It took Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall a few minutes to find travelers unaffected by a Hawaii hangover. Once he did, the Shockers had little trouble disposing of UMKC.
In a 71-52 victory, WSU held the Kangaroos without a basket for more than 13 minutes on Monday night at Koch Arena. With defense leading the way, the Shockers closed the first half on a 20-0 run to lead by 14 points at halftime.
"It was getting our legs under us from being out in Maui the whole week, a mini-vacation," WSU forward Gabe Blair said. "We're back here in cold weather, and it was a little different for us. It was a matter of defensive intensity, and coach chewed us out for a little bit."
In all, WSU's return home after three games in the Maui Invitational last week went smoothly. The Shockers (4-1) shot 55.3 percent from the field and held the Kangaroos (4-1) under 40 percent.
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"We were able to pull it together a little bit and do what we needed to do," WSU senior Graham Hatch said.
Things didn't click immediately. Marshall enjoys the luxury of a deep bench, and he used it to find players willing to defend and rebound. Guard Toure Murry and Blair, both off the bench, got the Shockers energized midway through the first half. Guard David Kyles made a three-pointer that seemed to open up the offense and Hatch played his usual tough defense.
"I liked a couple of combinations I had in there, and when we built the lead to 23 or 24, I felt good about it," Marshall said. "If they weren't rebounding or checking out, or if they were taking bad shots, I could certainly find somebody who may do those things for us. That's a luxury that we have."
The Shockers went from down 23-17 to up 37-23 at halftime by upping the defense and letting stops create easy offense.
UMKC made 5 of its first 11 shots. After WSU got serious about defending, the Kangaroos made 3 of their next 14 to finish the half. Spencer Johnson scored for a 22-16 lead with 8:59 to play in the first half. The Kangaroos didn't make another field goal until Johnson's short jumper with 15:35 remaining in the game.
"We settled for jump shots, rather than driving the ball and get to the foul line," UMKC coach Matt Brown said. "In a little bit of a rough environment, the first eight minutes of the game, we had to control the tempo. We got away from that late in the first half, and that's why they had the margin at halftime."
WSU's Toure Murry sparked the Shockers on both ends. His defense cooled off UMKC's Reggie Chamberlain, who scored 13 first-half points. Once the Shockers forced bad shots and turnovers, their running game produced easy baskets. Murry did his part by pushing the ball and making good decisions on the break.
After UMKC's Max Rockmann, guarded by Blair, missed hard off the rim, Murry sped up court to get a layup for Hatch. Murry stole the ball from Chamberlain and passed to Garrett Stutz for a layup and a 30-23 lead. Murry ended the half with another steal and a long pass to Kyles for a dunk.
WSU led 46-26 when Marshall went deeper into his bench. UMKC cut the lead to nine points with 5:26 to play on a layup by Bakari Lewis. The energy group of Blair, Murry and Kyles responded with an 11-2 run to give WSU a 68-50 lead.
Murry finished with seven assists and three turnovers. Kyles led WSU with 12 points. Stutz came off the bench to score 11, the only other Shocker in double figures.
Chamberlain, who played one season at WSU, finished with 20 points.