60% of the time, it works every time. For Landry Shamet and his 6 of 10 shooting at Northern Iowa, that was definitely the case. With the hot-shooting Shamet, the Shockers pulverized the Panthers 80-66 on Sunday afternoon. Wichita State dealt with foul trouble for a large portion of the game but relied on its depth and 3-point shooting to claim victory.
The Shockers were led by the trio of Shamet, Rauno Nurger, and Conner Frankamp – all scoring in double digits. Shamet, who provided a spark for the team, had 14 of his 17 in the first half. With Markis McDuffie and Darral Willis in foul trouble, Nurger saw more minutes than usual and made the most of his opportunity, scoring 13 points and grabbing 4 rebounds. Frankamp displayed confidence and aggressiveness with his shot, earning 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting. Northern Iowa was led by Jeremy Morgan, who finished with 15 points and 4 rebounds.
— The Sunflower (@sunflowernews) January 8, 2017
Overall, this was one of the Shockers’ most impressive victories of the season. Although the Panthers came into the game struggling with a record of 5-9, they’re still a talented team with a great head coach. For the Shockers to beat them by 14 in Cedar Falls is downright impressive. Not only that, but the Shockers accomplished this feat with 5 players (including 3 starters) with 2 fouls in the first half. McDuffie and Willis, who both had foul trouble, combined for only 14 points, and the Shockers still won by 14 on the road. That’s outstanding.
Because of the foul trouble for several key Shockers, other players had to step up. And that they did. Nurger was sensational coming off the bench. He defended well without fouling, and offensively, he was a stud. He dominated in the paint and showed several nifty moves, including a left-handed baby hook shot, which he made a couple times. Rashard Kelly, Austin Reaves, and Eric Hamilton also played admirably to help the Shockers win.
Statistically, Wichita State dominated in nearly every facet of the game. The Shockers made 49% of their shots, 55% of their 3-pointers, and 94% of their free throws. That’s awesomely awesome. Defensively, they held the Panthers to 29% 3-point shooting. WSU out-rebounded UNI 34-25, had more assists (15-8) and more steals (6-0), and committed fewer turnovers (9-11). Turning the ball over only 9 times on the road at Northern Iowa is simply amazing.
— Josh Betts (@BettsSportsBeat) January 8, 2017
Fouls. The Shockers were called for 23 fouls for the game, but 14 came in the first half. Some of these were actual fouls, but many of them were not. It seemed like the referees were trying to send a message in the first half, but what that message was, I have no idea. Besides fouls, there were a couple of other highly questionable calls. One of these occurred late in the first half when Kelly grabbed a rebound and was pushed over by a UNI player. Instead of a foul being called, the refs called traveling on Kelly. There’s no question a home team bias occurs when it comes to officiating, and this game certainly proved that.
Player of the Game
Landry Shamet. He was ridiculous in the first half, scoring 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting (4 of 6 from 3). He accounted for 14 of WSU’s 39 points at halftime and was “the guy” for numerous possessions. At one time in the first half, Shamet went on an 8-0 run just by himself. He made a 3-pointer, then dunked in transition after a steal, and then made another 3. He cooled off a bit in the second half but still ended up with 17 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
Tweet of the Game
This tweet is too cute not to be the tweet of the game. I mean, come on, look at that face. I can’t help but smile every time I look at that picture.
Fans and members of the media are already looking ahead to Saturday’s huge contest against Illinois State, but there’s another big game before that. On Wednesday, the Shockers will host the 12-5 Ramblers of Loyola. The Ramblers are a hard team to figure out. They have wins over Washington State and San Diego State but losses to Toledo and Drake (yikes). Loyola is ranked 108th on KenPom. WSU is 23rd. The Ramblers haven’t beaten the Shockers since they joined the MVC, and I don’t see that changing this week.