Shockwaves

Day After: Wichita State 71, New Mexico State 41

Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet beats New Mexico State’s Matt Taylor to a loose ball during the first half on Monday at Koch Arena.
Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet beats New Mexico State’s Matt Taylor to a loose ball during the first half on Monday at Koch Arena. The Wichita Eagle

Key statistics: The Shockers forced 20 turnovers and allowed the Aggies to make 16 baskets. Add the Aggies to this list.

Season

Score

FG

Turnovers

Assists

FG%

2013-14

WSU 93, Emporia State 50

19

24

8

36.5

2013-14

WSU 83, Drake 54

18

20

5

41.9

2014-15

WSU 71, Memphis 56

20

24

4

40.8

2014-15

WSU 74, Drake 40

15

17

8

38.5

2014-15

WSU 78, Missouri State 35

13

16

6

25

2014-15

WSU 56, SIU 45

16

18

5

34

2015-16

WSU 68, Saint Louis 53

16

18

13

44.4

2015-16

WSU 67, Utah 50

14

19

5

41.2

2015-16

WSU 67, Drake 47

16

18

10

37.2

2015-16

WSU 85, Bradley 58

17

23

8

37.8

2015-16

WSU 88, Bradley 54

18

20

11

43.9

2015-16

WSU 78, Evansville 65

16

18

8

34.8

2015-16

WSU 76, SIU 55

19

22

7

30.6

2015-16

WSU 74, Drake 48

11

15

4

25

2015-16

WSU 71, New Mexico State 41

16

20

3

40

The Shockers entered Monday’s game losers of two of three, somewhat reminiscent of a three-game slide in 2013 that famously spawned the “Play Angry” talk from Antoine Carr and Xavier McDaniel.

The important difference is that the 2013 team hit a rough spell because its defense faded. The losing streak started with a 68-55 home loss to Indiana State in which the Sycamores made 53.3 percent of their shots. Two close losses followed, one in which last-place Southern Illinois made 7 of 16 three-pointers and won on a disputed goal-tending call. SIU won 64-62 after trailing 33-17.

The two recent losses came despite strong defensive efforts. WSU held Illinois State to 27.3-percent shooting on its home court. It held Northern Iowa to 15 points in the second half and 41.7-percent shooting. WSU didn’t lose because of a lack of effort or focus. Shot-making can come and go. As long as the Shockers are willing to defend, they will normally be in good shape.

The 2013 team figured that out and finished in an acceptable manner. This team doesn’t need a lesson on defense.

How the game turned: Anton Grady’s 6-0 run gave WSU a 26-18 lead. The Aggies declined to guard him around the foul line, no doubt fearing Fred VanVleet’s ability to drive. Grady made two jumpers and two free throws to start the deciding run.

Then VanVleet scored the next eight points for the Shockers on their way to a 37-24 halftime lead.

Records: New Mexico State 18-9, WSU 19-7

Stat that shouldn’t surprise you: WSU forced 20 turnovers and scored 23 points off those turnovers. The Aggies are one of the most turnover-prone teams in the country. WSU’s 17-possession edge due to turnovers helped it take 19 more shots than the Aggies.

Stat that might surprise you: WSU made 11 of 20 foul shots to continue a recent slump. WSU is shooting an acceptable 70.5 percent from the line this season and 71.3 percent in MVC games. In its past four games, it is 30 of 51 (58.8 percent).

Fred VanVleet, WSU’s best foul shooter (besides Conner Frankamp), isn’t getting to the line much recently. He is 5 of 6 in those four games.

Freshman watch: Markis McDuffie scored five points in 14 minutes and missed his three-pointer.

Rotation watch: Grady came off the bench to score 10 points on a 4-of-7 shooting. He is 17 of 23 from the field in his past five games. He played 20 minutes and fouled once, which might be a more important stat.

Frankamp scored nine points to match his home-arena high. His continued willingness to drive and bend defenses in ways other than with the threat of his shot seems crucial for the rest of the season. He should be able to be the guy to make defense pay for devoting attention to VanVleet and Ron Baker.

Next up: vs. Missouri State (11-15, 7-7 MVC), 6 p.m. Thursday (CBS Sports Network) — The Bears are coming off an 89-85 overtime win against Indiana State. Forward Camyn Boone made 11 of 18 shots to score 30 points.

Sophomore forward Chris Kendrix, who didn’t start and played 17 ineffective minutes in an earlier loss to the Shockers, is back in the starting lineup and playing well. He scored 21, 21, 20 and 19 points in the past four games while averaging 7.5 rebounds.

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop

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