Chicago State earned its fifth win of the season and second straight against Wagner on Wednesday in Las Vegas. The Cougars defeated the Seahawks 78-63 in the final round of the Las Vegas Classic.
Wagner would be a middle of the pack Great West Conference team probably, but the Seahawks play in the Northeast Conference. For Chicago State the numbers from the two games at the Orleans Arena are very encouraging.
For one, against Wagner and Eastern Washington the Cougars' shooting improved a lot. Chicago State shot 45-91 over the tournament from the field. The three-point shots still aren't falling, but at least the Cougars appear to be overpowering teams at the rim. Chicago State also shot 41-55 from the free throw line, 74.5%, from the free throw line in the two games. On Wednesday the Cougars made 29-37 from the line, including 11-13 from Christian Wall.
Wall had 17 points and Carl Montgomery had 23 points and 8 rebounds for the Cougars. It looks like Montgomery was finally able to stay out of foul trouble and make a big difference on the court against the Seahawks. That's a good sign moving forward.
The Cougars are picking up the pace as well. The game against Wagner was a brisk 77 possessions. 10 players saw action for Chicago State.
Chicago State has four games remaining before it enters conference play. The Cougars play at Samford, Southern and Eastern Michigan before returning home to face Northern Illinois. There could be a few more wins in those games as well.
Great West play begins for the Cougars on January 9 at Utah Valley State.