An afternoon of air balls, contested shots and ugly offense concluded with Wichita State’s first drubbing of the season.
Oklahoma disrupted what WSU wanted to do for the entire 40 minutes of its 80-48 victory on Saturday afternoon at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
It was the worst offensive performance, at least from an efficiency standpoint, in the Gregg Marshall era. The Shockers made 24.2 percent (15 of 62) of their shots, 18.5 percent (5 of 27) of their three-pointers and committed 15 turnovers. Add it all up and it came out to 0.66 points per possession, the lowest output ever recorded by a WSU men’s basketball team since Ken Pomeroy started tracking the metric in the 2001-02 season.
For perspective, no WSU team coached by Marshall had dipped below 0.78 points per possession before Saturday. The last time WSU scored 48 points came in 2008 in a 57-48 loss at TCU.
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Afterward, when asked if there were any positives to take away from the performance, Marshall summed up the team’s Oklahoma City experience in five words.
“I get to go home,” Marshall said.
OU (8-1) extended its win streak to four games behind a dominant all-around effort. Not only did OU accomplish what it did defensively, but it also grabbed 39 percent of its own misses and held WSU to a season-low 22 percent of its offensive rebounds.
Markis McDuffie led WSU (4-4) with 19 points, but needed 17 shots to do it, and no one else on WSU scored more than eight points.
“It’s embarrassing, period,” WSU freshman Erik Stevenson said. “This program is not known for that. It’s a very elite program. We win a lot of games here. We haven’t seen this in a long time in this program. It’s embarrassing to be the team to do that. I know the team is very embarrassed and Coach is very embarrassed, but we’ll have to bounce back.”
The crazy thing was that WSU actually remained competitive in the game early into the second half.
In what turned into the highlight of the game, WSU reeled off a 9-0 run midway through the first half to tie OU at 15 with 8:39 remaining. McDuffie scored on a put-back and a three-pointer to become the 47th Shocker to join the 1,000-point career scoring club in his 100th career game.
“I’m never satisfied, but after all I went through last year, just for me to come back healthy and do my thing and reach a milestone like that means a lot,” McDuffie said. “It shows what can happen in a year.”
But for WSU, that was about as potent as the offense would ever look.
For the game’s first 13 minutes, McDuffie was the only WSU player who made a field goal. Stevenson provided a jolt off the bench, finishing an athletic layup over the defense and connecting on a pair of three-pointers, but that was the only support WSU’s offense received in the first half.
The rest of the Shockers combined to miss 13 of 14 shots. WSU made 28.1 percent of its shots and committed 10 turnovers.
“It was just bad execution,” WSU freshman Jamarius Burton said. “The ball wasn’t moving like it did in the Baylor game.”
The offensive troubles overshadowed a defensive effort that failed to accomplish its main priority: guard the three-point line. WSU suffered through a handful of lapses tracking OU’s sharpshooter Christian James, who made three three-pointers, as the Sooners made six threes on 46-percent accuracy in the first half.
The good news, at least relatively, was WSU only trailed by eight, 35-27, at halftime. Things got worse in the second half.
Almost none of WSU’s sets produced clean looks. Either a player would grow impatient and rush a shot early or OU’s switch-everything defense grinded WSU down to late in the shot clock and force a contested shot.
“It snowballed on us and we couldn’t stem the tide,” Marshall said. “It went from bad to worse. We played them pretty well for a half, but that’s definitely not good enough. You’ve got to play 40 minutes and we’ve had a hard time doing that.”
Jaime Echenique swished a three-pointer in the first 30 seconds to trim OU’s lead to five, which seemed like a distant memory after OU outscored WSU 21-6 over the next 10 minutes to build a 20-point lead.
The Shockers missed 18 of their next 21 shots after the Echenique three and struggled to produce as many defensive stands as they did in the first half. That deadly combination led to the first blowout loss of the season for WSU.
WSU has four days to prepare for another team that’s on a winning streak, as Jacksonville State has rattled off five straight wins entering Wednesday’s matchup at Koch Arena.