Saint Louis vs. Wichita State. This was David vs. Goliath without David’s sling and stone. The Rebel Alliance vs. the Empire without Luke Skywalker. The Thirteen Colonies vs. the British without George Washington. This was a matchup between two very different opponents, but there was no upset for this game. This was a massacre.
After a dominating first half, in which the Shockers held the Billikens to only 9 points, Wichita State handily defeated Saint Louis by a score of 75-45. It was an all-around impressive performance by the Shockers, especially on the defensive end. While the Billikens fall to 2-6, the Shockers improve to 8-2 on the season and are a perfect 6-0 at home.
Wichita State’s Rashard Kelly came off the bench to lead all scorers with 15 points, which was a career high. Darral WIllis was the only other Shocker to score in double digits, finishing the game with 12. The Billikens were led by sophomore guard Jermaine Bishop and his 12 points.
Perhaps, this category should be retitled “The Good and Plenty” because the Shockers sure had a lot going right for them in this one. Defensively, the Shockers were sensational, especially in the first half. Wichita State’s elite defense held Saint Louis to an incredible 9 points. Let me repeat that in case you glossed over it. The Shockers held a Division I opponent (not to mention a member of the respected Atlantic 10) to 9 points. That’s ridiculous. That’s insane. That’s just downright impressive for the Shockers.
WSU held Saint Louis to 3 for 29 shooting at halftime and 15 for 58 (25.9%) for the game. The Billikens are not a great team, but still, holding an opponent to under 26% shooting is just unreal. With this game, Wichita State now has the 3rd best defense in America according to KenPom. As long as WSU’s defense is this good, the Shockers can hang with anyone in the country.
Besides a spectacular defensive performance, the Shockers also excelled on the glass, out-rebounding the Billikens 52-29. The fun didn’t stop there, as Wichita State also had more assists (20-11), shot the ball well from 3 (40%), and committed only 10 turnovers for the game.
There are mistakes made by every team in every game, and this one is no different. Normally, I would point out these flaws, but what’s the point? The Shockers played great and won by 30. Enough said.
Instead, I’m just going to write some random thoughts from my head. The new Star Wars film comes out in a little over a week, and I can’t wait to see it. Hopefully, Jar Jar Binks makes a cameo appearance (kidding?). My fantasy football team has a bye this week in the first round of the playoffs, so maybe I’ll take a nap on Sunday afternoon. Eh, probably not. My nephew turned 3 years old this week; time really does fly! Well, that’s it for my random thoughts. Back to the Shockers.
Player of the Game
He was dominant in the paint. His jump shot was falling. And his defense was top-notch. Rashard Kelly had himself a career game against Saint Louis, earning himself the player of the game. Shaq Morris, Zach Brown, and now Rashard Kelly have all performed well since they lost their starting jobs a couple games ago. Some players just perform better coming off the bench.
Kelly had an all-around impressive performance, ending the game with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals. He led the Shockers in points, rebounds, steals, and minutes. The Shockers need more games like this out of Kelly, and if they get them, watch out, America.
Tweet of the Game
St. Louis' 9 point 1st half outing is fewest points allowed by Wichita State in 69 years. Defense much Gregg Marshall??#WATCHUS
— Lance Snow (@KWCHLance) December 7, 2016
It was an historic first half against the Billikens. Gregg Marshall and the Shockers have much to be proud of after this performance.
On Saturday, the Shockers travel to Oklahoma City to square off against the Sooners of Oklahoma. This is a big game. Not only is it a chance to beat a Big 12 school, but it’s also a huge opportunity to earn a quality non-conference win. If Wichita State is going to make it into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team, then this game is probably a must-win. Expect a huge performance from Oklahoma native Shaq Morris and a narrow victory for the Shockers.
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