Marshall upsets Wichita State, turning a March Madness hunter into the hunted

Wichita State was once the hunter. Once the aptly-named little guy, the Shockers, who wreaked havoc on March.

On Friday, thanks to an unconscious West Virginian guard by the name of Jon Elmore, Wichita State became the hunted.

No. 13 seed Marshall, on the back of 27 points from Elmore and his unlimited 3-point range, took down the fourth-seeded Shockers in the second 13-over-4 upset of the 2018 NCAA tournament thus far.

“You hear what Wichita does every year,” Elmore told TNT after the game. “We kind of a look up to a school like that. But we’re getting to the point where we want to beat schools like that.” And that’s exactly what he, and they, did.

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Marshall shocks Wichita State in March Madness
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Marshall shocks Wichita State in March Madness
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Jon Elmore #33 of the Marshall Thundering Herd huddles with teammates late in the second half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Rondale Watson #23 of the Marshall Thundering Herd dives for a loose ball late in the second half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Darral Willis Jr. #21 of the Wichita State Shockers competes for position against Darius George #21 and Jarrod West #13 of the Marshall Thundering Herd in the second half during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Zach Brown #1 of the Wichita State Shockers reacts after a play in the second half against the Marshall Thundering Herd during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: C.J. Burks #14 of the Marshall Thundering Herd goes up for a dunk against the Wichita State Shockers in the second half during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Rondale Watson #23 of the Marshall Thundering Herd dives for a loose ball late in the second half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: C.J. Burks #14 and Jon Elmore #33 of the Marshall Thundering Herd celebrate after defeating the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Jarrod West #13 of the Marshall Thundering Herd attempts a pass in the second half against Landry Shamet #11 and Conner Frankamp #33 of the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: C.J. Burks #14 and Rondale Watson #23 of the Marshall Thundering Herd celebrate after defeating the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Marshall Thundering Herd fans celebrate after defeating Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. Marshall defeated Wichita State 81-75. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
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Connor Frankamp, Wichita State’s own sharpshooter, did his best to keep Wichita in the game. He had 27 points of his own on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc.

But the Shockers didn’t take advantage of their size and strength advantages inside. They turned the ball over 15 times, leading to a decisive 26 Marshall points.

And they could do absolutely nothing about shots like this:

Marshall is coached by Dan D’Antoni, purveyor one one of the best analytics rants in college hoops history, and brother of Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. Mike is famous for his up-tempo, spread offense that relies on 3-point barrages. The resemblances between his philosophy and Dan’s is unmistakable.

“You’ve seen the D’Antoni system,” Elmore told TNT. “You’ve seen what the Rockets do. We try to imitate some of that stuff, and we’re getting pretty good at it.”

Marshall appeared to have thrown away an early advantage toward the end of the first half and early in the second. But Elmore got hot, and his teammates made sure to find him. On one occasion, they even gave up a seemingly wide open fast-break layup to recycle the ball to him for a 3. Fellow guard Jarrod West also hit two big triples.

Elmore came to Marshall as a transfer from VMI halfway through his freshman year. He plays nearly 40 minutes per game. He’s both facilitator and scorer, and it was the latter strength that carried Marshall and buried Wichita State.

Related: See the best photos from the first round: 

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The best photos from March Madness: Round of 64
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The best photos from March Madness: Round of 64
BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Johnathan Williams #3 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs battles for a rebound against James Dickey #21 of the UNC-Greensboro Spartans in the first half during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 15, 2018 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 15: Cyril Langevine #10 of the Rhode Island Rams goes up for a shot between Brady Manek #35 and Khadeem Lattin #3 of the Oklahoma Sooners in the second half of the game during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 15, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 15: Donte Ingram #0 and Marques Townes #5 of the Loyola Ramblers celebrate after Ingram makes a game-winning three pointer against the Miami Hurricanes in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at American Airlines Center on March 15, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 15: Keith Stone #25 of the Florida Gators goes up for a shot against Tshiefu Ngalakulondi #5 of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in the second half in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at American Airlines Center on March 15, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. The Florida Gators won 77-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 15: Trey Kell #3 of the San Diego State Aztecs reacts after his teams loss to the Houston Cougars in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at INTRUST Arena on March 15, 2018 in Wichita, Kansas. The Houston Cougars defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 67-65. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Kevin Knox #5 of the Kentucky Wildcats and Oskar Michelsen #15 of the Davidson Wildcats battle for the ball in the second half during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 15, 2018 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 15: Khadeen Carrington #0 and Desi Rodriguez #20 of the Seton Hall Pirates pressure Allerik Freeman #12 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the second half during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at INTRUST Arena on March 15, 2018 in Wichita, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Zach Norvell Jr. #23 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs makes a three point basket in the second half against the UNC-Greensboro Spartans during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 15, 2018 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Rondale Watson #23 of the Marshall Thundering Herd dives for a loose ball late in the second half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: The Buffalo Bulls bench celebrates in the second half against the Arizona Wildcats during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 15, 2018 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 16: Isaac Haas #44 of the Purdue Boilermakers reacts after falling to the court on a foul by Cal State Fullerton Titans during the second half of the game in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Little Caesars Arena on March 16, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: The Marshall Thundering Herd bench reacts after a play in the second half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 16: Cody Martin #11 of the Nevada Wolf Pack scores against the Texas Longhorns in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Bridgestone Arena on March 16, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Charlotte NC - MARCH 16: UMBC forward Arkel Lamar (33), center, flies past Virginia guard Kyle Guy (5), right for a slam dunk during UMBC's upset of the University of Virginia in the 1st round for the mens NCAA basketball tournament at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte NC on March 16, 2018 . (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: The UMBC Retrievers bench reacts to their 74-54 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Shockers came into their first season in the American Athletic Conference as a top-10 team. They had a slightly disappointing debut campaign, but secured a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, their second-best in school history.

But with the move from the Missouri Valley to the AAC came a reversal of March fortunes. Wichita had won an NCAA tournament game each of the past five years. It had won 10 total over those five years, including a Final Four run in 2013, and six of the 10 as the lower-seeded team.

With roles flip-flopped, though, outcomes changed too. The favorite is going home. But the real shockers, this time, were the Thundering Herd.

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Henry Bushnell covers soccer and college basketball for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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