▪ Key statistics: Saint Louis made one basket inside the three-point line in the first 20 minutes, a dunk by Elliott Welmer with 7:19 to play.
It missed 17 of 18 two-point shots. According to Wichita State’s shot chart, 11 of those misses came in the lane.
▪ How the game turned: A 21-9 lead isn’t insurmountable. Then the Billikens missed their final seven shots of the first half. WSU finished the half on a 15-0 run and led 36-9.
▪ Records: SLU 2-6, WSU 8-2
▪ Rotation watch: Coaches continue to marvel at WSU’s depth and how well — on a team with no seniors in the rotation — the pieces fit together.
“I watch a lot of college basketball, a lot,” Saint Louis coach Travis Ford said. “They’re one of the most balanced, efficient teams I’ve seen. Very well balanced, by their minutes played, by their numbers scoring. You’ve got guys averaging 7-8 points in 15 minutes, several of them, many of them. Very efficient. Play well together.”
You can highlight WSU’s depth and balance in many ways. Let’s go to Ken Pomeroy’s offensive rating, which throws all shooting, turnovers and pumpkin spice coffee into a formula to measure how many points per possession a player generates.
By this measurement, WSU has six of the MVC’s top 16 players with No. 4 Daishon Smith (1.21 points per possession), No. 6 Markis McDuffie (1.20), No. 8 Conner Frankamp (1.19), No. 11 Zach Brown (1.17) and No. 12 Landry Shamet (1.17) and No. 16 Rauno Nurger (1.12).
For comparison’s sake — Missouri State’s Austin Ruder leads the MVC at 1.37.
Last season, a rating of 1.34 led the nation. Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker led WSU, both at 1.12.
We’re only 10 games in, so those numbers will shake out some.
▪ Somebody said this:
▪ Good: If there’s one group that could make WSU’s depth go bad, it’s the juniors. They’ve played a lot of games, won a lot of games and started more games than anybody else on the roster. Brown, Shaq Morris and Rashard Kelly are coming off the bench in recent games and playing well.
The standard at WSU makes this expected. But it’s not that way everywhere. The Shockers need those three to play well and it’s worth noting that all three appear unconcerned, at least during the 40 minutes we see them, with starting or coming off the bench.
Playing three juniors with a combined 92 starts and 18 NCAA Tournament games off the bench forces the opposing coach to either extend his starters or watch Morris, Kelly and Brown go to work against his sixth, seventh and eighth men.
▪ Bad: Anybody else hold their breath every time Austin Reaves dives for a loose ball?
▪ Numbers guy says: WSU held the Billikens to 0.66 points per possession, third-lowest on the season behind South Carolina State’s 0.55 and LSU’s 0.64.
The Shockers rank third nationally in Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency at .89 points per possession.
▪ On and on: WSU’s bench scored 45 points, equaling Saint Louis’ total. … Shamet handed out a career-high five assists and has three or more in seven straight games, a total of 23 assists and eight turnovers. For the season, he has 27 assists and nine turnovers.
▪ Next up: vs. Oklahoma (5-2), 3 p.m. Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City (ESPN2)
The Sooners play Oral Roberts on Wednesday.
Turnovers are an issue for the Sooners, who give the ball away on 21.2 percent of their possessions. They committed 24 turnovers in a loss to Northern Iowa and finished minus-11 in turnovers in a loss to Wisconsin.
Guard Jordan Woodard averages 15.9 points and is shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range.
While the Sooners are shooting 40.8 percent behind the arc, opponents are making 36.2. UNI made 8 of 15 in the second half of its 73-67 overtime win over the Sooners.