VanVleet leads WSU past Aces

Fred VanVleet continues to put his stamp on the Shocker history books as he recorded five assists to become Wichita State’s career assists leader in a 62-43 win over Evansville on Sunday.

“It’s really special when you talk about the history of the guys in the program,” VanVleet said. “All the great guards and all the great players that have been through here. It’s a great accomplishment for me personally, but I think even more so the teammates that I’ve had and the coaching staff.”

Heading into the Evansville game, VanVleet needed four assists to tie and five assists to break the record. It took until the 5:06 mark in the second half to break the record, as he had to provide most of the scoring in the first half.

“Guys just weren’t making shots,” he said. “We got good looks. Missed a few bunnies and wide open threes. Mine were going in so I just stayed aggressive. My teammates found me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help this team win and at that moment in the game it was to make shots.”

VanVleet outscored Evansville by himself in the first half. VanVleet had 18 of WSU’s 30 first half points. Evansville had 14.

While VanVleet took care of the scoring, the team took care of the defensive end, especially Tekele Cotton.

Cotton had the duty of guarding Evansville’s D.J. Balentine, the Missouri Valley Conference’s leading scorer.

“We were trying to pressure them and disrupt timing,” VanVleet said. “We wanted to take them off their spot and mess their rhythm up. And obviously, we have Tekele Cotton in our back pocket.”

Cotton was in Balentine’s back pocket all game. Averaging almost 20 points per game, Balentine was held to eight points on 2-for-10 shooting from the field.

“Tekele is like a shadow,” head coach Gregg Marshall said. “He doesn’t give any free looks off those screens.”

Wichita State moves on to 25-3 on the season and 15-1 in conference play. There next game is 6 p.m. Wendesday at Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind.