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Shocker newcomer Carter looking to make his move

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, at 7:15 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 6:22 p.m.

No. 14 Wichita State at Tulsa

When: 7:05 p..m. Wednesday

Where: Reynolds Center, Tulsa

Records: WSU 4-0, TU 0-2

Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM

TV: CBS Sports Network (Cox Ch. 260, DirecTV 221, Dish 158, U-verse 643)

No. 14 Wichita State at Tulsa

PWichita St.Ht.Yr.Pt.Rb.
FCleanthony Early6-8Sr.15.57.0
FTekele Cotton6-3Jr.10.03.5
CKadeem Coleby6-9Sr.7.54.3
GRon Baker6-5So.11.04.0
G Fred VanVleet6-1So.12.5x-5.7
Tulsa
FLew Evans6-8So.4.52.5
FRashad Smith6-7 So.19.02.5
GShaquille Harrison6-3 So.19.5x-2.5
GJames Woodard6-3So.6.07.0
GTim Peete6-4Sr.3.51.5

x-assists

Wichita State (4-0): The Shockers go on the road for the first time and VanVleet is ready to see how they react. “We need it,” he said. “We need to come together as brothers on the road. A lot of the new guys are going to learn what it takes to win on the road.” WSU leads the series 62-60 and has won five in a row. It also owns a two-game win streak at the Reynolds Center, winning in 2004 and 2011. Last season, the Shockers won 86-60 at Koch Arena with Carl Hall scoring 16 points. Early is off to a bad start from long distance, shooting 5 of 21 (23.8 percent) from three-point range. WSU has forced 70 turnovers, while committing 39.

Tulsa (0-2): The Hurricane is coming off a 96-93 loss at Missouri State on Saturday. Harrison led Tulsa with 21 points and Smith added 19. The teams totaled 87 foul shots on 63 fouls. Smith is 12 of 22 from the line. TU is 6 of 23 (26.1 percent) from three-point range while allowing opponents to shoot 10 of 22 (45.1 percent). WSU is the highest-ranked opponent to visit Tulsa since No. 1 Memphis in 2008. TU is playing four consecutive former Missouri Valley Conference opponents — Missouri State, WSU, at Creighton and vs. Indiana State in Alaska.

In junior college, Darius Carter got the ball, shot and usually scored. Repeat the next time down the court.

At Wichita State, things are different. After three games rushing into a hook shot and rarely passing, Carter played patiently on Saturday and turned in his best performance of the young season. He scored nine points, seven in the second half, on 3-of-5 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in 16 minutes in an 85-71 win over Tennessee State.

“The first few games I came out too rushed,” Carter said. “I’m coming from teams where I’m used to being the first or second option. I’m not that this year. I don’t have to shoot the ball every time.”

Carter, a 6-foot-7 power forward, sat out Tuesday’s practice after spraining his right ankle and called himself day to day. The 14th-ranked Shockers (4-0) play at Tulsa (0-2) on Wednesday and WSU coach Gregg Marshall said the decision to play rests with Carter.

“It’s a pain-tolerance thing,” Marshall said. “It’s up to him, but it did not look good (Tuesday).”

Regardless of whether or not Carter plays Wednesday, he will play an important role this season for the Shockers. Ignore the struggles in his first three games, guard Fred VanVleet said. Carter, an NJCAA All-American, averaged 15.8 points and made 54 percent of his shots last season at Vincennes (Ind.) University.

“People don’t understand how hard or how much pressure there is playing at Koch Arena for your first few times,” VanVleet said. “I think he just wanted to prove himself so much he was forcing it a little bit. He’s very talented in the low block, and I like what I’ve seen from him lately.”

WSU coach Gregg Marshall wants Carter to take advantage of his post skills by attacking the defense and drawing fouls. In the first three games he relied on a jump hook, often from well outside the lane. On Saturday, Carter shot after making a move to the basket. He twice drew fouls, turning one sequence into a three-point play.

“He’s making moves, he’s making solid moves,” Marshall said. “He just wasn’t flailing a fade-away shot. He was trying to get to the rim.”

Carter missed eight of his first 10 shots as a Shocker. Success in his fourth game came as a relief.

“It helped me to learn what I have to do for the next game — just relax and make the right move,” he said.

While Marshall is happy to see Carter fit more effectively into the offense, rebounding and defense remain top priorities. Tulsa appears to be a team that can be exploited by a fierce rebounding team. The Shockers haven’t played like that team consistently so far this season. Oral Roberts outrebounded Tulsa 45-28 and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds. Missouri State outrebounded Tulsa 38-33 with 14 offensive rebounds.

“We just need (the big men) to be better on the defensive end and better on rebounding,” VanVleet said. “We know they’re talented players on offense and that will come with time.”

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

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