Friday , Dec , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Shockers and Lobos lock horns in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) – The eighth-ranked Wichita State Shockers and
New Mexico Lobos will meet in the semifinal round of the Las Vegas Classic.
The winner of this game will play either USC or Kansas State for the
championship on Saturday, while the losers of both semifinal games will
square off as well.

Perhaps no team nationally has been a more pleasant surprise than Wichita
State, which has won its first nine games of the season to tie the best
start in program history. On Tuesday, the Shockers rolled to a 74-65
decision over Kennesaw State, and while that opponent was not exactly top
notch, they have beaten the likes of LSU and Syracuse thus far.

New Mexico hasn’t been perfect like Wichita State, but the team does own an
8-2 record and enters this clash with a three-game winning streak. The most
recent win came on Tuesday by a score of 76-69 over Charleston Southern.

The all-time series between New Mexico and Wichita State is tied at 2-2,
and the last meeting took place way back in 1978.

Wichita State plays sound basketball at both ends of the floor. The team is
scoring 76.0 ppg on 49.8 percent shooting from the floor, including 37.7
percent accuracy from three-point range. Defensively, the Shockers are holding
opponents to 58.4 ppg on 39.1 percent shooting from the field. The fact that
they have only committed 103 turnovers in nine games suggest that they are a
well-coached group. Kyle Wilson paces a balanced scoring attack with 13.0 ppg,
and P.J. Couisnard adds 12.2 ppg to the mix. Sean Ogirri (10.7 ppg) and Ryan
Martin (10.3 ppg) bring balance to the lineup. In the closer-than-expected win
over Kennesaw State last time out, Martin tallied 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting
from the field. Couisnard pitched in 15 points for the Shockers, who connected
on 56.5 percent of their attempts from the floor and earned a 22-7 advantage
in points from the foul line.

New Mexico is a formidable offensive team, as it is averaging 82.2 ppg on 49.1
percent shooting from the floor. Defensively, the club is holding opponents to
70.2 ppg on 42.3 percent shooting efficiency. The top performer for the Lobos
is J.R. Giddens, as he is scoring 18.4 ppg to go along with 6.2 rpg. The only
other double-digit scorer on the roster is Tony Danridge, as he is netting
11.7 ppg. Giddens has led New Mexico in scoring in all but one game this
season, and he posted 18 points in the win over Charleston Southern. Danridge
finished with 13 points for the Lobos, who racked up 20 assists and a 39-27
rebounding advantage.