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Shockers hope they don’t have to learn the hard way

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, at 5:24 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, at 6:05 p.m.

More information

PN. ColoradoHtYrPtsReb
FTim Huskisson6-5So.8.85.0
F Emmanuel Addo6-7Jr.4.52.5
C Connor Osborne6-9Jr.6.23.8
GTevin Svihovec6-2So.12.0x-2.5
G Tate Unruh6-4So.11.73.3

Northern Colorado (1-5): Former Shocker Ryan Martin is an assistant coach for the Bears. Martin played two seasons at WSU, including on the 2006 NCAA Tournament team, after transferring from Coffeyville Community College . . The Bears are winless against NCAA Division I schools. Its lone win is against NAIA University of the Southwest (N.M.) 127-81 on Nov. 10. They are coming off a 76-59 loss at Northern Iowa. Svihovec led the Bears with 16 points. G Paul Garnica, who averages 9.2 points, came off the bench to score 15 points. UNC committed 11 turnovers against the Panthers.

PWichita StateHtYrPtsReb
F

Cleanthony Early6-8Jr.13.66.0
CCarl Hall6-8Sr.14.58.1
GEvan Wessel6-5So.5.51.8
GRon Baker6-3Fr.7.42.4
GMalcolm Armstead6-0Sr.7.5x-3.4

x-assists

Wichita State (8-0): WSU is 8-0 for the sixth time in program history. Three teams reached 9-0, most recently in 2006-07, before losing in the 10th game. . .WSU compiled its two best shooting games of the season in wins over Tulsa and Air Force. It made 63 of 115 shots (54.8 percent) in those games, making 13 of 38 three-pointers (34.2 percent). It had not shot better than 48 percent in a game before shooting 52.2 percent (35-67) against Tulsa.

Northern Colorado at No. 24 Wichita State

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Koch Arena

Records: UNC 1-5, WSU 8-0

Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM

TV: None

The lessons Gregg Marshall wants Wichita State to learn this season have come without a cost.

Even when the Shockers struggle, like when they turned the ball over 19 times in last Sunday’s 72-69 victory at Air Force, they are finding ways to produce wins.

The reward has been an 8-0 start and a No. 24 ranking for Wichita State, which plays host to Northern Colorado tonight at Koch Arena.

“Lesson learned without being burned,” Marshall phrased it to his team.

“We went over the video with a fine-tooth comb. We showed them every single breakdown, every single silly pass, and hopefully we get better by seeing it without having to suffer an ‘L.’”

National attention is slowly starting to cling to WSU’s success. Sports Illustrated and ESPN have taken notice, posting stories about the Shockers this week.

But Marshall has his team trained to one thought. As he quips at them, “don’t ingest the poison pill of success.”

“8-0 is good, but we’re not playing to the potential we’re supposed to be,” senior forward Carl Hall said. “We’re not executing our plays. Right now we’re basically playing off our defense. We got a long ways to go.”

The problems on offense center around WSU drifting away from Marshall’s preferred method of success, playing from the inside-out.

Too often the Shockers settle for outside shots, instead of establishing the offense through Hall, who already has four double-doubles this season, and Cleanthony Early in the post.

“You get so much done if you dominate the paint,” senior guard Demetric Williams said. “If you got bigs dominating the paint, then the defense has to collapse and that’s when guards like me, Ron Baker, Malcolm (Armstead) all get wide open shots. You get offense so much easier when you play inside-out.”

Saturday should be another experiment in that direction, as Marshall continues to tinker with his team before its biggest non-conference test on Tuesday when WSU travels to Knoxville to take on the Volunteers.

But right now the Shockers’ top priority is improving So far the flawless record has been nice, but players recognize what means more come March.

“We’re focused on trying to finish what we started,” Hall said. “It ain’t about what you do at the start of the season. We want to be a top-25 team at the end of the season.”

Orupke update — Marshall said he is not “anticipating” senior Ehimen Orukpe to play against Northern Colorado. Orukpe underwent a CT scan on Friday to rule out a stress fracture. WSU is still treating the injury like a sprained ankle and all X-rays have come back negative.

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