No. 16 Wichita State can play good defense, new rules or not, hands on or hands off.
The Shockers regrouped on the court for the first time since the Final Four with a 73-29 exhibition victory over Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday at Koch Arena. WSUs new intro videos reminded the crowd of last seasons highlights, giving fans their biggest dose of thrills for the evening. Coach Gregg Marshall growled out the Play Angry slogan and Koch Arena came alive for the start of the highly anticipated follow-up season.
The game contained no drama, other than the first glimpse at newcomers and the comforting return of the veterans.
College basketballs new rules, meant to increase freedom of movement and limit physical contact by defenders, didnt overwhelm the game as has been the case in some exhibitions around the nation. The Shockers adjusted quickly, moving their feet to keep the smaller, slower opponents corralled and rarely allowing open shots.
We did have a size and quickness advantage, WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. Because of that, maybe we werent challenged on driving as much as some other teams might do.
The Shockers finished with 19 fouls, a total Marshall predicted will look small most games, and the Bison minimized the damage by missing 13 of 18 free throws. OBU committed 24 fouls and the Shockers made 19 of 28 free throws.
Oklahoma Baptist didnt make a field goal until Cale Jackson banked in a layup with 10:49 to play in the first half. Then they didnt make another shot until the first possession of the second half. The Bison, ranked No. 2 in NAIA Division I, missed 17 of 18 shots and went 6 of 14 from the foul line in the first half.
We defended pretty well and it wasnt a foul-fest, Marshall said. They had one basket in the first half. Thats hard to find fault with. If they dont score that basket, the fans have to stand up all through the first half and maybe through halftime. If we could ever do that, Id be pretty pleased.
For the game, the Bison made 11 of 44 shots (25 percent) and 1 of 10 threes. WSU blocked six shots, three by center Kadeem Coleby, and forced 18 turnovers.
I guess theyre trying to turn it into the NBA, WSU guard Fred VanVleet said of the new rules. They want to get the scoring up. Weve just got to adjust as much as we can and still try to play the type of defense we want to play. We did on OK job of it.
WSU, after struggling early, rallied to shoot 49 percent from the field and make 4 of 11 threes. The Shockers werent a work of art on offense. All 13 players who suited up played, resulting in some choppy action. WSU made 10 of 24 shots in the first half and missed seven free throws.
Coleby, who redshirted last season, led WSU with 12 points. Senior Cleanthony Early, who came off the bench after missing practices this week with a concussion, added 10.
Even in the blowout, WSU gave fans enough highlights to make it worthwhile for the basketball-starved.
Newcomer Darius Carter opened the scoring with a short hook and converted a three-point soon after. Coleby showed quick leaping ability when he recovered his blocked shot and dunked. VanVleet made a three and a short jumper early in the game. Freshman guard Rian Holland tossed in a floater. In the second half, VanVleet connected with Coleby for a dunk on an inbounds play. Ron Baker dove on the floor to grab a loose ball, a turnover the Shockers converted into a breakaway dunk by Coleby. Holland curled off a screen for a three at the top of the key.
The Shockers went up 8-0 before the Bison scored on Kendall Parks free throw with 17:10 remaining in the first half. WSU stretched the lead 13-1 on VanVleets jumper and free throws before Jackson scored. Colebys dunk made it 19-6, followed by a dunk from Carter and a spinning layup by VanVleet for a 23-6 lead.
With a 27-6 lead, Marshall started bringing in his deep reserves, starting with freshman center Shaq Morris for the final 4:30 of the first half.
Jackson led the Bison with eight points. Aaron Abram, who scored 34 points in OBUs win over Manhattan Christian College, scored six on 2-of-11 shooting.
Worth noting A.J. Hawkins, who played the 2008-09 season at WSU before transferring to Oklahoma Baptist, sat behind the Bison bench. OBU director of development Brian Morris worked in WSUs athletic department for several years and his ties with Marshall set up Saturdays game. The previous low opponent score in an exhibition came in 2006 when WSU defeated Fort Hays State 80-38. WSU won its 19th straight exhibition, last losing in 2001 to Athletes First 93-88.
Percentages: FG 25.0, FT 33.3.
3-Point Goals: 1-10 .10.0 (Abrams 1-3, Jackson 0-1, Steinmetz 0-1, Arnold 0-2, T.Davis 0-3).
Blocked Shots: 1 (Stubbs)
Turnovers: 18 (Abram 6, C.Davis 5, Parks 2, Arnold 2, Stubbs, Nixon, T.Davis).
Steals: 3 (Abram 2, Stubbs).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG 49.0. FT 67.0.
3-Point Goals: 4-11 36.4 (Baker 1-4, Wessel 1-3, Holland 1-2, VanVleet 1-1, Early 0-1).
Blocked Shots: 6 (Colby 3, Morris 2, Cotton)
Turnovers: 8 (Coleby 2, Early 2, Lufile, Baker, Wiggins, Morris).
Steals: 9 (Baker 4, Carter, Early, SImon, Wiggins, Coleby).
Technical Fouls: None.
OfficialsJeff Malham, Ervin Wilson, Drew Bontrager.