Shockwaves

Day After: Wichita State 74, Illinois State 58

Ron Baker is already making his presence felt in St. Louis.
Ron Baker is already making his presence felt in St. Louis. Courtesy photo

Key statistics: Wichita State forced 17 turnovers and scored 24 points off them. All those easy points energized the crowd (like it needed much help) and beat down the Redbirds. In the first meeting, the Shockers let the Redbirds pass and move a little too freely.

Things changed in Koch Arena, helping WSU hold Illinois State to 19-of-50 shooting.

“Our energy on the ball was a lot better than it was up there… we forced them into tough decisions,” WSU senior Ron Baker said. “Any time you can do that, it puts the offense on their heels a little bit and favors the defense.”

How the game turned: The Shockers showed off their depth with a 17-4 run after Baker went to the bench with his second foul.

The key play was Evan Wessel ripping the ball from Redbirds guard Paris Lee, giving it to Fred VanVleet, who lobbed to Markis McDuffie for a dunk.

The Redbirds, down 32-24, called timeout. Two more turnovers by Lee led to two jumpers by Anton Grady and a 36-24 lead.

VanVleet’s long three made it a 15-point lead and the Redbirds weren’t much of a factor from there, giving up a 17-0 run after trailing 26-24 with 7:11 to play in the first half.

“A 17-0 run with five turnovers in six possessions: It felt like 10,” Redbirds coach Dan Muller said. “They scored in transition and got the crowd going. We had guys during that stretch trying to do some things and lost a little discipline when we saw adversity. When you do that, bad things happen and they certainly happened to us at the end of the first half.”

Lee finished with two assists and three turnovers, along with six points on 2-of-10 shooting. In the January meeting, he had 19 points.

“Paris Lee didn’t kill us like he did the first time,” VanVleet said. “I took a lot of responsibilty for that and tried to make some changes.”

Records: ISU 18-13, 12-6 MVC; WSU 23-7, 16-2

Stat that shouldn’t surprise you: Grady made 6 of 9 shots and is 36 of 58 in his past 10 games (62.1 percent). He is making a killing off 15-foot jumpers and hasn’t taken a three-pointer since Feb. 3.

Stat that might surprise you: The Shockers led by as many as 25 despite making 6 of 27 three-pointers. WSU is shooting 31.9 percent from three-point range in its past 10 games.

From 2016 senior day victory over Illinois State. (Feb. 27, 2016)

Rotation watch: Rashard Kelly scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds in 16 minutes. His usefulness is growing as he cuts down on turnovers (he hasn’t had a multi-turnover game since Feb. 3) and three-point shots (none since Feb. 6).

He is also an underrated defender who seems to be in the right place at the right time to help quite often.

Conner Frankamp scored eight points off the bench, including a nice drive to the basket. There will be a time — perhaps against Northern Iowa on Saturday — when Frankamp can play a key role with his shooting.

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall talks about Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker, Evan Wessel, Bush Wamukota and Anton Grady in a press conference after the Shockers beat Illinois State on February 27, 2016. (video by Jaime Green)

Why they’re All-Americans: The description I got of the emotional state of Baker, VanVleet and Wessel before the game was “Three dudes who want to win a game.”

That’s why the Shockers are 55-4 against MVC teams the past three seasons. Those three allow very few ups and downs. That consistency and focus will be missed.

▪  Here is my All-MVC ballot:

I am not allowed to vote for Wichita State players. Each school gets four representatives (coach, media relations, broadcaster, beat writer) and assorted TV types such as Mark Adams get a vote. Adams has vowed to split his Player of the Year vote between Baker and VanVleet, which the MVC’s Internet ballot doesn’t allow.

If I could vote for Shockers, I would add VanVleet and Baker to the All-MVC team, make VanVleet the Player of the Year, Baker Defensive Player of the Year and Marshall Coach of the Year.

McDuffie would be my Freshman of the Year. He is a good candidate for Newcomer of the Year, but I would stick with Missouri State’s Dequon Miller, who had a harder job and performed well.

