WICHITA, Kan. — Grant Sherfield and Jaime Echenique scored 14-points each and (rv/rv) Wichita State rode a fast start to a 73-63 win over (rv/25) VCU on Saturday afternoon at a sold-out Charles Koch Arena.
WSU (10-1) knocked off its second USA Today Coaches Poll Top-25 opponent in three weeks, having previously upset No. 25 Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Dec. 8.
The Shockers won their 10th-straight at home and ended VCU’s seven-game road winning streak (tied for the nation’s second-longest coming into the day).
Echenique scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half for the Shockers, who led 18-6 less than five-minutes into the game and maintained a 42-30 halftime cushion. The big man was effective in just 14 minutes, hitting 4-of-6 from the field and 6-of-7 at the foul line to go with six rebounds and a season-high three blocks.
Sherfield was 4-of-7 from the field and 6-of-8 at the stripe.
Jamarius Burton collected 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes of action, Tyson Etienne (10 points) nailed 2-of-5 threes, Erik Stevenson (eight points) forced a career-high five steals, and Morris Udeze piled on seven points and seven rebounds.
Marcus Evans finished with 15 points and five steals to lead VCU (9-3).
The Shockers showed the type of poise and toughness that was absent during the early parts of last season. An inexperienced WSU squad lost 70-54 at VCU on Dec. 22, 2018 but turned the tables 12 months later in the return game.
WSU forced 18 VCU turnovers and held the Rams to 37.7 percent from the field (4-of-19 from distance).
The Shockers shot 42.4 percent (5-of-14 from deep) and outrebounded VCU 42-37, helped by 16 offensive rebounds.
In building their 12-point halftime cushion, the Shockers outscored the Rams 12-0 in points off turnovers and 24-10 in the paint.
VCU had entered the day ranked among the top-10 nationally in turnovers forced and turnover margin, however the Shockers had just one giveaway in the game’s first 16 minutes and only five in the first half, compared to VCU’s 11.
Those totals leveled out after halftime, but the Shockers maintained a double-digit lead for all but 63 seconds of the second half. VCU cut an 18-point deficit to nine (69-60) with 2:17 remaining but made no further headway.