It's not every year that the first post-midnight game of the marathon features a top 20 team that was five good minutes away from playing from the national championship the season before. Oh, and Western Kentucky's also been in the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons and four of the last six.
The best part about this game: it'll be played in front of a full house.
The passion of Missouri Valley hoops fans is one of the best-kept secrets in all of American sports.
1:23 - You've got a lot to live up to, Game 2.
BYU/Stanford outscored 7 of the 9 NBA games that were played tonight.— Ben Weixlmann (@BWeixScout) November 12, 2013
Doesn't look like Wichita State/Western Kentucky is going to get there, as the Shockers lead 10-9 with 11:30 left in the first half.
1:28 - ESPN with its first attempt at tip-off marathon humor, as Gregg Marshall gives an endurance pep talk to a group of young girls prepared for a slumber party.
Just wait and see how weird things get when the Hawaii game rolls around.
1:30 - DON'T BLOW THIS, PORTLAND.
With BYU's upset win at Stanford, the @WCChoops is now a combined 14-0 to start the college basketball season.— Robbie Bullough (@RobbieBullough) November 12, 2013
1:35 - Western has made the big dance the last two years via crazy runs in the Sun Belt tournament after disappointing regular seasons. This looks like a more traditionally solid Hilltopper squad. They're competing well with the bigger Shockers in the paint and trail just 17-14 at the under 8.
1:43 - All things considered, Wichita State might have been the most impressive fan base at the Final Four last April. Sure, the rest of the crowd at the Georgia Dome joined their side when it became clear that they were going to push Louisville, but the Shocker faithful were quite rowdy even before that.
if they're always going to embrace this game the way they are tonight, then ESPN needs to give them a marathon tilt every year.
Western Kentucky leads 24-23 at the under 4 timeout.
1:50 - The definitive faces of the 2013-14 tip-off marathon so far:
1:56 - Hopefully there will be a GIF soon, but until then, this drives the moment home as well as possible:
Rockstar Grannys forever.
1:59 - Officials trying to figure out if a WKU shot just before the buzzer was touched or went in without any interference.
2:00 - Basket counts, but Wichita State still leads 30-28 at the break. Another great first half. I fear we're peaking earlier than a late 2000s Rick Barnes team.
2:07 - Great fans, bad ass review monitors; that's what Missouri Valley basketball does.
Speaking from my experience at Arch Madness, the Valley has a badass review monitor. All conferences should adopt.— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) November 12, 2013
2:17 - Keep waiting for this announcing duo to tell me how much Chris Moneymaker has left in his stack.
2:22 - The Shockers score the first 11 points of the second half and there is much rejoicing inside The Koch. It's after 2 so I can make that joke. Also, that Gregg Marshall can do some coaching.
It's response time for a WKU team that's trying to stay in this one despite being hampered by injuries.
2:30 - First team SB Nation preseason All-American Cleanthony Early is getting it going, but WKU has settled down a little bit. Wichita State still on top, 46-35.
2:40 - We have hit a lull. Just 1-point has been scored in the last six minutes. Aaron Adeoye's huge block for Western should have counted for something, though.
2:50 - It feels like the first segment of the second half is going to be the difference here. The Hilltoppers keep fighting but can't get out of the 9-13 point deficit range. The Shockers might be a top 15 team eventually, but they're still figuring out how to adjust to life without Carl Hall and Malcolm Armstead. We'll know more when they head to Kansas City for the Hall of Fame Classic later this month.
2:54 - I'd hurt people for Ron Baker's hair.
3:03 - Western Kentucky has two minutes to avoid being held to single digits in the second half.
3:10 - The Hilltoppers finish with just 11 points in the second and fall to Wichita State, 66-49. Four Shockers score in double figures.
Here's your box score:
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
|George Fant, F||1-7||0-0||0-0||3||4||7||1||0||1||4||4||2|
|Aleksej Rostov, C||4-10||1-5||3-3||3||2||5||1||0||0||2||3||12|
|T.J. Price, G||4-13||3-8||1-2||0||1||1||1||1||0||3||3||12|
|Caden Dickerson, G||1-5||1-3||0-0||1||3||4||0||1||0||2||1||3|
|Brandon Price, G||1-4||0-2||0-0||0||1||1||3||0||0||2||2||2|
|Ben Lawson, F||1-2||0-0||0-0||1||0||1||0||0||1||0||1||2|
|Aaron Adeoye, F||1-5||0-1||1-3||3||4||7||0||0||1||1||1||3|
|Nigel Snipes, F||1-3||0-2||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||2|
|Kevin Kaspar, G||2-9||2-7||0-0||1||2||3||2||0||0||1||2||6|
|Payton Hulsey, G||2-5||0-2||1-4||2||4||6||0||1||0||1||2||5|
|Wichita State Shockers|
|Cleanthony Early, F||3-9||0-4||5-7||1||8||9||3||1||0||2||2||11|
|Kadeem Coleby, C||6-11||0-0||1-2||2||2||4||1||0||3||0||2||13|
|Fred VanVleet, G||5-7||1-2||6-7||1||4||5||3||3||1||2||1||17|
|Tekele Cotton, G||5-8||0-1||0-0||1||2||3||4||2||1||1||2||10|
|Ron Baker, G||1-3||1-2||0-0||2||1||3||5||1||3||2||2||3|
|Chadrack Lufile, F||3-4||0-0||0-0||1||4||5||0||1||3||3||3||6|
|Darius Carter, F||0-4||0-0||2-4||0||2||2||0||0||0||1||3||2|
|Nick Wiggins, G||1-5||1-2||1-2||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||4|
|Evan Wessel, G||0-1||0-0||0-0||1||1||2||0||0||1||1||1||0|
Godspeed, Wichita grannys. You're tip-off marathon legends now.