Gregg Marshall did not lie on the scouting report for Howard.
He told his Wichita State basketball players the Bison lost to a Division-II team in their opener, and shot 24 percent in a 30-point loss to Iowa and their best player is injured.
The Shockers sensed a hapless opponent inside Koch Arena on Saturday afternoon and treated them as such as they skated to a 69-50 victory in the second game of the Cancun Challenge. It was WSUs third win in five days.
The players attitude perturbed Marshall. He pointed out senior Malcolm Armsteads decision not to return to the game after five minutes because he was nursing a cold.
Why he didnt play permeates the whole setting of the game, Marshall said. Howard is struggling. And then, because I told them that, because I told them the truth, Malcolm says, I think Im going to sit this one out because I want to get ready for the trip. So thats the mindset for the game.
Wichita State will depart for Mexico on Sunday night with a 4-0 record, which is the programs best start since the 2006-2007 season.
But it will also be with an unhappy Marshall.
He was furious with the disinterest the Shockers showed in attacking Howards 2-3 zone in the first half. Instead of breaking it down through the middle of the zone, WSU seemed content to pass the ball around the perimeter until an open three-pointer presented itself.
During one stretch the Shockers hoisted up seven straight threes, and nine of their first 14 shots were from beyond the arc as they clung to a 13-12 lead after 12 minutes.
A 21-0 run to close the first half gave WSU the separation needed for victory, but Howard outscored the Shockers 36-32 in the second half, marking the second straight game WSU has let up after holding a sizable halftime lead.
Dont get a false sense of security about how good you are, Marshall said he told his team. You played well against VCU, but there are a lot of teams coming in here and on the road that were going to face that level. Generally, if it hasnt been VCU we havent played to the level where were going to be very successful.
Better teams are ahead and the Shockers will need more consistent efforts than just Demetric Williams (11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals) and Carl Hall (11 points, 6 rebounds) to compete.
(Marshall) just wanted us to be more humble, Williams said. Letting us know we aint really played nobody tremendously good.
The players may have felt at ease on the court Saturday, but the coaching staff grounded them afterward.
We need to get back to playing Shocker basketball, sophomore Evan Wessel said. It starts with our mindset. Weve got to know we cant play down, weve got to play where we want to be. Weve got to play where we see our team in the future, where are our goals are at.