College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 4, 2011
Just over a week ago, #18 UNLV handed the North Carolina Tar Heels its first loss of the season, employing a combination of tenacious defense and hot shooting to overwhelm the visitors in the finals of the Las Vegas Invitational.
On Sunday, they ran into a team more than matching their intensity when they stepped onto the floor of Charles Koch Arena, in Wichita, Kansas. There, the hometown Shockers took it to them with great interior play the dagger-like 3-point shooting of senior Joe Ragland for an 89-70 stunner.
Ragland, a six-foot guard who redshirted his first two seasons, pumped in a career high 31 points, including 8 of 9 from 3-point range, as the Shockers took charge midway through the first half with a 9-0 run and never looked back.
Wichita State led 47-32 at the half and kept the Runnin' Rebels mired in a double digit deficit, never allowing them closer than 14 points from tying the game.
Ragland's open threes were a complement to sturdy inside play from teammates Carl Hall and Garrett Stutz, who chipped in 17 and 13 points, respectively. Ragland also added five rebounds and three assists as the Shockers handed the Rebels their first loss of the season.
5-2 Wichita State dropped a pair of back-to-back games to Alabama and Temple, but have since regrouped to win three in a row. The Shockers had a solid, 29-8, season last year and look ahead to Missouri Valley conference play which begins December 28 at Bradley.