Updated at: 11/14/2013 9:35 PM
By DAVE SKRETTA
(AP) WICHITA, Kan. - William & Mary coach Tony Shaver kept signaling for a timeout, frantically bouncing up and down the sideline, unable to get an official’s attention over the roar inside Koch Arena.
It took him a good 15 seconds to finally get the game stopped.
The reason for the timeout was a big run by No. 16 Wichita State, which would ultimately help the Shockers to a 79-62 victory Thursday night. But the other reason was to give the Tribe’s coach a chance to remind his players how much fun they should be having.
"You have to match their energy and intensity in a place like this," Shaver said.
The Tribe did that in the first half, building a 39-38 lead, but wilted down the stretch as foul trouble took its toll and the Shockers’ superior depth won out.
Marcus Thornton had 18 points to lead the Tribe (1-2), who were just 11 of 22 from the free throw line. Tim Rusthoven added 13 points and freshman Omar Prewitt finished with 11.
"Games like this will teach you a lot about your team," Shaver said. "I told the guys, `Feel this, sense this, do this every day, and you can be good.’"
Fred VanVleet had a career-high 18 points with eight assists for the Shockers (3-0), while Cleanthony Early added 14 points, Ron Baker had 13 and Kadeem Coleby finished with 10.
It was Wichita State’s 20th straight non-conference home victory.
"They came out and got the first punch on us, which doesn’t happen very often, but it happened tonight," VanVleet said. "When you start off a game bad, now you’re playing catch-up for a half. But we started doing some things better toward the end of the first half."
After running roughshod over Emporia State and Western Kentucky to start the season, the Shockers finally ran into some adversity for the first time against the Tribe.
They rolled to a 13-3 lead in the opening minutes, and never trailed in the first half. Rusthoven had 10 points in the first 20 minutes, dominating in the post, and Thornton got hot from the outside later in the half to keep Wichita State at bay.
The Shockers finally got going late in the half. Naturally, it was Early _ one of the breakout stars of last year’s Final Four _ who led the way.
The lanky swingman scored all his points in the final 5 minutes of the half, in two seven-point spurts. The first was highlighted by a 3-pointer and a conventional three-point play, the second by a long 3-pointer that got Wichita State within 39-38 at halftime.
Mired in foul trouble, William & Mary began to let the game slip away in the second half.
Wichita State took its first lead on Coleby’s dunk to start the second half, and then pushed the lead to 53-43 on a 3-pointer by VanVleet a few minutes later.
"He’s our floor general. Without Fred, it’s going to be hard for us," said the Shockers’ Nick Wiggins. "He’s a big part of what we have going on this year."
Meanwhile, the Tribe’s Kyle Gaillard spent long stretches on the bench with three fouls, and Rusthoven picked up his fourth with just over 12 minutes remaining.
Wichita State capitalized on the momentum. Darius Carter converted a three-point play to make it 56-45, and a turnover by the Tribe and run-out dunk by Chadrack Lufile had Shaver trying to get a timeout.
The Tribe settled back down and stubbornly hung around until the final few minutes, when the accumulation of fouls started a parade of Shockers to the foul line.
They made enough to deal William & Mary its 34th consecutive loss to a Top 25 opponent.
"We need to play with that kind of level and intensity and desire every night," Shaver said. "If we do, we have a chance to win some games."
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)