▪ Two games in, Wichita State’s guard are the story.
As a group, they are running the offense, taking care of the ball, scoring when needed and playing solid defense.
On the upside, two of them (Austin Reaves, Daishon Smith) hadn’t played a game at WSU until Friday. Landry Shamet played in three. So there is room to grow, even for more-experienced Conner Frankamp, now in a bigger role.
On the downside, it’s only two games, both at home, and neither against defensively accomplished teams. There is plenty of time for struggles. I want to see how they react when defenders crank up the pressure.
Never miss a local story.
For now, enjoy the fact the Shockers appear to capably replace two NBA players.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to put any of (them) in the game,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “Conner obviously is starting, but Daishon was fantastic on Sunday night. Austin Reaves is quickly becoming a crowd favorite. We’ve got depth at that position and they’re really doing a nice job.”
▪ In one game, Tulsa spent way too much time playing defense, according to Ken Pomeroy’s advanced statistics. He ranks Tulsa No. 48 nationally in time of possession at 14.8 seconds and No. 307 in defensive time of possession at 19.6 seconds.
The Hurricane shot quickly in its opener and then played defense for a long time before giving up a basket or an offensive rebound. Jacksonville State, an 84-73 winner, made 21 of 31 two-points shots and grabbed nine offensive rebounds.
That’s the way coach Frank Haith’s teams play. In better times, they don’t give up so many easy baskets. Last season’s team ranked No. 46 in time of possession.
“We have to be able to defend better,” Haith told reporters after the game. “They executed very well, being a veteran team. We’ll get better. It’s early in the year, and I think this team will get better.”
The Hurricane did grab 18 offensive rebounds and scored 18 second-chance points. Freshman Martins Igbanu came off the bench to grab six offensive boards.
▪ Tulsa guard Jaleel Walker, a transfer from Kilgore (Texas) College, will miss his second game to satisfy a two-game NCAA suspension. He took two years off to support his family after high school and ran afoul of an NCAA rule at a recruiting showcase.
▪ Watching: ESPN3.com
▪ Listening: KEYN, 103.7-FM, goshockers.com
Tulsa at Wichita State
- When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
- Where: Koch Arena
- Records: UT 0-1, WSU 2-0
- Radio: KEYN 103.7-FM
- TV: none
- Online: ESPN3.com
Tulsa at Wichita State
Tulsa (0-1): Brit went 3 for 13 from the field, 1 of 9 from three-point range in an 84-73 loss to Jacksonville State. The rest of the Hurricane went 9 for 19 from three-point range. … Tulsa allowed Jacksonville State to make 30 of 54 shots (55.6 percent), 9 of 23 from behind the arc. … Three players with Tulsa game experience return from last season’s NCAA Tournament team. There are 10 newcomers on the roster. Birt averaged 12 points last season and scored 14 points in last season’s win over WSU. Freshman F Martins Igbanu came off the bench to score 10 points and grab nine rebounds in the opener. … Tulsa is picked ninth in the American Athletic Conference.
Wichita State (2-0): Ten Shockers average between 5.5 and 9.5 points, with F Markis McDuffie, who is 9 of 12 from the field, and Shamet atop that list. McDuffie also averages 6.0 rebounds, second on the team.… The Shockers held their first two opponents to 29.3 percent shooting. They combined for 34 baskets and 40 turnovers.… WSU’s reserves scored 54 points in the opener over South Carolina State, most in coach Gregg Marshall’s 10 seasons. WSU bench outscored South Carolina State and Long Beach State 99-94. … WSU leads the series 64-61 and has won four straight in Wichita. WSU won seven in a row over the Hurricane before last season’s 77-67 loss. The series is contracted to continue three more seasons.