In one of the best college basketball games of the season, Wichita State defeated Oklahoma 76-73. The much-hyped game was a matchup between two college basketball heavyweights, and it delivered in every way possible. There were hard fouls, thunderous dunks, and blocks out the wazoo. The contest felt more like a winner-take-all postseason game than a simple non-conference one. With the big win, the Shockers tremendously help their postseason chances.
Oklahoma’s Jordan Woodard was absolutely unstoppable in this one, ending up with 28 points to lead all scorers. The Shockers were a bit more balanced offensively with 3 players scoring in double digits. Zach Brown continued his hot shooting streak, finishing with 17 points and 4 rebounds. Daishon Smith had 13 points and one ridiculous dunk (more on him later), and Darral Willis ended up with 12.
In a rarity, WSU struggled defensively in the first half, allowing the Sooners to score 39. Thankfully, the Shockers have a pretty decent head coach, who made some halftime adjustments. Although the Sooners still dropped 34 in the second half, the Shockers’ defense was remarkably better. Players were switching quicker and helping out much better. Not only that, but the blocks started to come, as the Shockers ended up with 7 (5 thanks to Shaq Morris). Also, WSU’s defense held OU to shooting 30.8% from the field. Not too shabby at all.
Wichita State played tremendously on the offensive side. Guard play was sensational for most of the game as Smith, Conner Frankamp, Landry Shamet, and Austin Reaves played with poise and confidence. They also limited the turnovers and were often aggressive moving the ball. The Shockers finished with 16 assists and only 12 turnovers. In a game away from Wichita, that’s simply awesome.
The Shockers’ first half defense was pretty porous, often allowing the Sooners to drive the lane at will. When this happened, Oklahoma scored or more than often, was fouled. Free throws killed Wichita State in the first half (and for most of the game), as the Sooners outscored the Shockers by 10 at the charity stripe for the game.
Oklahoma out-rebounded Wichita State by 2, but all in all, that’s not that bad. And in a season-long trend, the Shockers were out-blocked 9-7. Blocks aren’t a hugely important stat, but it is something that still needs to be examined by the coaches.
Player of the Game
Zach Brown was awesome once again, and Shaq Morris had a nice homecoming. But the player of the game goes to Daishon Smith. He struggled in the first half, making me foolishly wonder if he should keep starting. Then it happened. Smith casually started to drive the congested lane on the right and then turned on his jets. He sprinted to the basket, avoided the defenders, and threw down the biggest dunk of the year. It was fitting that this game was played in Oklahoma City, as Smith looked like the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook with that move. You’ll see that dunk all over SportsCenter tonight. It was sensational.
After his thunderous dunk, Smith started to go. He then stole the ball on the next possession and was fouled, making both free throws. He stole another one shortly after and started to look like Wichita State’s starting point guard. He made a huge three-pointer before the shot clock expired and made some clutch free throws down the stretch. He was the difference maker in the second half, finishing with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Wichita State has found its next terrific point guard. His name is Daishon Smith.
Tweet of the Game
Daishon Smith just dunked on every man, woman, an unborn child in the building #watchus
— Zach Lytle (@Z_LYT) December 10, 2016
That dunk was beyond nasty. One of the greatest I’ve ever seen by a Shocker.
The Shockers don’t play again until next Saturday, facing off against another Big 12 school – Oklahoma State. This is another important game for WSU, as another win would greatly help its NCAA chances and seed. Although this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Cowboys, first year head coach Brad Underwood (a Kansas native) has led them to a 7-2 record with wins over UConn and Georgetown. That being said, Wichita State is a perfect 6-0 in games played at Wichita’s downtown arena, so the Shockers will win this one, probably by double digits.
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