WICHITA, Kan. (AP)—P.J. Couisnard is usually the one setting up his teammates. This time, they fed him the ball—and some good-natured abuse.
“It’s easy to go perfect from the field if you’re shooting layups,” guard Matt Braeuer said after Couisnard was 8-for-8 from the floor and scored a season-high 21 points in No. 8 Wichita State’s 102-46 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Sunday.
But Couisnard also hit several long jump shots, including his only 3-point attempt, in becoming the first Shockers player to break 20 this season.
He came in sharing the team assist lead (3.8 per game) with Braeuer, who had five assists to Couisnard’s two on Sunday.
“P.J. doesn’t usually get to shoot all that much, so it’s nice to see him have this kind of game,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “I was hoping he would get over 20, because he doesn’t shoot enough to get over 20 a lot.”
Wichita State’s win in the first round of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic was the third-most lopsided victory in Wichita State history. The margin of victory was the widest since a 105-46 win over Hardin-Simmons on Dec. 1, 1980.
Couisnard was 8-for-8 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line before he missed the second of two free throws with 7:15 left. He added two more free throws with 6:42 to go before sitting down with the rest of the starters.
It was the Shockers’ second straight perfect floor performance by a big scorer. Braeuer was 5-for-5 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line in an 83-69 victory at Wyoming on Dec. 9.
“Any night could be somebody’s night,” Couisnard said. “It was just a team effort. My teammates found me in the open spots.”
Karon Bradley added 14 points for the Shockers (8-0), who can match their school-record 9-0 start from 2004-05 with a second-round victory Tuesday against Kennesaw State. Kyle Wilson had 12 points, Phillip Thomasson added 11 and Sean Ogirri and Wendell Preadom 10 each.
“We were really rolling offensively,” Turgeon said. “I was really worried whether we’d be able to do that after being off for eight days.”
Antonio McMillion led the Hawks (1-6) with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Jesse Brooks added 12 points. Corey Brown, who came in leading the Hawks in scoring at 14.2 points a game, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with five points.
Maryland-Eastern Shore led only once, on McMillion’s basket 23 seconds in. Wichita State scored the next 10 points and put together a 22-5 run over the next seven minutes to go up 22-7.
The Shockers shot 70 percent in the first 10 minutes and 65 percent for the game. They took their first 20-point lead on Wilson’s 3-point play with just under eight minutes left in the half.
The Shockers led 50-22 at the break and went on a 19-3 run to open the second half. That included a 14-0 run, capped by Bradley’s basket with just more than 12 minutes left, for a 69-25 lead.
Wichita State hit 10 of its first 13 shots—and scored put-back baskets on the three misses. Maryland-Eastern Shore, which was outrebounded 43-28, didn’t get its first defensive board until McMillion rebounded Thomasson’s miss with just more than 12 1/2 minutes left in the first half.
Maryland-Eastern Shore, meanwhile, didn’t have an offensive rebound until a little more than 11 1/2 minutes remained in the half—and that was only because the Shockers’ Gal Mekel was out of bounds when he grabbed the ball.
“They’re stronger, and that made a difference,” Maryland-Eastern Shore coach Larry Lessett said.
The Hawks also hurt themselves—and fueled Wichita State’s early run—with four turnovers in the first 3 1/2 minutes. They finished with 18 turnovers, which the Shockers converted into 31 points.
Lessett was hit with a technical foul just over 3 1/2 minutes into the game for saying something to an official.
“There was no cussing or anything,” Lessett said, declining to be more specific. “It was wrong.”