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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State men’s basketball takes down Rogers State in preseason game

Redshirt+junior+guard+Colby+Rogers+looks+for+a+teammate+to+pass+to+during+the+game+against+Rogers+State+on+Oct.+29.+Rogers+grabbed+8+points+over+the+30+minutes+he+played.
Mia Hennen
Redshirt junior guard Colby Rogers looks for a teammate to pass to during the game against Rogers State on Oct. 29. Rogers grabbed 8 points over the 30 minutes he played.

As a cool October air blew outside Charles Koch Arena, Wichita State men’s basketball ignited their preseason fire with a win over Rogers State University, 74-53.

Despite only going 19 seconds without a lead in the match against the Hillcats, the Shockers got off to a slow start on Sunday. The team struggled to get field goals in the basket, but by the end of the first half, Wichita State had a small lead over Rogers State, 34-30. 

“(We weren’t) shooting it well; we weren’t able to get the ball inside,” Paul Mills, head men’s basketball coach, said. “There was much more of a concerted effort to get the ball on the interior in the second half.”

When asked what the biggest teaching moment would be from the game, players pointed to the team’s 17 turnovers.

“We may have had a little bit more turnovers than we expected; I know I did myself,” junior guard Xavier Bell, who had four turnovers throughout the game, said. “(We will see) what we can do in practice to make those better.”

Before coming to Wichita State, Mills served as head coach for Oral Roberts University. There, Mills developed a reputation for his small turnover percentage. In the 2019-2020 season, the Golden Eagles turnover percentage sat at 13.9%, the second-best in the NCAA. 

“I don’t do well with turning the ball over,” Mills said.

Despite struggles with turnovers and scoring, the men had plenty of elements to be excited about, notably the combination of center Quincy Ballard and forward Kenny Pohto.

“(Pohto) can get quality shots against anybody he’s probably going against, and so he can get really good shots,” Mills said. “More importantly, he knows how to make decisions.”

Mills said while Ballard has gotten better at the post, from a decision-making standpoint, he’s not there with Pohto yet. Redshirt junior Colby Rogers said he’s seen improvement from Ballard with his ball-handling.

“Quincy gives you confidence to pressure the ball,” Rogers said. “He’s 7-foot; he can jump over guys. I mean his presence alone; it helps us.”

Ballard and Bell led the team in points with 13 and 14 points, respectively. Pohto and Ballard both posted double figures in rebounds, grabbing 11 and 10 boards each.

With the conclusion of Sunday’s game, Mills said his team, including himself, is still in preseason mode, something they plan to get out of soon.

“I’m looking forward to a lot of full nights in Koch Arena and thankful to people who came out today,” he said.

The Shockers will be back in Charles Koch Arena on Monday, Nov. 6 to face off against Lipscomb University for their first official game. Tip-off is slated for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at goshockers.com.

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About the Contributor
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing. Hennen uses they/them pronouns.

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