Wichita State began the Las Vegas Holiday Classic with a monumental rout.
The eighth-ranked Shockers look for another blowout victory as they host Kennesaw State on Tuesday.
The first two rounds of the tournament are being held at host sites. It shifts to Las Vegas on Friday, when Wichita State (8-0) plays New Mexico and Kennesaw State (2-7) meets Maryland-Eastern Shore.
The Shockers are coming off a 102-46 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday, the third-largest victory in school history and their biggest since beating Hardin-Simmons 105-46 on Dec. 1, 1980.
“We were really rolling offensively,” Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon said. “I was really worried whether we’d be able to do that after being off for eight days.”
Wichita State beat Wyoming 83-69 on Dec. 9 in its first game as a top 10 team in 25 years, then showed no rust in Saturday’s victory. P.J. Couisnard went 8-for-8 from the floor and finished with 21 points, the first Shockers player to crack 20 this season.
“Any night could be somebody’s night,” Couisnard said. “It was just a team effort. My teammates found me in the open spots.”
The Shockers found plenty of open shots against the Hawks. They shot 65 percent for the game, the second-highest percentage in school history, and were at 70 percent for the first 10 minutes of the contest, when they took a 22-7 lead.
Wichita State shot 66.7 percent in a 72-66 win over Austin Peay on Dec. 17, 1987.
“We shared the ball and executed at a high level,” Turgeon said. “It was a good win for us.”
With a victory over Kennesaw State on Tuesday, the Shockers can match the 2004-05 team for the best start in school history.
Kennesaw State has lost three in a row, including an 82-54 defeat at Kansas State on Saturday in the first round of the classic. The Owls shot 33.9 percent from the field and were only 4-for-21 from 3-point range.
“I thought we came out flat,” Kennesaw State coach Tony Ingle said. “We could not make a shot against their defense early. I’ve got to give them credit. They came out strong and we just couldn’t match it.”
Kennesaw State is 0-4 on the road and its 36.3 percent shooting is the ninth-worst in Division I.
The Owls lost 87-42 to then-No. 21 George Washington on Nov. 23, 2005, their only other matchup against a ranked team.
This is the first meeting between these schools.
Following Friday’s games of the classic, Wichita State will face either Kansas State or Southern California on Saturday, while Kennesaw State will meet either Longwood or Charleston Southern.