Two trends continued for Wichita State, one good and one puzzling.
Sophomore center Garrett Stutz took another step forward with a career-high 12 rebounds. His confidence appears to grow each time out and this three-game swing against lesser opponents is perfectly timed for him, especially since he is building on good performances against Iowa and Cleveland State. He will encounter tougher defenses down the road, no doubt. He should be better prepared to deal with them as he experiences success.
One of the reasons Stutz is playing so well is that foul trouble is a problem for the big men. J.T. Durley’s minutes and production is dropping each game, in part due to fouls, leaving time for Stutz to do his thing. He is taking full advantage. However, the fouling needs to stop. WSU’s depth hasn’t made it an issue so far, but the Shockers need more production from Durley. Blair, Ellis and Stutz are also prone to fouls. At some point, it will cost WSU. Coach Gregg Marshall said there are several factors to the fouls – silly reaching by the big men and poor perimeter defense by the guards chief among them. The Shocker guards need to do a better job stopping penetration. The big men are picking up needless fouls covering for them. Durley, Stutz and Blair are averaging more than 2.5 fouls a game. More problematic is that they seem to pick them up in bunches.
Durley, who picked up two early fouls, played only 11 minutes against Alcorn State. Marshall sounds somewhat mystified at his recent drop-off. Durley hasn’t scored in double figures since the Pittsburgh game.“It’s hard to be productive when you’re sitting by me,” Marshall said. “He just seems like he’s content that we’re winning and he’s not really contributing that much, other than great leadership, and that’s a good sign in a way. I’d like to see J.T. be a little more hungry and productive to get things done. Stutz is pushing him, I’m telling you that.”Around the Valley
Northern Iowa can regain some of the ground it lost against DePaul if it beats Iowa State on Wednesday.Creighton coach Dana Altman believes the Jays need to fix many things before Sunday’s game against Nebraska.The return of Justin Fuehrmeyer helped Missouri State pick up a big win over Tulsa.