Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State basketball beat Western Kentucky in second half bounce back

Many years ago, Paul Mills read a book that said coaches and teams are successful when they have a high degree of optimism. 

Mills said the team was phenomenal at maintaining belief that they could win the game. 

Wichita State men’s basketball beat Western Kentucky (71-61), on Thursday night’s game at Charles Koch Arena. 

Senior guard Xavier Bell said that games like these help the team understand that they can withstand physical teams. Bell score 13 points and went 8-10 from the free throw line.

“I think it just helps us realize who we are as a team and good situations and bad situations and the tough ones, just coming out together, going in knowing that we got each other’s backs,” Bell said. 

After a shaky start where the teams were neck and neck, the end of the first half had the Shockers down by two (29-27). After a half time pep talk by the coaching staff, Wichita State came back and went on a 7-0 run at the start of the half. The run started with a 3-point shot from junior forward Kenny Pohto, who scored 16 points and had 11 rebounds. 

“We were down two, it wasn’t the end of the world and we knew we had to tighten some things,” Mills said. “We needed to turn the page and we need to move on to what’s next.” 

Redshirt junior guard Harlond Beverly said they were down, but that is how basketball works and they had to bounce back.  

“I think (Mills) has really done a great job like instilling that in all of us, just putting us through different situations in practice, I think we were very prepared,” Beverly said.

Mills said that in order to win games players need to maintain belief that what they are doing in practice is translating on the court and it is important to games early on in the season.

The Shockers played the game with seven players, something that, according to Mills, is not common until conference play.

Graduate student and forward Dalen Ridgnal had 13 rebounds, the highest for the night, and 7 points, but pushed through the game with a back injury. 

“Tonight he just battled through and that is that kind of speaks about his selflessness and wanting to add value to the team,” Mills said. “Knowing he’s got a responsibility to other people and so he’s going to fight through that and he came through with big rebounds at the end.”

Beverly said Ridgnal is the most selfless player he has ever played with. 

“Literally anything that contributes to winning, he’s willing to do… whatever that entails. He absolutely will show up and try his absolute hardest, so he’s a really really great player,” Beverly said.

Up next, Wichita State men’s basketball play against Friends University in an inner-city match up on Sunday, Nov. 12. Tip off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Melanie Rivera-Cortez
Melanie Rivera-Cortez, Sports Editor
Kristy Mace
Kristy Mace, Photo Editor
Kristy Mace is the photo editor for The Sunflower. She's majoring in psychology. Currently a junior, Mace hopes to go on to get her Ph.D. and become a neuropsychologist. She also plays for Wichita State's bowling team and does professional photography aside from The Sunflower.

Comments (0)

All The Sunflower Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *