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Lufile’s Wichita State season becoming a not-so-bumpy ride

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, at 9:34 a.m.
  • Updated Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 9:53 p.m.


Wichita State and Indiana State Recap

Wichita Eagle's Bob Lutz and Paul Suellentrop discuss WSU's 19th win, Saturday over Indiana State.


How many losses for Wichita State prior to the NCAA Tournament?

No. 5 Wichita State at Illinois State

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Redbird Arena, Normal, Ill.

Records: WSU 19-0, 6-0 MVC; ISU 11-7, 4-2

Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM

TV: Cox 22

No. 5 Wichita State at Illinois State

PWichita St.Ht.Yr.PtsReb
FTekele Cotton6-3Jr.9.24.7
FCleanthony Early6-8Sr.15.36.6
CChadrack Lufile6-9Sr.5.75.2
GRon Baker6-3So.13.63.7
G Fred VanVleet6-1So.13.8x-5.1
Illinois St.
FZach Lofton6-4So.11.63.3
CReggie Lynch6-10Fr.7.44.3
GParis Lee5-11Fr.6.8x-2.6
GBobby Hunter5-10Jr.10.22.9
G Nick Zeisloft6-4So.6.83.9


Wichita State (19-0, 6-0 MVC): The Shockers are 6-0 in the MVC for the third time. The 1964-65 team started 8-0 before losing at Tulsa. The 1963-64 team started 6-0 before losing at Bradley. The last MVC team to start 6-0 or better was the 2008 Drake team (13-0). WSU ranks second in the MVC by averaging 71.2 points in conference games. Yet the Shocker rank eighth in shooting percentage (42.6 percent) and 10th in three-point shooting (31.2). How do they do it? One way is by getting to the foul line. WSU is 108 of 150 from the line, most attempts in the conference. Its 108 makes are more than four teams (including Illinois State) have attempted. VanVleet has 30 assists and four turnovers in conference games, a ratio of 7.5 that leads the conference. He recorded a career-high 10 assists with no turnovers in a 66-47 win over Illinois State on Jan. 8.

Illinois State (11-7, 4-2): Lynch matched his career highs with 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in Saturday’s 77-63 win at Drake. WSU held Illinois State to 32.7-percent shooting in the earlier meeting. Lofton missed 15 of 18 shots. Hunter came off the bench to lead the Redbirds with 11 points. The Shockers will be the highest-ranked team to play at Redbird Arena, topping No. 15 Drake in 2008. The Redbirds ranks second in the MVC by holding teams to 38.6 percent shooting in conference games. Illinois State is 49 of 141 (34.8 percent) from behind the arc in MVC games. It ranks second in three-pointers made and attempted.

RPIs as of Tuesday: WSU 9, ISU 108.

The evolutionary purpose of the body’s pilomoter reflex is to raise hair to make a body appear larger when threatened.

Wichita State center Chadrack Lufile is plenty big enough at 6-foot-9, 266 pounds, although he is playing with more presence with each game. His pilomoter reflex, better known as goose bumps, is a reaction to getting big and getting noticed by coach Gregg Marshall. Lufile is back in the starting lineup and coming off his first double-double of his career — 10 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s win over Indiana State.

“One time he came to the bench — he had out-run the other team down the floor and gotten fouled,” Marshall said. “I loved it because he had chill bumps all over his arms because I was praising him and telling him how great he was doing. His whole body was just chill bumps.”

The fifth-ranked Shockers (19-0, 6-0 Missouri Valley Conference) play at Illinois State (11-7, 4-2) on Wednesday with its rotation of big men looking more dependable daily. Lufile is averaging 7.6 points and 7 rebounds in his past five games, three of them starts. Darius Carter is averaging 9.7 points off the bench the past three games, making 12 of 18 shots. Kadeem Coleby completes the rotation and is rebounding and blocking shots.

Lufile, a senior from Burlington, Ontario, gave the Shockers a similar burst of production in December and earned three starts. Then he came a few minutes late to a shootaround and weights and lost his starting job to Carter for the North Carolina-Central game on Dec. 22.

“He did that to show me a lesson, in life you’ve got to be on time,” Lufile said. “That will never happen again.”

Lufile responded as Marshall wanted. He played few minutes against North Carolina-Central and Davidson before getting back on track in MVC play, and his confidence and contributions are again on the rise.

“He knows how to get his head on straight and bounce back,” teammate Nick Wiggins said. “He never just sulked because he was taken out of the starting lineup. It just made him work harder. It’s his senior year, so he doesn’t want to regret anything.”

Lufile and Carter both say they’re happy with either role.

“As long as I can get in and do what I got to do to help this team win, it doesn’t matter whether I start or come off the bench,” Carter said.

“If I score, I score; if I don’t, I don’t,” Lufile said. “That starting stuff, it means something, but at the same time, when you get on that court, nothing else matters. I’m still going to play hard.”

That is what gives Marshall chill bumps. He wants Lufile to use his size, speed and athletic ability to defend and rebound. In MVC games, Lufile is tied for third (with Coleby) in the conference by averaging 1.5 blocks. His average of 6.7 rebounds ranks sixth. He tied his career-high with three blocks against Missouri State.

“He’s a better rim protector and a better rebounder,” Marshall said. “In every phase, I think he’s gotten better. He can make a move, now, and not turn it over.”

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

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