I think VanVleet will win POY easily. It is, as Adams, coach Gregg Marshall and fans will argue, virtually impossible to separate VanVleet and Baker. You can make an argument for both or either (and don’t short-change a superb season by Evansville’s Egidijus Mockevicius). If forced to choose, I would go with VanVleet and point to November as the evidence. On this roster, which still lacks a backup point guard, his value is unsurpassed.

SIU’s Barry Hinson orchestrated an impressive turnaround and will get support for Coach of the Year. It usually goes to the champion (only three time since 1990 has it not), so Marshall may be in good shape to win it for the fourth time in five seasons. Drake’s Maury John is the only coach to win it four times.

While Hinson deserves a great deal of credit, in my mind a four-game lead in the standings and a tough non-conference schedule trump the vote for Marshall.

Mockevicius may win Defensive Player of the Year after leading the MVC in rebounds and blocks for a strong defensive team and that is a solid vote. I would choose Baker because he is the best defender on an elite defensive team, currently ranked No. 1 in the nation by Ken Pomeroy, 65 spots ahead of the Aces.

The Wichita Eagle's Paul Suellentrop and Bob Lutz discuss WSU's big win over Illinois State in the regular-season finale.

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM BALLOT

1

#55 Egidijus Mockevicius - Center - Evansville

2

#31 DJ Balentine - Guard - Evansville

3

#44 DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell - Guard - Illinois State

4

#25 Anthony Beane - Guard - Southern Illinois

5

#11 Wes Washpun - Guard - Northern Iowa

6

#1 Paris Lee - Guard - Illinois State

7

#3 Jaylon Brown - Guard - Evansville

8

#5 Matt Bohannon - Guard - Northern Iowa

9

#23 Deontae Hawkins - Forward - Illinois State

10

#10 Mislav Brzoja - Guard - Evansville

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM BALLOT

1

#23 Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye - Guard - Bradley

2

#5 Obediah Church - Forward - Missouri State

3

#13 Luuk van Bree - Forward - Bradley

4

#11 Jarred Dixon - Guard - Missouri State

5

#44 Dominik Olejniczak - Center - Drake

ALL-NEWCOMER TEAM

1

#4 Dequon Miller - Guard - Missouri State

2

#1 Mike Rodriguez - Guard - Southern Illinois

3

#5 Leo Vincent - Guard - Southern Illinois

4

#0 Everett Clemons - Guard - Indiana State

5

#23 Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye - Guard - Bradley

LARRY BIRD PLAYER OF THE YEAR BALLOT

1

#55 Egidijus Mockevicius - Center - Evansville

2

#31 DJ Balentine - Guard - Evansville

3

#25 Anthony Beane - Guard - Southern Illinois

COACH OF THE YEAR BALLOT

1

Barry Hinson - Coach - Southern Illinois

2

Ben Jacobson - Coach - Northern Iowa

3

Marty Simmons - Coach - Evansville

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR BALLOT

1

#4 Dequon Miller - Guard - Missouri State

2

#5 Leo Vincent - Guard - Southern Illinois

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR BALLOT

1

#5 Obediah Church - Forward - Missouri State

2

#13 Luuk van Bree - Forward - Bradley

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR BALLOT

1

#10 Mislav Brzoja - Guard - Evansville

2

#5 Leo Vincent - Guard - Southern Illinois

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM BALLOT

1

#55 Egidijus Mockevicius - Center - Evansville

2

#20 Jeremy Morgan - Guard - Northern Iowa

3

#3 Jaylon Brown - Guard - Evansville

4

#11 Wes Washpun - Guard - Northern Iowa

5

#1 Paris Lee - Guard - Illinois State

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR BALLOT

1

#55 Egidijus Mockevicius - Center - Evansville

2

#20 Jeremy Morgan - Guard - Northern Iowa

Next up: vs. Bradley or Loyola, noon Friday (FSKC)

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

  Comments