game to make it 14-7.

The Shockers would go up by as many 26 in the first half and took a 45-25 lead into the locker room. Wichita State shot 15-for-24 (.625) from the field in the opening frame, including 5-for-10 from three-point land. The Shocks out-rebounded the Billikens 19-5 and outscored them in the paint 19-5 while containing them to 8-of-19 (.421) shooting.

Baker reeled off five-straight points for Wichita State to open the second half and Wessel passed his career-high in points with a layup giving the Shockers a commanding 52-25 edge.

Wichita State shot 28-for-52 (.538) from the field for the game, including 10-for-18 (.556) from three-point land. The Shockers out-rebounded the Billikens 41-20 and handily won the battle in the paint 32-10.

After the victory, WSU coach Gregg Marshall said, “I want to thank the fans, you know we lost the last game (in Utah), they still sold this place out. We played in front of the first sellout crowd in the history of this building for basketball. I don’t think the Globetrotters sold out, but it’s great, we love playing down here, it’s not Koch Arena, it’s a little different, the guys look forward to it. I think it showed in our play.”

Next up, Seton Hall will come to Koch Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 9 to take on the Shockers. Tip is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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