Wichita State Shockers

Stutz helps Shockers roll past Iowa

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —His old high school band rooted against him. Other than that, Tuesday played out like a dream for Wichita State sophomore Garrett Stutz.

He played his best game as a Shocker in his hometown and helped WSU handle Iowa 74-57. His big game overshadowed the return of guard Clevin Hannah, who played his first game after serving a three-game NCAA suspension.

After the game, cameras, notebooks and lights surrounded Stutz in a Sprint Center hallway. The reporters couldn't get enough of the hometown-7-footer-makes-good story.

Especially because he played so bad Monday.

"I played real bad," he said. "I'm not a freshman anymore, and I've got to start playing like it."

Stutz, from North Kansas City High, scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds. The band from his school, drafted into service by organizers of the CBE Classic, wore Iowa T-shirts and played songs for the Hawkeyes. A few of them recognized Stutz and yelled greetings to him during warmups.

"I heard some of them before the game, but I was only there one year and so many people I knew were gone," he said.

More people will recognize Stutz after Tuesday. He dunked. He made two threes. He made a jump hook. He wore out Iowa freshman Brennan Cougill and others in the first half when he made 7 of 8 shots (following in his miss) and scored 16.

Quite a contrast to Monday, when he scored two points in 13 minutes in a 68-55 loss to Pittsburgh. Tuesday, he walked off the court to a big ovation from the 3,000 or so Shocker fans in the arena.

"He's getting better," WSU junior Graham Hatch said. "So will we when he does. He can be a real threat for us with his outside shooting."

Stutz showed all his offensive weapons during a decisive first-half burst. His dunk gave WSU a 17-14 lead. He followed that with a three for a 20-14 lead. A jump hook made it 22-16 and his three put the Shockers up 25-16.

Stutz also showed his improved agility. He deflected an entry pass, dove to the floor and flipped the ball high in the air to a teammate. Late in the half, he missed a layup, and then jumped quickly and put the ball in the basket.

The Hawkeyes (1-4) never fully recovered their footing after that burst. WSU led by as many as 14 in the first half. Iowa got no closer than seven in the second half.

WSU never completely shut down Iowa's offense. Iowa, however, didn't come close to slowing down the Shockers. WSU made 17 of 28 shots in the first half. It made 11 of 21 threes and committed a mere nine turnovers.

"We allowed them to get comfortable," Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said. "We were a step behind all night."

Hannah's calming presence and leadership helped put the Shockers on the right pace.

"Our offense was much more efficient," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. "It was clicking on all cylinders, and I think a big part of that is having another playmaker."

Hannah didn't need to score. He handed out six assists and committed one turnover. Freed from ball-handling duties, Toure Murry scored 18 points.

"He found me on open plays," Murry said. "It relieved the pressure off me."

Hannah, suspended for three games by the NCAA because of WSU's failure to certify him as an amateur, made one three. It was a big one. The Shockers grabbed two offensive rebounds to burn clock late in the game. Hannah ended it by sticking a three over Iowa's Cully Payne at the shot-clock buzzer for a 69-53 lead with 4:05 to play.

"I think that was a dagger a little bit," Hannah said.

Hannah, who led WSU in scoring last season, didn't mind watching his teammates put up the big numbers on Tuesday.

"I was thinking just to get the best shot we could as a team," Hannah said. "I wasn't worried about me getting shots. I know my time is going to come to step in and knock shots down."

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