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Wichita State goes back on road learning from loss

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at 12:39 p.m.

No. 15 Wichita State at Northern Iowa

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: McLeod Center, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Records: WSU 19-3, 8-2 MVC; UNI 11-11, 4-6

Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM

TV: ESPN2, Ch. 33

No. 15 Wichita State at Northern Iowa

PWichita St.HtYrPtsReb
F

Cleanthony Early6-8Jr.15.25.3
CEhimen Orukpe7-0Sr.3.65.1
GDemetric Williams6-3Sr.8.6x-2.5
GTekele Cotton6-3So.6.03.8
GMalcolm Armstead6-0Sr.9.2x-3.9

x-assists

Wichita State (19-3, 8-2): WSU coach Gregg Marshall is 128-64 in six seasons. He needs one win to pass Mark Turgeon’s total from 2000-07. Ralph Miller (220) and Gene Smithson (155) are 1-2.… WSU has won four straight over the Panthers, including a 73-55 win in 2011 that is UNI’s largest defeat in seven seasons at the McLeod Center.… WSU out-rebounded UNI 40-22 in the December meeting. Early led four Shockers in double figures with 16 points.… Williams is 8 of 39 (20.5 percent) from three-point range in 10 MVC games, lowering his season percentage to 28.4 (21 of 74).

PNorthern IowaHtYrPtsReb
F Jake Koch6-9Sr.10.26.4
FSeth Tuttle6-8So.11.06.0
GAnthony James6-0Sr.12.23.7
GMarc Sonnen6-3Sr.9.6x-1.5
G Deon Mitchell6-1So.10.4x-3.5

Northern Iowa (11-11, 4-6): WSU held the Panthers to 15-of-46 shooting and 3 of 17 on three-pointers in December at Koch Arena. Koch led UNI with seven points.… Sonnen is shooting 49.1 percent from three-point range, third nationally. He is 41 for 71 in his last 15 games.… UNI leads the MVC by making 75.7 percent of its free throws. It attempted two free throws, making one, in Tuesday’s 54-51 overtime loss at Evansville.… UNI’s reserves totaled 12 points in the past two games, losses at Indiana State and Evansville.

RPIs as of Friday: WSU 24, UNI 109

Wichita State’s basketball players are more concerned with their minds than their mechanics.

They watched Tuesday’s loss to Indiana State in Thursday’s video session. They saw missed shots, 43 in all. They also saw Indiana State get most of the loose balls and win the hustle plays.

Those are the moments that hurt. No. 15 WSU knows it can win when it shoots poorly. It knows it can win when one or two players are a step slow. But it can’t when most of the roster plays passively.

“There a lot of things we can fix,” guard Tekele Cotton said. “Normally, we’re tough. Normally, we play defense and normally we rebound. This game, for some reason, we really didn’t come out with the same approach.”

WSU (19-3, 8-2 Missouri Valley Conference) plays at Northern Iowa (11-11, 4-6) on Saturday likely needing a win to stay even with Creighton atop the MVC standings and remain in the national rankings. The 68-55 loss to Indiana State provided a reminder how the Shockers got to the top.

“We’ve got to play tougher,” WSU junior Nick Wiggins said. “I don’t think we came out aggressive. They had more energy than us, and that’s not usually the case.”

WSU coach Gregg Marshall didn’t let the offense off the hook after the Shockers shot a season-low 27.1 percent from the field. They made one basket in the final 8:57, a layup in the final 30 seconds.

Guard Malcolm Armstead said he had trouble sleeping after a game in which he missed 9 of 11 shots and felt he rushed too many against Indiana State’s changing defenses. The Sycamores held center Carl Hall to two shots and didn’t allow Wiggins, WSU’s best outside threat, to attempt a three-pointer.

“We didn’t execute at all (against the zone defense),” Marshall said. “When we got it in (the lane), we didn’t finish. There were other times we should have gotten it in and we didn’t.”

Marshall counted four times when Hall worked open in the lane and didn’t get the ball. The Sycamores devoted two, sometimes three, players to keep the ball away from Hall. Even when he grabbed offensive rebounds, he found himself surrounded. He scored two points, on the two free throws he attempted.

“Normally, when he gets those offensive rebounds is when he gets a lot of his shots,” Marshall said. “They were doubling and sagging in on him so much, he basically became less assertive, which is not the answer.”

WSU routed Northern Iowa 66-41 in the conference opener at Koch Arena. But the Panthers are 9-2 at home, where their offense is much more effective. UNI averages 71.2 points in home games, 10 more than on the road. It is shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 42.7 percent from three-point range at home, roughly 10 percentage points better in each than on the road.

“It’s going to be a great environment,” Marshall said. “They’re very well-coached. And they seem to make more shots at home.”

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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