The Shockers kicked off the new year in impressive fashion as they dominated the Bradley Braves 100-66. The home game was a rout from the beginning with Wichita State storming out to a 13-0 lead and then never looking back. The Shockers never trailed and looked like the superior team in all facets of the game. The Braves committed 23 turnovers and fall to 6-9 on the season. Wichita State improves to 2-0 in the Valley and 12-3 overall.
Five Wichita State players scored in double digits with Landry Shamet and Darral Willis leading all scorers with 15 apiece. Markis McDuffie (13 points), Austin Reaves (14), and Rauno Nurger (10) shot the ball well to help secure the win. Bradley’s Darrell Brown finished with 12 points.
So much. So so much. The Shockers played one of their best games of the season and looked like a team that could do some damage in March. They made 52% of their field goals, 45% of their threes, and 86% of their free-throws. The Shockers also dished out 25 assists and only committed 11 turnovers.
Defensively, Wichita State was marvelous. The Shockers held the Braves to 40% from the field and 37% from three-point land. They stole the ball 12 times, had 6 blocks, and created enough pressure for Bradley to commit 23 turnovers.
Every Shocker played well in this one, but two unsung heroes stood out: Austin Reaves and C.J. Keyser. Reaves had been quiet the past few games but exploded big time against Bradley. In only 11 minutes, he scored 14 points on 4 for 4 shooting and grabbed 4 rebounds. He also took 2 charges and survived an injury scare.
Keyser played his best game so far, contributing on both ends of the court. He was a perfect 3 for 3 from the field and also had 2 rebounds and 1 assist. More importantly, he provided valuable minutes off the bench in both halves. The sky’s the limit for this freshman, so his performance was quite encouraging.
There is no such thing as a perfect game in basketball, but the Shockers played pretty close to it. Rebounding was the only part of the game where Wichita State didn’t dominate. In fact, the Shockers and Braves tied with 32 each. WSU is such an elite rebounding team that this one game probably doesn’t mean anything. More than likely, it’s just a statistical anomaly. Move along.
Player of the Game
Landry Shamet. Darral Willis deserves some recognition for another sensational performance, but Shamet was the cream of the crop in this contest. Shamet led the team in points (15), minutes (26), and assists (6). His mid-range jumper was falling early and often, and you can just sense that he’s becoming more and more comfortable on this team. He’s playing with confidence and rightfully so. He played exceptionally well against Bradley, but the best is yet to come for this young man. If the sky is the limit for C.J. Keyser, then outer space is the limit for Landry Shamet.
Tweet of the Game
— jade smith (@jadevsmith) January 1, 2017
After missing the past two games with a leg injury, Shaq Morris returned and played well, ending up with 5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block. The Shockers need a healthy, dominating Morris for MVC play, so it was great seeing him back in action.
Wichita State will next square-off against 3-11 Drake on Wednesday evening in Wichita. Drake is ranked 267 on KenPom and is already on their second head coach for the season (Ray Giacoletti resigned in early December). The Shockers will once again dominate at home, winning this one by at least 20.