Saturday , Mar , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Shockers seek upset of second-seeded Volunteers

=== Shockers seek upset of second-seeded Volunteers ===

(Sports Network) – After narrowly escaping Winthrop in the first round, the
second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers will battle the seventh-seeded Wichita
State Shockers in second round action from the Greensboro Coliseum.

The Volunteers made things extremely interesting in their opening round
matchup against 15th-seeded Winthrop, as Tennessee needed a last second
shot to slip past the gritty Eagles. The Vols almost made their first
appearance in the “Big Dance” since 2000-01 one to forget, but with the
victory over Winthrop, the team is now 9-14 all-time in the tournament. The
Vols captured the East Division Championship in the SEC and closed out
the year with a solid 22-7 overall ledger.

As for the Shockers, they thumped Seton Hall in the opening round of the
tournament, defeating the Pirates 86-66 to advance to this evening’s
matchup with Tennessee. The victory was the team’s first win in the NCAA
Tournament since 1981, and also pushed the Shockers overall ledger in the “Big
Dance” to 7-8. Wichita State was tremendous all year, posting a 24-8 record on
the season, while capturing the regular-season title in the Missouri Valley
Conference. Unfortunately, the Shockers suffered a tough setback to Bradley in
the MVC Tournament, but despite the early exit from the conference tourney,
the Shockers still earned their eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament.

This will be the second-ever meeting between the two schools, with the
Shockers taking the first matchup by a 77-73 margin back in 1990.

The Shockers were tremendous at the defensive end of the court all season,
surrendering just 61.5 ppg, while permitting their opponents to shoot a mere
40.1 percent from the field. Their defensive dominance continued in the
opening round of the tournament, as Wichita State defeated Seton Hall by 20
points. The Shockers held the Pirates to a lackluster 34.4 percent shooting
effort from the floor, which included a 6-of-20 showing from long range. The
Shockers were also solid at the offensive end of the floor, shooting an
impressive 47.4 percent from the field, which included a 10-of-22 clip from
behind the arc. Wichita State also made 22-of-32 attempts from the foul line,
and won the battle on the glass, 44-36. Sean Ogirri was sensational in the
win, connecting on 6-of-10 shots from long range, while finishing the game
with 23 points and five assists. Paul Miller added 15 points and seven
rebounds, while Ryan Martin tallied 10 points off the bench.

On the season, Miller led the way with 13.1 ppg and 6.5 rpg, while Ogirri
produced 12.2 ppg. Ogirri along with Kyle Wilson both used outside shooting
to help the Shockers throughout the season, as Ogirri netted 45.4 percent
of his shots from long range, while Wilson connected on 42.5 percent of his
three-point attempts.

As for the Vols, they came into the tournament averaging a whopping 81.3 ppg,
while shooting a solid 46.7 percent from the field. However, in the team’s
opening round matchup with Winthrop, Tennessee struggled tremendously at the
offensive end. In the two-point win over the 15th-seeded Eagles, the Vols shot
45.3 percent from the field, but connected on just 5-of-21 attempts from
behind the arc, and lost the battle on the glass, 35-33. Major Wingate led the
way with 15 points and six rebounds, while Andre Peterson posted a double-
double, scoring 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Chris Lofton also
netted 12 points in the win, while Watson chipped in nine points. While Lofton
and Watson both struggled in the win over Winthrop, the two players were the
heart and soul of the Vols throughout the regular season, as Lofton led the
team with 17.1 ppg, while Watson averaged 15.1 ppg to go along with a team-
best 116 assists.