DAVIDSON, N.C. -- Joe Ragland wasn't perfect. The Wichita State guard, however, was pretty close.
Ragland turned in one of the best games of his college career Saturday, scoring 30 points on 11 of 14 shooting and Wichita State (No. 24 AP) shot 80 percent in the second half to break open a tight game and beat Davidson 91-74.
Brennan: What We Learned Saturday
From buzzer beaters to BracketBusters, Eamonn Brennan analyzes what we learned from Saturday's college basketball games. Blog
Ragland hit all but one of his four 3-point attempts and made all five free throws. The senior finished one point shy of his career high set earlier this season against UNLV."How about 30 points on 14 shots?" Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "You talk about efficiency. That was one of our keys -- being efficient on offense. I guess the only thing he could do better was be absolutely perfect. But 30 points? I should have played him more, I guess."Ragland said he was feeding off his teammates' talents."Those guys demand a lot of attention from the defense and I'm able to get open," he said. "I've worked on my game enough to make the defense pay every time I'm wide open. I had a lot of wide open opportunities tonight. I was able to get into the lane."Said Davidson coach Bob McKillop: "He didn't miss too many shots. He threatened you from 3-point land. He threatened you from the drive. He threatened you in transition and in half court. He did a nice job of controlling the offense. He was sensational."It was Marshall's 300th career victory as a coach. He won 194 of those about 35 miles down the road at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., so the victory was extra special. But Marshall didn't want to talk about that milestone, instead wanting to focus on what the win meant for his team.Wichita State came into the game ranked in the AP top 25 this week for the first time since 2006. The school will likely to move up in the polls, what with a few teams in the lower half of the top 25 losing this week."This gives us a quality win and will enable us to move up ... if not the top 15, then the top 20," Williams said. "Hopefully this gets us into the (NCAA) tournament."Toure' Murry scored 16 points and Carl Hall added 13 points off the bench for the Shockers (24-4), who've won 22 of 24. Seven-foot Center Garrett Stutz, the Shockers' leader scorer this season, had eight points.Despite persistent foul trouble that allowed him to play only 19 minutes, Jake Cohen scored 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting to lead Davidson (20-7). Chris Czerapowicz had 17 points and Nic Cochran finished with 16 for the Wildcats.Wichita State led 39-38 at the break, but hit 20 of 25 shots in the second half, many of those on easy transition baskets and drives to the lane.The turning point came six minutes into the second half. With Wichita State leading 51-50, Hall hit a shot in the lane and the Wildcats seemed to fall apart on offense. The Shockers got three easy transition baskets by Murry, David Kyles and Demetric Williams, allowing the Shockers to open a nine-point lead.About a minute later Cohen, who played only seven minutes in the first half, picked up his fourth foul. The Shockers soon stretched their wings -- and their lead -- opening a 23-point margin. Davidson made a run to get it down to 11, but it was too late."We got out of sync and we took some bad shots and that leads to easy run-outs and bad defense during about that eight-minute stretch," said Cohen. "So that is something we have to look at going forward. Our consistency in that eight-minute stretch. They are a good transition team."Ragland said the Shockers' goal was to step up their defensive intensity in the second half, and they did just that."We didn't play our best basketball in the first half," Ragland said. "We wanted to put the pressure on them as well as protect the rim and clog up their offense."Earlier this year Davidson toppled then-No. 12 Kansas on the road and was competitive with Duke before falling at Cameron Indoor Stadium.Cohen, who came in averaging 13.5 points, scored Davidson's first 12 points of the game to keep the Wildcats close early on.But he was forced to sit most of the first half after picking up his second foul with 12:12 left and Davidson trailing 16-14. However, Cochran picked up the slack scoring 13 points first-half points and Czerapowicz hit a pair of 3-pointers to keep the Wildcats within one at the break.