▪ The Bears are 0-2 since guard Marcus Marshall was suspended (vs. Evansville) and then left the team (before Northern Iowa). With Marshall, the Bears struggled to score.
Without him, those struggles are going to get worse, at least in many games. They had the misfortune of playing the Panthers, one of the nation’s best defensive teams, with little prep time post-Marshall. While MSU made 6 of 16 threes, it shot 36.8 percent overall in a 60-46 road loss. In the two post-Marshall games, the Bears are shooting 36.5 percent and 8 of 29 behind the arc.
Marshall averaged 19.5 points and made 45.6 percent of his threes. Austin Ruder, who burned the Shockers last season in JQH Arena, is the only remaining Bear shooting better than 30 percent from three. Inside scoring, minimally, comes from Camyn Boone (7.1 points on 57.5 percent shooting) and Tyler McCullough (4.4 on 45.6).
Remember, the Bears are also missing injured swingman Ron Mvouika, a scorer who is out with a back injury. MSU looks considerably different with Marshall and a healthy Mvouika.
According to kenpom.com, MSU ranks No. 314 nationally in two-point shooting percentage at 43 percent. The Bears are solid from three and good at the foul line (an MVC-leading 76.6 percent).
▪ Regardless, the Shockers are on alert for a team ready to make changes and throw something new at them.
“They could try to mix up their defenses, play a different tempo, who knows?” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said.
WSU guard Fred VanVleet expects to see a united team trying to make up for the loss of Marshall’s skill with tenacity.
“If we lost one of our best guys, knock on wood, we would rally around him and we would come out even harder,” he said. “If anything, we’re more on our toes with their backs-against-the-wall mentality.”
▪ Bears guard Dorrian Williams has picked up some of the load after Marshall. He scored in double figures in four of his past six games, boosting his scoring avearage to 8.0. Mostly a passer, he needs to score more for the Bears. Freshman Chris Kendrix moved into the starting lineup and is 5 of 8 from the field with 12 points in those two starts. He scored 10 against Evansville.
▪ Down 19 at JQH Arena, the Shockers launched the program’s greatest comeback.
▪ Would a change in the shot clock help scoring? MVC coaches weigh in.
▪ Springfield News-Leader: Bears know they let a big one get away last season.