Early foul trouble and cold shooting start to the second-half doomed Wichita State in a 70-54 loss to VCU Saturday afternoon at the Siegel Center.
Markis McDuffie scored a team-high 16 points for WSU (7-5). Jamarius Burton and Samajae Haynes-Jones tacked on 12 and 10 points apiece.
Isaac Vann paced VCU (8-4) with 18 points to go with 15-each from De’Riante Jenkins and Marcus Evans.
Haynes-Jones and McDuffie each picked up two fouls within the first 10 minutes of the game. Freshman Erik Stevenson joined them at the 6:20-mark, forcing Gregg Marshall to bring Haynes-Jones back into the game. Less than 90 seconds later, Haynes-Jones was whistled for foul No. 3.
Jaime Echenique, the team’s leading rebounder and shot-blocker, suffered a foot injury at the 7:31-mark of the first half and did not return.
Playing with two fouls, McDuffie scored on an alley-oop and a three-pointer to give the Shockers a 30-27 lead with 3:23 to play in the half.
Vann hit consecutive threes to put VCU in back in front at the 2:45-mark, and the Rams never trailed again.
WSU’s 34-point first half was the best by a VCU opponent this year. Unfortunately, the Shockers still trailed by three points, thanks to 11 first-half turnovers.
VCU scored the first 16 points of the second half to build a commanding 53-34 lead.
WSU missed its first 11 shots out of the locker room. The Shockers’ first points came with 12:10 to go on Burton’s driving layup.
VCU shot 50% for the game to WSU’s 36%. The Shockers were 6-of-26 from three. VCU was 5-of-25.
WSU won the rebounding battle, 38-32, with help from 17 offensive rebounds.
***McDuffie reached double-figures for the 11th consecutive game — tied for the eighth-longest streak of the Marshall Era.
***WSU went 4-2 in the month of December.
***The Shockers are 0-2 on the road this year. This after a remarkable 49-8 run over the five previous seasons.
***VCU now leads the all-time series, 3-2. WSU drops to 1-1 in Richmond. The teams will meet again Dec. 21, 2019 in Wichita.
***WSU takes a 12-day break for the holidays before opening conference play Thursday, Jan. 3 at Memphis (8:30 p.m. CT, CBSSN).
***Excluding gaps between conference tournament and postseason play, this 12-day layoff is the longest for a WSU team since the 1989-90 season, when the Shockers competed in the preseason NIT on Nov. 16, then didn’t see action again until Nov. 29.