Log Out | Member Center

79°F

87°/64°

Tennessee presents defensive obstacle as Wichita State goes for 10-0 start

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at 11 a.m.

No. 23 Wichita State at Tennessee

PWichita StateHtYrPtsReb
F

Cleanthony Early6-8Jr.13.95.4
CCarl Hall6-8Sr.13.17.4
GDemetric Williams6-2Sr.7.4x-2.6
GRon Baker6-3Fr.7.42.4
GMalcolm Armstead6-0Sr.7.9x-3.4

Wichita State (9-0): G Evan Wessel will miss his second straight game with a broken pinky finger on his right hand. Wessel is shooting 45.8 percent in eight games, all starts. His absence likely means more time for Nick Wiggins, who scored a season-high 14 points in Saturday’s win over Northern Colorado. Wiggins, a junior transfer, is 5 of 12 from three-point range and made 4 of 6 in Saturday’s game. C Ehimen Orukpe, who started WSU’s first six games, is expected to play after a sprained right ankle cost him three games.… WSU made 12 of 24 threes against Northern Colorado, a season’s best for accuracy and amount. After making 25 of 94 threes (26.6 percent) in its first five games, WSU is 32 of 82 (39 percent) in the next four to raise its season percentage to 32.4. . . WSU last met the Volunteers in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, winning 80-73 in Greensboro, N.C. The teams meet in Intrust Bank Arena next season.… WSU’s last trip to an SEC campus resulted in a 57-53 win over LSU during the 2006-07 season.

PTennesseeHtYrPtsReb
FJarnell Stokes6-8So.11.97.9
FKenny Hall6-9Sr.7.36.0
G Josh Richardson6-6So.6.95.1
GTrae Golden6-1Jr.11.6x-4.6
G Skylar McBee6-3Sr.7.31.4

x-assists

Tennessee (4-3): .The Volunteers struggled against Georgetown’s zone defense in a 37-36 loss on Nov. 30. They lost to Virginia 46-38, but coach Cuonzo Martin said his team got better shots in that game, against a man-to-man defense. The Volunteers won’t be surprised if WSU, normally a man-to-man team, tries something different. “If you watched our film, I’m pretty sure they’re going to throw a little zone at us,” G Jordan McRae said.… F Jeronne Maymon, who averaged 12.7 points last season, has not played his season while recovering from knee surgery.… McRae averages 8.9 points off the bench and is making 34.6 percent of his threes.… G Quinton Chievous is the son of former Missouri star Derrick Chievous.… Tennessee is 0-2 against WSU and 5-7 against MVC schools.… Thursday’s games is “Tribute to Ray Mears Night.” Mears coached Tennessee from 1962-77 and won parts of three SEC titles.

No. 23 Wichita State at Tennessee

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn.

Records: WSU 9-0, UT 4-3

Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM

TV: FSKC, Ch. 34

When coach Cuonzo Martin’s team beat Wichita State in 2011, he said Missouri State kept the Shockers from running, shooting threes and having fun.

Martin is now coach at Tennessee and his delight in defense didn’t change. His 2011 Missouri State Bears, who swept WSU on the way to the Missouri Valley Conference title, held the Shockers to 56 and 64 points. Tennessee (4-3) is winning the same way in Martin’s second season.

“They’re going to try and make it a tough night offensively for the opposing team,” WSU guard Demetric Williams said. “They work hard and they’re physical.”

No. 23 Wichita State is trying to reach 10-0 for the first time in program history. It started 9-0 in 2004-05 and 2006-07 before losing. Getting past that barrier depends on handling Tennessee’s defense.

The Volunteers hold teams to 23.7-percent shooting from three-point range, ranking sixth nationally. In their past three games — against Oakland, Georgetown and Virginia — the Volunteers limited opponents to 44.3 points and 33.6-percent shooting, 13.1 from three-point range.

“They get after it on defense,” WSU center Carl Hall said.

Just think if they could pair that with some shooters like former MSU players Kyle Weems and Adam Leonard. Martin, however, is working on adding SEC-level scorers. The Volunteers lost 37-36 to Georgetown and 46-38 to Virginia, both strong defensive teams. In its losses (also a 62-45 defeat to Oklahoma State), Tennessee is averaging 39.7 points and shooting 29.1 percent.

More relevant for WSU, however, is Tennessee’s scoring at 21,678-seat Thompson-Boling Arena. It is 2-0 at home with wins over Kennesaw State and Oakland, scoring better than 70 points both times.

The Volunteers, with six days off since losing to Virginia, spent a lot of time worrying about the offense. They shot after practice and vowed to start playing faster.

“We’ve got to get out in transition and run more,” guard Trae Golden said Tuesday. “We’re thinking too much. It will click for us.”

Martin watched his team make shots against lesser opponents.

“You’ve got to make them on a bigger stage,” he said Tuesday. “More than anything, we’ve got to do a better job getting the ball inside to Jarnell Stokes.”

Stokes, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, averages 11.9 points and makes 56.1 percent of his shots. Hall will get most of the defensive duty on Stokes. He may get some help from center Ehimen Orukpe, who is recovering from a sprained ankle.

“Carl’s got to stay out of foul trouble and guard him before he catches it,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “He spins and he’s a whirling dervish down there. Once he gets it, he’s very powerful, so he’s going to come right at you.”

WSU’s nine wins put it in great position as the non-conference schedule winds down. The Shockers are No. 18 in the power rankings (RPI) and can add another significant road win to the resume Thursday.

The 2004-05 team was 9-0 but lost to Manhattan at home. The 2006-07 Shockers fell to New Mexico in Las Vegas to end its run at 9-0. Getting to 10-0 with a win at Tennessee would make a strong December statement about this team’s ability to play in March.

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

Subscribe to our newsletters

The Wichita Eagle welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views. Please see our commenting policy for more information.

Have a news tip? You can send it to wenews@wichitaeagle.com.

Search for a job

in

Top jobs