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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Men’s basketball cruise to victory in intercity match against Friends University

Kadrian Ayarza
Redshirt sophomore forward Isaac Abidde prepares to shoot at the game against Friends University on Nov. 12.

Despite only being 6.7 miles away from each other, the last time Wichita State basketball faced off against Friends University was in 1943. Following the 80-year wait, Wichita State beat Friends, 95-65, in Charles Koch Arena on Nov. 12.

Junior guard Xavier Bell said the game against Friends shows the players that they can mentally lock in for games down the line.

“We know it was obviously not a Division I talent, but at the same time, just coming in with the right approach, right mentality and making sure we’re not making any dumb fouls or any dumb turnovers,” Bell said. 

Friends came out swinging in the first few minutes of the game, holding a 14-9 lead. 

“When you’re down 17-15 after the first two media (breaks), you kind of abandon (the game plan) real quickly and realize that we need to do a better job of pushing up on their shooters,” Paul Mills, head men’s basketball coach said. 

Graduate student and forward Dalen Ridgnal was battling through a back injury during the game but helped create a 17-0 run that led to the Shockers gaining a lead over the Falcons. Ridgnal scored 11 points in four minutes after entering the match and had six rebounds throughout the game.

“I thought Dalen was a huge spark,” Mills said. “He’s such a phenomenal rebounder, but his ability to stretch a floor is pretty impressive. He still (is) kind of laboring through some physical ailments with his back but he stays engaged.”

Redshirt sophomore forward Isaac Abidde, who scored 12 points, said he and Ridgnal ignited the team from the bench. 

“We provide a lot of energy off the bench,” Abidde said about him and Ridgnal. “He gives me energy; I feel like I might give him energy too, but he always has energy.”

Mills said he talked with coaches from Baylor and Gonzaga, who told him that almost every team plays a non-Division I team in their first three games. Doing so helps coaches  get an early idea of what some of the players can offer. All 12 players, who were available to play, saw at least seven minutes on the court. 

“What happens as the year goes on — there’s greater and greater clarity about what’s required in order to win,” Mills said. “That’s a good thing about these three games.”

Up next, Wichita State will travel to South Carolina for the Myrtle Beach Invitational where they will face off against Coastal Carolina on Nov. 16. Tip off is scheduled at 3:30 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Melanie Rivera-Cortez
Melanie Rivera-Cortez, Sports Editor
Kadrian Ayarza
Kadrian Ayarza, Former photographer
Kadrian Ayarza was a photographer for The Sunflower.

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