Wichita State’s depth once again proved to be the deciding factor as the Shockers defeated the Rams 82-67 in the Mountain West – Missouri Valley Challenge. Although WSU and Colorado State went back and forth for the majority of the game, the Shockers’ bench proved to be too much for the Rams late in the second half. A bevy of three-pointers also helped, as the Shockers drilled 13 from deep,
Colorado State’s Prentiss Nixon had a remarkable performance, making 5 of 6 threes and leading all scorers with 20. The Shockers were led by two former starters, Zach Brown and Shaq Morris, who had 16 and 13 respectively. Although two starters finished in double digits (Markis McDuffie and Landry Shamet), the WSU bench once again scored more points than the starters (44-38).
Any road win is a good win in college basketball. The Shockers had their first true road test of the season, and they passed with flying colors. Although the Rams aren’t an elite team this year, this is still a good win against a quality opponent and one that might help the Shockers come Selection Sunday.
Wichita State was absolutely sensational from three-point land, making 13 of 27, with 7 Shockers hitting at least one. When the Shockers are money from deep, the offense runs well and this team is dangerous.
WSU out-rebounded CSU (33-31) and also snagged 12 boards on the offensive end. Although the offense stalled at times, the Shockers made good passes, accumulating 15 assists and only committing 13 turnovers. Against a good Mountain West team on the road, that’s pretty great.
After missing last game with an injured shoulder, Austin Reaves returned to action and scored 5 point in only 10 minutes. Reaves provides a spark for this team, so it was fantastic seeing him on the court once again.
Not much. Colorado State frequently drove the lane on offense, and WSU’s players often fouled in these situations. A couple of these were questionable calls, but a foul is still a foul. Because of this, the Rams shot 29 free throws and made 24 of these. For much of the game, the Rams’ main source of offense was from the free-throw line. Going forward, the Shockers will need to improve on their defense in the lane. If it weren’t for these free throws, Wichita State would have won in a blowout.
For awhile in the first half, the Shockers struggled offensively. The ball didn’t move well, and the offense came to a screeching halt. WSU has some very good players who play the point guard position, but they don’t yet have a clear floor general who can lead in these situations. Someone will eventually step up; these things just take time.
Player of the Game
Zach Brown. Shaq Morris deserves an honorable mention, but him being in foul trouble definitely hurt his chances. Brown was magnificent for the second game in a row. He played aggressively and knew what he was doing each time he touched the ball. Not only did he have 16 points, but he also ended up with 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals. He drove to the basket when he needed and pulled up for 3 when he wanted. All in all, it was a terrific performance. If he keeps playing like this, he will become a starter again.
Tweet of the Game
I don't know how Marshall does it but Wichita State is always solid on the road #WatchUs
— Gage Walker (@Carlos_Walker33) December 4, 2016
Players come and go, but with Gregg Marshall, the Shockers will always be the Road Warriors of college basketball.
The Shockers return to Wichita to face off against Saint Louis on Tuesday. The Billikens are 2-5 and have lost 4 straight. They are ranked 285 on KenPom, so WSU will absolutely destroy them.