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Wichita State has read the book on slowing Doug McDermott McDermott among best to visit WSU, but Shockers have slowed him before

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, at 5:54 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, at 6:27 p.m.

No. 12 Creighton at Wichita State

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Koch Arena

Records: CU 17-1, 6-0 MVC; WSU 16-2, 5-1

Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM

TV: ESPN2, Ch. 33

No. 12 Creighton at Wichita State

PDrake.HtYrPtsReb
F Doug McDermott6-8Jr.24.07.2
CGregory Echenique6-9Sr.10.17.1
GGrant Gibbs6-5Sr.6.9x-5.8
GAustin Chatman6-0So.7.9x-4.9
G Jahenns Manigat6-1Jr.6.31.4

Creighton (17-1, 6-0 MVC): Creighton’s defense is stronger than last season, when it ranked No. 222 in shooting defense (44.1 percent). This season, it is holding teams to 40.1-percent shooting, No. 58 nationally. Boise State and Northern Iowa are only teams to shoot better than 43.4 percent against Creighton this season.… McDermott averages 29 points and 8.2 rebounds in six games away from Omaha this season. He scored 39 at Missouri State on Jan. 11, tied for 13th-most in program history.… Echenique averages 13.5 points in four games against WSU, making 58.6 percent of his shots.… Gibbs has 105 assists and 26 turnovers this season. He leads the MVC in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.0). Chatman ranks second in assists average and is tied for second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1) with four players.… Manigat is 13 for 20 from three-point range in MVC games.

PWichita St.HtYrPtsReb
F

Cleanthony Early6-8Jr.15.55.1
CEhimen Orukpe7-0Sr.4.15.3
GDemetric Williams6-3Sr.8.6x-2.7
GTekele Cotton6-3So.5.93.7
GMalcolm Armstead6-0Sr.9.2x-3.7

x-assists

Wichita State (16-2, 5-1): F Carl Hall took two shots, missing both, in Wednesday’s 74-62 win over Illinois State. His right thumb, which forced him to miss seven games, is still healing from a break. “My thumb is OK,” he said. “It’s going to be tender for the next couple months, but I’m going to play through it.”… The Shockers have won three of the past four meetings with Creighton and five of the past eight.… F Jake White scored a career-high 11 points against Illinois State. He is averaging 5.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in conference play.… Armstead is 12 of 21 from three-point range in MVC play, second behind Manigat.

RPIs as of Friday: CU 18, WSU 20

Most Valuable Visitors

Creighton’s Doug McDermott was a consensus All-American as a sophomore and is considered a candidate for national Player of the Year honors this season. He could join a select list of players to visit the Roundhouse since it opened in 1955.

•  Bill Russell and the San Francisco Dons defeated the Shockers 75-65 on Dec. 20, 1955 on their way to the 1956 NCAA title. Russell scored 17 points in USF’s win No. 32 of a 60-game streak.

•  Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson, named Player of the Year in 1958, 1959 and 1960 by The Sporting News, went 3-0 in Wichita and scored an arena-record 50 points on March 1, 1958.

•  Jerry Lucas, the Associated Press Player of the Year in 1961 and 1962, scored 27 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in Ohio State’s 93-82 win on Dec. 17, 1960.

•  Wichita State defeated Michigan and 1966 AP Player of the Year Cazzie Russell 100-94 on Dec. 8, 1965. Russell scored 21 points, upstaged by Shocker Jamie Thompson’s 28 on 9-of-9 shooting from the field and 10-of-10 from the line.

•  Marquette and Butch Lee, 1978 AP Player of the Year, scored 21 points in a 67-56 win on Jan. 2, 1978.

•  Indiana State’s Larry Bird went 1-1 in his visits to then-Levitt Arena. He lost as a junior and won as a senior, scoring 31 points, on his way to the 1979 Final Four and Player of the Year honors.

•  Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins scored 37 points in a 116-92 loss on Feb. 1, 1988. WSU countered with 24 from Dwayne Praylow and 21 each from Lew Hill and Sasha Radunovich. Hawkins, the 1988 AP Player of the Year, won once in four trips to Wichita.

