College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 9, 2013
A bundle of good teams are playing in the Missouri Valley Conference, a general hotbed of college hoops that is often overlooked, but the pollsters have already determined that two of them - Creighton and Wichita State - are worthy of Top 25 designations, while Evansville and Indiana State are providing depth for the league.
In Wednesday's 81-76 victory at Southern Illinois, the 15-1 Shockers of Wichita State applied a stamp to their #23 ranking, rallying from a 43-34 half time deficit for the win.
After the slow start, the Shockers lit it up in the second half, especially junior forward, Cleanthony Early, who set a career high mark with 39 points on 13-for-19 shooting, making five of eight from three point range and eight of 10 from the foul line.
Scoring the first 10 points of the of the second period, the Shockers quickly erased their host's lead, and battled the rest of the way against the determined Salukis.
Early, who leads the Shockers in scoring at 15.4 points per game, easily outdid his previous high mark of 25, made in a 75-63 win over Iowa earlier in the season. Red-shirted his first two years at Wichita State, Early has arrived in time to give the Shockers a versatile scoring threat.
Wichita State is tied with Creighton at 4-0, atop the MVC standings. The top two teams meet on Saturday, January 19 at Wichita State.