Saturday , Dec , 02 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Top-25 clash pits Shockers against Orange

Syracuse, NY (Sports Network) – Hoping to add another feather to their
suddenly crowded cap, the 17th-ranked Wichita State Shockers pull into
update New York to take on the 15th-ranked Syracuse Orange.

Mark Turgeon’s Shockers have disposed of two of last year’s Final Four
combatants (George Mason and LSU — both on the road) and the team is off
to its first 5-0 start since going 9-0 to kick off the 2004-05 campaign. WSU
was most recently in action on Wednesday when it played its first home game as
a ranked team since 1983 and beat up on UMKC in an 85-55 final.

Syracuse hasn’t faced anywhere near the competition its counterpart has, but
the Orange are a perfect 7-0, which includes a 6-0 mark at the Carrier
Dome. Coach Jim Boeheim’s club is outscoring the opposition by nearly 17 ppg on
average, and the Orange took care of a pesky Holy Cross squad the last time
out, 72-64.

Syracuse, which is playing the second of three straight games against
undefeated foes (Oklahoma State is next on the docket), owns a 2-0 lead in the
all-time series with Wichita State, with the most recent triumph coming in an
88-63 verdict at home in 1991.

P.J. Couisnard scored 16 points to lead four Shockers in double figures as the
team bounced the UMKC Kangaroos earlier this week, winning by 30. Sean Ogirri
tallied 15 points, while Phil Thomasson and Ryan Martin finished with 12 points
and 10 points, respectively. Thomasson also added 10 rebounds to notch his
first double-double, and Wichita State shot 54.5 percent from the field, hit 11
three-pointers and won the battle on the boards by a 38-26 margin. UMKC dropped
just 38.5 percent of its total shots, including a mere 4-of-20 three-point
tries (.200), demonstrating once again the solid defensive play the Shockers
have relied upon all season long. WSU is holding foes to an average of 57.0
ppg. The Shockers gave up just 53 points to a potent LSU squad, which had been
ranked sixth in the country when the two met. Offensively, balance is the order
of the day as four players are averaging double figures, but the leader (Kyle
Wilson) nets just 12.4 ppg and there is less than a point separating the
quartet.

Syracuse used 26 made free throws to hand Holy Cross its first loss of the
season. Senior Demetris Nichols, who is SU’s leading scorer on the year at 16.6
ppg, led the Orange with 21 points, marking his third straight 20-point effort.
Paul Harris converted 10-of-11 foul shots to finish with 14 points and Josh
Wright went 7-of-8 from the stripe to chip in 13. Eric Devendorf, who averages
15.0 ppg, had a horrible night, missing 10 of his 13 field goal attempts in
logging 36 minutes. The Orange rebounded from a lackluster shooting first half
(.389) to drop 46.4 percent in the second. Holy Cross was held to just 36.7
percent shooting from the field overall, while 18 turnovers clearly did not
help the Crusaders’ cause. Darryl Watkins returned to action for SU after
missing two games with a nose injury, and he saw significant action, responding
with seven points and six rebounds. Foes are shooting just 34.5 percent from
the floor against the Orange.

SYRACUSE WICHITAST