Wichita State Shockers

Shocker offense revving on the road to Tulsa

Perhaps we should just call them guards. When the offense flows, it doesn't matter how they are labeled.

Wichita State's offense hit a high gear in Sunday's 89-70 win over then-No. 18 UNLV. Point guard Joe Ragland did most of the shooting — a career-high 31 points with eight three-pointers. Toure Murry — call him a shooting guard, a small forward or a point forward — handed out a career-high eight assists.

The important thing is, the offense flowed smoothly after ups and downs in WSU's first six games.

"I was amazed at our offensive efficiency, because I really think they're a good defensive team," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. "I think they saw a challenge. They also knew we hadn't played well. It was time."

The challenge for WSU (5-2) is to take that flow on the road Wednesday night at Tulsa (4-5). The Shockers are playing their first road game against a team that is either desperate for a win or downtrodden. All of the Golden Hurricane's losses are by five points or fewer.

WSU went 9-2 on the road last season, losing at Mountain West Conference co-champion San Diego State and Missouri Valley Conference champion Missouri State.

"A lot of our guys in been in this situation before, so we should know how to handle it," Ragland said. "We can still carry the same attitude."

It will help if Ragland and Murry can take their connection to the Reynolds Center. Murry assisted on half of Ragland's three-pointers, the most made by a Shocker since Jason Perez made a WSU-record nine in 2000 against Missouri State. Ragland took 13 shots, nine from three-point range. Marshall didn't fault his shot selection — perhaps one of them came a bit outside the offense.

"After he made a couple, he was obviously in the zone," Marshall said. "If he's open, I want him shooting the ball."

Ragland got open so often because his teammates played unselfishly and executed the offense. That hasn't always been the case this season.

"He got those shots because we constantly threw the ball inside, like Coach wants," Murry said. "Everything was working for us and Joe had the hot hand. He was in rhythm."

Ragland is 11 of 13 from three-point range after starting the season 2 for 10. He broke out of his slump by going 3 for 4 from three-point range and scoring 15 points on Thursday against Cal State Fullerton.

"I just had to make sure I worked on my jump shot and I had the confidence to shoot it," Ragland said. "I know I'm a great shooter."

Murry is taking advantage of defenses who play him to shoot in recent games. His drives into the lane are freeing teammates and Murry is happy to pass. In his past three games, he has 16 assists and six turnovers. He had eight assists and 11 turnovers in WSU's first four games.

"I'm just making the extra pass," he said. "I know Coach wants me to facilitate sometimes and just be a player and not always look to score."

Against UNLV, Murry also passed to David Kyles for a three and a dunk. Twice, he fed Carl Hall for layups.

"He's getting other people shots because he's able to get into the paint and he's using his shot-fake well," Marshall said.

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