Alabama hands Shockers second straight loss; Anton Grady hospitalized

Evan Pflugradt

Wichita State has a losing record (2-3) for the first time since 2011.

Alabama topped WSU 64-60 in the second round of the AdvoCare Invitational.

The loss to Alabama marked the third consecutive loss to Division I opponents for Wichita State this season. Alabama defeated a ranked nonconference opponent for the first time since 2001.

Things went from bad to worse for WSU in the course of the second half. With 3:10 remaining in the game and the Shockers trailing by five, senior forward Anton Grady collided head-first into the shoulder of Alabama guard Dazon Ingram.

Grady continued to stumble past the free throw line before falling on the court. He remained on the floor before being carted off by medical staff on a stretcher.

WSU head coach Gregg Coach Marshall said Grady was conscious on the floor while the medical staff attended to him.

“Anton is alert, awake and talking,” Marshall said. “He can’t move. He says he has feeling in his extremities.”

The WSU Athletic Department posted an update on Grady’s condition Friday evening. A CT scan came back negative, and he will undergo an MRI, according to the update.

“Wichita State forward Anton Grady is alert and responsive, has feeling in his extremities, and is in overall good spirits,” the update said.

WSU senior Ron Baker expressed that after Grady exited the game, the focus for the team as a whole was lost.

“Seeing your brother on the court like that, obviously it’s more than a game at that point,” Baker said. “It’s life.”

Grady is currently being attended to at a nearby urgent care facility.

“Our prayers go out to Anton Grady,” said Alabama coach Avery Johnson. “Most of our focus — even through the celebration of this win — is on his health.”

Grady had previously struggled with injuries at Cleveland State. He underwent three knee surgeries in four seasons at Cleveland State, each one testing the motivation of the 6-foot-8 forward to return to the floor.

“The thought [of Anton’s previous injuries] often goes through my mind,” Marshall said at the beginning of the season. “But the other thought that goes through my mind is that he needs to learn our system and be out there.”

Grady joins the list of injured players, consisting of guards Fred VanVleet and Landry Shamet.

“Knowing that Fred and Landry are out, then you see him go down, it was a blow to me,” Baker said.

VanVleet is slated for a return to the floor Dec. 5 against Saint Louis, while Shamet is out of action for the next 10 to 12 weeks. Shamet underwent surgery Wednesday to resolve a stress fracture in his foot.

The Shockers are set to add Conner Frankamp in December. He’s ineligible through the first semester of competition.

“The rule states that it is when your exams are over and the grades are posted,” Marshall said. “Some people give their exams early. It could be sooner than the Utah game.”

The guard could be declared eligible as soon as his semester grades are posted, potentially as early as the Dec. 9 game against UNLV.

Wichita State will need the boost on offense from the transfer guard. The Shockers shot 31 percent from the floor Friday against Alabama, down from 35 percent in the quarterfinals versus Southern California on Thursday.

At a loss for options, Marshall has challenged Baker, an All-American senior, to fill in the gaps.

Baker played 39 minutes in each of the first two games of the tournament, the third time he’s played over 39 minutes this season.

Baker led the Shockers in scoring 15 points on 4-12 shooting. Freshman Markis McDuffie joined Baker as the only double-figure scorers for WSU. McDuffie tied a career-high 14 points for the second consecutive game.

“I was mad after the Tulsa game,” McDuffie said. “I thought about what I could do to help this team.”

Freshman Ty Taylor II played a career-high 30 minutes. While Taylor continued to hold his own on defense, the freshman guard continued to struggle finding his shot. Taylor was 4-15 and 0-6 from three-point range.

Alabama Forward Shannon Hale led the Crimson Tide in scoring with 20 points. Alabama finished with three scorers in double-figures.

The Shockers have never gone 0-3 in an exempt tournament under the leadership of Marshall.

Wichita State will get a chance to break their losing streak at 9 a.m. Sunday against Iowa in Orlando. The seventh game of the tournament will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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