Wichita State is closing in on a third consecutive Missouri Valley Conference basketball title. It needs to finish the regular season strong to boost its NCAA Tournament resume.
It looks more likely the Shockers will chase those goals without freshman guard Landry Shamet, who has been out since November with a stress fracture in his left foot. His ankle continues to bother him and keeps him from increasing his practice routine. With four regular-season games remaining, coach Gregg Marshall is almost ready to declare Shamet out for the season.
“He’s having some trouble with his ankle, stiffness, the atrophy,” Marshall said. “He’s not 100 percent. If you can’t come back 100 percent to practice, you can’t come back 100 percent to play in games. It’s looking more and more like a decision will be made to redshirt him, but it’s not official yet.”
Shamet, who played in three games and started one before surgery in late November, was scheduled to start his return to full health around mid-February. At that point, he and Marshall planned to decide whether to play or apply for a medical hardship and preserve a season of eligibility. He usually spends his practice time rehabbing and performing non-contact drills. Marshall said they met recently to discuss the decision and will likely do so again.
“There’s no use in burning a redshirt when you don’t even know if you’re 100 percent,” Marshall said.
13Wichita State’s win streak vs. Bradley
11Wichita State’s win streak vs. Missouri State
9 Wichita State’s win streak vs. Drake
The rest of the Shockers are back to the grind of the MVC after a 71-41 win over New Mexico State helped perk up the offense. MVC games, especially in February, are often defensive struggles featuring two teams who can call out each other’s plays and know exactly how to bog down an offense.
Wichita State (19-7, 12-2 MVC) meets Missouri State (11-15, 7-7) on Thursday at Koch Arena. The Shockers need two wins to clinch a share of the MVC title.
Marshall helped his offense on Monday by emphasizing the differences between WSU’s motion offense, which features player movement and passing, and its ball-screen offense, which features guard Fred VanVleet making plays using picks set by big men.
“We were very specific in our breakdown offense — this is what we’re looking for in our motion offense and this is what we’re looking for when we go to a ball-screen offense,” Marshall said. “Sometimes when you try to teach both of those, the negative is they morph into one. They’re two distinct offenses and they had kind of morphed into and and they’re not great when that happens.”
With that refresher, WSU shot 45.8 percent from the floor and made 6 of 15 three-pointers (40 percent) against the Aggies. It committed three turnovers, tying a season-low. While the Shockers should encounter more resistance in MVC games, Marshall liked the look on offense.
“We were much more energetic, we were much more crisp,” he said. “We attacked the basket. We had a lot of quality performances by individuals, which leads to a good team performance.”
Sophomore forward Zach Brown scored 11 points, reaching double figures for the first time since the Valley opener on Dec. 31, and helped shake up the defense with drives to the basket. Several Shockers did the same, some executing the pump fakes that Marshall asked for after a 53-50 loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday. Conner Frankamp made 3 of 5 shots to score nine points.
“You’ve got to pick your spots and when you do it, you’ve got to do it with a vengeance, you’ve got to do it with purpose,” Marshall said. “Zach Brown was under control with his rips to the rim. I liked his motor.”
Missouri State should not present the defensive issues that Northern Iowa and Illinois State did in their recent wins over the Shockers. The Bears allow teams to score 71.6 points in MVC play and rank ninth in the conference by allowing teams to make 36.6 percent of their three-pointers.
at Wichita State
- When: 6:05 p.m. Thursday
- Where: Koch Arena
- Records: MSU 11-15, 7-7 MVC; WSU 19-7, 12-2
- Radio: KEYN, 103.7-FM
- TV: CBS Sports Network
at Wichita State
MSU: The Bears have won three of their past five games, including an 89-85 overtime win over Indiana State on Saturday. They have matched last season’s win total with four regular-season games remaining.… Kendrix averages 20.3 points in his past four games. He is averaging 13.9 points in MVC games, although shooting 38.6 percent from the field.… Miller, a juco transfer, has been named MVC newcomer of the week five times.… Boone scored a career-high 30 points against Indiana State, making 11 of 18 shots and 8 of 12 free throws.… The Bears rank last in the MVC by shooting 67.5 percent from the foul line.… Senior G Dorrian Williams, who started 17 games, is out indefinitely with a knee injury. He has missed the past three games. MSU is also without junior G Austin Ruder, out for the season with a hip injury.…Freshman G Ryan Kreklow, who scored 10 points in the January loss to WSU, is 23 of 54 (42.6 percent) from three-point range in 14 Valley games.
Wichita State: The Shockers have outrebounded MSU in 11 straight games, all victories. Its average rebound margin is plus-13.2 and is 16 or more in four of the past five games. WSU’s 11-game win streak in the series is its longest in the rivalry, led 38-30 by the Shockers.… VanVleet needs 12 assists to reach 600. He is WSU’s career leader, ninth in MVC history.… The Shockers are 32 of 56 from the line in the past four games and have been outscored by 29 points at the line in those games.… Freshman F Markis McDuffie scored 16 points in WSU’s 78-62 win over MSU on Jan. 13 He made 8 of 9 shots and also grabbed nine rebounds. G Conner Frankamp added 14 points, making 4 of 8 threes. WSU held the Bears to 15-of-46 shooting. MSU, however, outscored WSU 26-5 at the line.
RPIs as of Wednesday: MSU 225, WSU 49