Kansas’ Danny Manning, the 1988 Naismith Award winner, scored 12 points in a 54-49 loss on Jan. 6, 1987.

Former Wichita State player Ben Smith remembers all the ways Creighton’s Doug McDermott scores. Three-pointers. With either hand around the basket, free throws and putbacks.

How about by beating his defender down court on fast breaks?

“I forgot that one,” Smith said. “Our coaches really emphasized that.”

It is hard to keep track of McDermott’s skills. The lengthy list is the prime reason he is regarded as one of the nation’s best college basketball players and ESPN’s Dick Vitale selected him as the mid-season player of the year.

“He is really talented,” Smith said. “I tried to make him as uncomfortable as possible.”

Wichita State is the rare team with the assets to keep McDermott out of his comfort zones on the block or at the top of the key for threes. The Shockers face No. 12 Creighton on Saturday at Koch Arena with a history and a plan proven to reduce McDermott to mortal scoring numbers.

In four games against WSU, he averages 10.8 points and 6.5 rebounds. His high is 13 points, last season, on 5-of-14 shooting. WSU guarded him with experienced, physical defenders such as Smith, Aaron Ellis, Gabe Blair, Carl Hall and Touré Murry the past two seasons. Now McDermott is a junior, his game is growing, and the Shockers will guard him with less-experienced players such as junior Cleanthony Early and sophomore Tekele Cotton, in addition to Hall.

“They haven’t given me a lot of easy looks,” McDermott said. “They haven’t necessarily face-guarded me, but they’re always around. It’s frustrating, but it does open different looks for my teammates. I just have to fight through that.”

Smith landed a spot on the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Defensive Team largely on the strength of his defense against McDermott last season. He credited the scouting report and his teammates, neglecting to mention that at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, he presented the near-perfect mix of size and agility needed to stick with the 6-8 McDermott.

“I tried to be physical with him,” Smith said. “Scoot him out of the lane. He’s really good in the post, left hand, right hand, off the glass. I tried to limit his touches.”

The Shockers (16-2, 5-1 MVC) will try the same tactics Saturday. They know McDermott will score, probably more than 13. He is another year older and improved his dribbling and driving. The goal is to make him work, both on offense and defense.

“He can score in so many ways,” Hall said. “He’s smart. He brings a lot of energy. He’s the type of guy who doesn’t give up.”

The Bluejays (17-1, 6-0) lead the nation in shooting percentage (52.4), three-point accuracy (45.4) and three-pointers (9.7). Stopping them means more than stopping McDermott, who averages 24 points and makes 50.7 percent of his threes.

“They’re as good as I’ve seen in my (five-plus) years in the Valley,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “They’re hard to guard. They’re very, very, very, very, very good.”

One item to consider for each of Marshall’s “verys.”

•  The Bluejays like to sub Ethan Wragge for center Gregory Echenique. Wragge is an excellent shooter who will stop at the arc while the defending post player runs to the lane, as he is normally taught. That is a problem, because Wragge makes 45.9 percent of his threes.

•  The Shockers want to chase the Bluejays off the three-point line as much as possible and make them drive. Creighton wants to spread the floor and pass the ball. It doesn’t want to create shots with dribbling. Sophomore point guard Austin Chatman is quick and a willing passer who takes care of the ball.

•  Some teams try to zone Creighton as a way to help on McDermott. Senior guard Grant Gibbs is a pass-first player sometimes given open shots by opponents more worried about other players. Gibbs, however, is shooting 51.6 percent.

•  Limiting McDermott’s touches is indeed the most important thing WSU can do. He won’t take bad shots. If the Shockers make him catch it in places he doesn’t favor, he will pass instead of forcing a shot. In four meetings, the Shockers held him to nine or fewer shots three times.

•  While McDermott isn’t blazing fast, his determination to run the court provides easy baskets. The Shockers must keep track of him after shooting, because he will race to the lane and get position for an easy basket.

“They execute everything they do and they get out in transition,” Cotton said. “You’ve got to be disciplined, because they’re great shooters and they’re great at passing.”

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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