Shocker men bring home Cancun Challenge title


Men’s Basketball

The Wichita State men’s basketball team returned to the U.S. undefeated after winning the Cancun Challenge championship last week in Cancun, Mexico. 

This was the Shockers’ first in-season, out-of-state tournament title since 1963.

WSU defeated DePaul in the Riviera Division semifinal game 75-62. Demetric Williams scored a career high 18 points for the Shockers, and Malcolm Armstead scored 17 points. The game was scoreless for the first four minutes until Tekele Cotton went and knocked down a free throw. 

Throughout the game, WSU held a steady lead, but managed to pull ahead by as much as 13 points in the second half, despite pressure from DePaul. 

“Our point guards set us up in the right position to get easy buckets,” Williams said. “We work on it every day and our knowledge is very good on the press. We know what we can do and what we can’t do.” 

Both teams struggled with three-pointers, but WSU eventually out-shot DePaul 43 to 36 percent. The win advanced the Shockers to the Riviera Division finals against Iowa.

Cleanthony Early was named tournament MVP after scoring 25 points and assisting the Shockers in their 75-63 defeat of Iowa. Armstead scored 14. 

Iowa pulled ahead early in the first half, but the WSU defense allowed them to come back.

“We picked it up, being tougher,” Early said. “We know we can play defense.”

Even with some players struggling with three-pointers in the first game against DePaul, coach Gregg Marshall still encouraged the men to do what they wanted on the court.

“I’ve seen them shoot it and I know they can make it,” he said. “If you start talking about it, then they’re hesitant.”

In the second half, the Shockers found their rhythm from the arc, leading them to a 6-0 record in season play.

“We wanted to win the championship,” Cotton said. “We pride ourselves on defense and rebounding, so we locked up.”

The Shockers play Tulsa at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Charles Koch Arena.