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NIT Semifinal: Wichita State is up for a challenge

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at 12:07 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, June 27, 2013, at 11:12 a.m.

NEW YORK — Toure Murry looks and feels worn down. He wears his hood pulled over his head and he can't wait to leave the interview session and get back to his room to rest.

Murry doesn't feel great — he calls it a cold. He stayed in the hotel while teammates walked around Times Square on Sunday night. He practiced some on Monday, spending most of the time resting and watching.

Considering the strain Murry's faced in the National Invitation Tournament, it's probably not surprising. There's no time for sickness, however. Murry gets another defensive challenge in tonight's semifinal game against Washington State.

Junior guard Klay Thompson, viewed as a likely NBA Draft choice should he make himself eligible, averages 22 points and 5.3 rebounds.

"It's something I look forward to, guarding the best player," Murry said. "He can do it all."

Coach Gregg Marshall will hope the bright lights of ESPN2 and Madison Square Garden will rejuvenate his top defender. The Shockers leaned on him for most of the defensive duty on Nebraska leading scorer Lance Jeter, All-ACC pick Malcolm Delaney of Virginia Tech and College of Charleston's Andrew Goudelock, the Southern Conference Player of the Year.

Look at the stats, and it appears Murry lost a lot of battles. Delaney scored 30 points; Goudelock 31. Look deeper, and the stats say Delaney committed four turnovers and didn't score in overtime. Goudelock committed eight turnovers and needed 27 shots.

They got their points. Few of them came easily.

Murry defends with his long reach and quickness. He also defends with his concentration. He can't be baited into fouling or falling for fakes. He can't hunt his shot on offense to seek revenge after giving up a basket.

"He's an even-keeled kid," Marshall said. "He doesn't get too high or too low about anything."

Murry shares the short-memory gene with the cornerback who forgets giving up the touchdown pass.

"You've got to stay with the team," Murry said. "Guys are going to score. I've just got to keep playing defense."

Defending great scorers is always a team effort.

Murry will need help against Thompson, who makes 40.7 percent of his three-pointers and 83.4 percent of his free throws. Goudelock got into foul trouble, picking up charging fouls for running into Graham Hatch and J.T. Durley. Hatch will also guard Thompson, and the four other Shockers on the court are on alert.

"Klay Thompson, he's a lot like Goudelock in that he can shoot it and he probably can drive it a little better because he's 6-foot-6," Hatch said. "The film that we watched, we noticed that he's definitely charge-prone. If we play that solid team defense we can cause him to doubt himself at times."

Washington State doesn't rely as heavily on Thompson as Charleston did on Goudelock. Washington State forward DeAngelo Casto averages 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds. Guard Faisal Aden comes off the bench to make 42.1 percent of his threes and average 12.9 points. In conference play, guard Reggie Moore averaged 10.1 points.

Thompson leads the Pacific-10 in scoring. He also ranks seventh in assists (3.8).

"He has good basketball instincts, and when teams take away his shot and his ability to score, he finds other people," Washington State coach Ken Bone said. "We can use him as a decoy, running him off screens and they're so concerned about him, for example, that it opens up things for other guys."

Check Paul Suellentrop's Shocker blog at blogs.kansas.com/shockwaves. Reach him at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com.

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