To quote Bruce Haertl, "talk about a buzzkill...."
Wichita State looked like the world beaters Shocker fans wanted them to be: winners of five in a row, coming off a blowout win over powerful Detroit, looking like all the problems in the world are fixed and then Evansville comes to town.
Colt Ryan scored 29 points and Wichita State couldn't close as they lose 59-56 at Koch Arena, Wednesday night.
WSU (24-6, 12-5) trailed almost the entire game until the second half and could not match Evansville's energy and enjoyment in playing the spoiler in enemy territory.
"Dissapointing is an understatment," said head coach Gregg Marshall following the game. "Senior night and all that is at stake, for us to play that way. They were on fire in the first half and we weren't doing enough to break their rhythm."
The Purple Aces (17-13,9-8) had only one Valley road win coming into the game with Wichita State but couldn't miss in the first half, shooting 56 percent at the break and leading by 11. That hole was something the Shockers struggled to climb out of.
They eventually tied the game 42-42 in the second half before back to back break away dunks put them up 53-49, and crowd was back in support.
Then Colt Ryan got going again and WSU went cold. Shockers didn't make a single basket after the four minute mark.
The usual suspects for Wichita State on offense were not in sight Wednesday. Malcom Armstead came in scoring in double figures in five straight games but only had five points. Same for Demetric Williams. Takele Cotton was the leading scorer with 12 points.
When the Shockers outrebound and opponent they are 21-3 this season and did Evansville by 18, but that wasn't the difference. WSU struggled from distance and Evansville didn't.
This puts the pressure on Wichita State for a Saturday showdown with Creighton, winner take all for the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title.
Creighton beat Bradley Wedneday and are now tied with WSU atop the MVC standings.
With Northern Iowa losing on Wednesday night as well, the Shockers have clinched at least a second-place finish in the league, and the #2 seed for the conference tournament.
Colt Ryan scored 29 points, and Evansville knocked off Missouri Valley Conference leader Wichita State 59-56 on Wednesday night.
The loss, combined with Creighton's win at Bradley, dropped Wichita State into a tie with Creighton atop the conference. The teams play at Creighton on Saturday in the regular-season finale, with the winner taking the No. 1 conference tournament seed.
Ryan was 10 of 18 from the floor, including three 3-pointers, for the Purple Aces (17-13, 9-8), who didn't have anyone else in double figures.
Tekele Cotton had 12 points and Cleanthony Early 10 for the Shockers (24-6, 12-5), who saw their five-game winning streak snapped. The loss spoiled the final home game for seniors Malcolm Armstead, Carl Hall, Ehimen Orukpe and Demetric Williams.
Neither team scored after Cotton's dunk with 3:28 left. Wichita State was 0 of 7 shooting during that time, and Hall missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.