▪ Key statistics: The Shockers made 15 of 25 shots, 5 of 9 three-pointers, in the second half.
While Wichita State committed a season-high 18 turnovers, it made up for those possessions with a 45-27 rebounding edge. The Braves paid little attention to the offensive backboards, preferring to retreat and organzie to stop transition baskets.
▪ How the game turned: Bradley won the first half 25-20. That was not a decisive enough victory for the Braves. The fact they didn’t take better advantage of Wichita State’s poor shooting and turnover (13) problems in the first half set the stage for a second-half switch.
▪ Records: WSU 19-4, 9-1 MVC, BU 8-15, 3-7
▪ Rotation watch: WSU divided up its front-court minutes at post with Darral Willis (17), Rauno Nurger (19) and Shaq Morris (13) The threat of Luuk van Bree’s three-point shooting — 16 of 40 in MVC play entering Sunday — limited the time coach Gregg Marshall played two bigs together.
Van Bree wasn’t much of a factor, scoring two points on 1-of-8 shooting. He missed all four of his threes.
Bradley’s double teams frustrated the Shocker bigs in the first half. Willis, Nurger and Morris combined to make 1 of 7 shots and commit five turnovers.
In contrast, Landry Shamet and Conner Frankamp played 36 minutes. With Austin Reaves injured and Daishon Smith ineffective, Marshall put the ball in the hands of Shamet and Frankamp to good effect.
“Conner was tremendous in his floor game,” Marshall said. “He and Landry Shamet were both pretty big.”
▪ Somebody said this:
▪ Good: Wichita State got exactly what it needed from junior Rashard Kelly. Defense. Five rebounds. Smart shots. Efficient offense. Grabbing loose balls.
“He played wonderful,” Frankamp said. “When the ball was anywhere near him, he snagged it.”
He supplied much of the defense on van Bree early in the second half when the Shockers made their run.
“A lot of energy,” Shamet said. “That’s what he brings. He does a lot of the little things people might not talk about.”
Kelly bailed out Frankamp late in the game when Frankamp tossed a soft pass — Marshall termed it a lollipop — and Kelly went up and over a defender to spare the Shockers a turnover.
Marshall compared the effort to a catch by Odell Beckham Jr. or Victor Cruz..
“Bad pass, but it was high enough … he came from behind (the defender) and caught the ball,” Marshall said.
▪ Bad: Smith’s struggles in MVC play, especially on the road, continue. He played eight minutes and didn’t score.
In five MVC road games, Smith is 4 of 15 from the field with seven assists and five turnovers.
▪ Numbers guy says: WSU’s bench scored 15 points, matching its loss at Illinois State for its lowest output.
▪ And on and on: Shamet’s six assists match his season high. He has 39 assists and nine turnovers in 10 MVC games. … Frankamp committed a season-high three turnovers. He had not committed one in his three previous games.
▪ Next up: at Drake (7-15, 5-5 MVC), 6 p.m. Wednesday (Cox 2022)
The Bulldogs are 6-5 at home after Saturday’s 71-63 loss to Northern Iowa. They are 4-1 in MVC home games and average 85.6 points in those games.
WSU defeated Drake 90-65 on Jan. 4. It held the Bulldogs to 37-percent shooting, 32 from three-point range. Guard Reed Timmer, who averages 17.8 points in MVC games, scored 11 on 2-of-8 shooting.
WSU out-rebounded the Bulldogs 54-28. It was WSU’s biggest rebounding margin since it went plus-30 against Newman in 2014. It was also WSU’s biggest edge against an NCAA Division I school since 2011, when it out-rebounded Washington State by 27 in the NIT.