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Dec. 5, 2009
Wichita, Kan. - USC Upstate center Nick Schneiders, despite playing with a head cold, blocked four Wichita State shots to tie the Upstate career blocked shots record, but the Spartans shot just under 32 percent from the field and could not get anything going offensively as Wichita State held a 19-point lead at halftime and cruised to a 72-45 victory Saturday night in Koch Arena.
Schneiders, a senior from Rietberg, Germany, blocked three shots in the first half and added one in the second to tie the all-time mark of 136. He shares the record with all-time great Kevin Harrington who played for the Spartans from 2000-04. Schneiders, who already owns the school's single-season record with 79 blocks last year, needs just one more to take sole possession of the career record.
Despite Schneiders' record-tying night, Upstate struggled from the field and fell to 1-6 on the year. The Spartans will take the next eight days off until returning to the hardwood against A-Sun foe Florida Gulf Coast on Monday, Dec. 14 in the Hodge Center. Wichita State improved to 7-1 with its fifth straight victory.
Ryan LeGates led Upstate with nine points, tying his career high. Mezie Uzochukwu added seven points and seven rebounds as no Spartan finished in double figures in scoring. Upstate scored 45 points, marking the fourth game this season when the Spartans failed to reach 50 points in a game.
"Wichita State pressured us and we had problems with our spacing against the press," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. "Guys weren't in their spots and did some fundamentally unsound things. We did a lot of things that weren't fundamental against their pressure. Other than that, I thought we did some good things until the last eight minutes of the game. We weren't terribly bad on defense other than allowing Hatch score. We did a decent job on the other players, but he made shots that hurt us. Offensively, when we did execute we got some decent looks."
Despite its cold shooting from the floor in the first half, Upstate fought to stay in the game with solid defense. A short baseline jumper from Schneiders at the 14:42 mark got the Spartans within three at 7-4. However, Upstate struggled with Wichita State's pressure over the next five minutes, missing two shots and committing four turnovers as the Shockers went on a 12-1 run to open a 19-5 lead with 9:52 to play before halftime.
Upstate got a three-pointer from Josh Chavis and a jumper from Chalmers Rogers to get the Spartans within nine with 6:45 remaining, but Wichita State outscored Upstate 22-12 the rest of the period to open a 19-point lead, 41-22, at halftime.
Upstate committed 11 turnovers in the first half and rallied to shoot just under 44 percent from the floor. Wichita State committed just three turnovers in the half, shot 50 percent from the field and three-point arc, and added nine offensive rebounds to take its 19-point lead.
After Upstate fell behind by 21 points to start the second half, the Spartans trimmed the Wichita State lead to 18 with 16:07 to play in the game. It would be as close as Upstate would get as the Shockers extended the lead to 25 points with 9:59 to play. The lead grew to as many as 30 points late in the half before Wichita State took the 27-point win.
Graham Hatch, whose previous career high was seven points, scored 21 points as the only Wichita State player to reach double figures. He also added seven rebounds. The Shockers played 12 players and 11 scored in the game. Toure' Murry finished with nine points and four rebounds. JT Durley and David Kyles each added eight points.
Wichita State finished the game shooting 41 percent from the field and converted 6-of-20 from beyond the three-point arc. The Shockers committed just eight turnovers in the game. Upstate shot a shade under 32 percent for the game and connected on just 4-of-16 from the arc. Upstate turned the ball over 18 times, just seven in the second half.