St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands - Wichita State falls to 0-2 in the Paradise Jam Tournament and 1-2 on the season with a 59-50 loss to Monmouth Saturday night in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Gal Mekel led the Shockers with 17 points and Ramone Clemente brought down eight boards. Phil Thomasson followed in scoring with 16 points, all accumulated in the second half due to early foul trouble in the first.
Jhamar Youngblood and Whitney Coleman each had 17 for Monmouth and Dutch Gaitley matched Clemente’s eight rebounds.
It was all Mekel for the first seven minutes of the game as the sophomore put in the first 10 points for the Shockers with four field goals, including a three-pointer and a free throw. WSU’s defense held Monmouth to one basket during the stretch - a layup by Coleman.
Matt Braeuer extended it to 12-2 with a layin, giving the Shockers their biggest lead at the 13:04 mark. Monmouth began to chip away at the deficit with three shots from behind the arc from Alex Nunner, Youngblood and Coleman.
A Mekel three made it 18-11, but the Shockers then hit a drought which allowed the Hawks to make a come back and tie the game with 1:50 left in the half. Dutch Gaitley sank two free throws, R.J. Rutledge completed a three-point play and Coleman laid one in to knot the score at 18.
Down the stretch, Coleman put in two more free shots, but WSU’s Aaron Ellis was a perfect 4-4 from the line to give the Shockers a two point advantage at the half.
The Hawks started the second half with a Youngblood three to give Monmouth their first lead of the night, 23-22. The Shockers took full advantage of fouls, as eight of their first 10 points of the half came from behind the line to give WSU a six-point lead.
The tables turned as Nick DelTufo sank four consecutive free throws and Monmouth regained a lead they would not relinquish. Another series of free throws gave the Hawks their biggest lead of the night, a 56-44 advantage with 40 seconds remaining.
The Shockers wrap up the Paradise Jam Tournament on Monday, Nov. 19, at 12 p.m. (CST) against the