Key statistics: The Shockers made 28 of 54 shots and outscored Drake 28-12 in the paint and 24-7 off turnovers.
Records: WSU 18-2, 8-0 MVC; DU 4-16, 1-7
How the game turned: Back to back three-pointers by Tekele Cotton and Ron Baker gave the Shockers a 28-12 lead in the first half. Drake didn’t get closer than 15 the rest of the game.
Stat that shouldn’t surprise you: WSU out-rebounded Drake 31-25 and held center Jacob Enevold to four points and six rebounds. Enevold dented the Shockers for 12 points and 15 rebounds in the first meeting.
Stat that might surprise you: No Bulldog reached double figures in scoring and the starters combined to make 10 of 28 shots, 0 for 4 from three-point range.
Next up: vs. Loyola (13-7, 3-5), 7 p.m. Wednesday (Cox 22)
▪ WSU’s reserves played big minutes (and the Shockers still won by 34), highlighting coach Gregg Marshall’s desire to audition and deepen his bench. If minutes are the gauge (and they usually are), Rashad Kelly (16 minutes), Ria’n Holland (15), Shaq Morris (15) and Zach Brown (11) gained the most credibility in recent practices.
Marshall’s message over the last week or so has been that the reserves shouldn’t be locked into their roles, even on a team that is steaming toward an NCAA Tournament berth.
“Keep pushing for minutes,” Marshall said. “Try to be a part of it. Don’t be content sitting over on the sideline and giving the golf clap to your buddies.”
Center Bush Wamukota is often mentioned by Marshall as one of the reserves making headway and gaining trust.
“I’ve been doing a better job of listening more and being engaged,” Wamukota said. “Effort should not be something you are taught. Effort comes from within you. Every day, if you bring effort in practice, results start to come.”
Wamukota’s jobs are rebounding and defense. He can get on the floor more if he is solid at those facets.
“Rebounding, to me, is an effort thing,” he said. “Rebounds go to the person who wants it more.”
▪ Enevold was never a factor Sunday, a contrast to his double-double effort in the MVC opener. WSU’s big men played much better on Sunday than they did in that 66-58 win and the presence of Morris helped. Morris, who did not play in the first meeting, scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds on Sunday.
“Rauno (Nurger) played a lot in that game, and Rauno doesn’t rebound well,” Marshall said. “He’s got to be a better, stronger, more physical rebounder. Enevold had his way with Darius (Carter) and Rauno and they probably got tired of hearing about it to be honest.”
The Shockers eagerly seized on those words, understandably, as an insult to their MVC dominance.
That’s standard motivational ploy in athletics. WSU didn’t need that jolt to beat Drake. Coaches and players took the gift and ran. In every setting I’ve been around Giacoletti, he is enthusiastic and sincere in his praise for WSU, so I don’t think he is guilty of much more than bad timing and (monumentally) poorly chosen words.
To put the Jan. 7 game in context, his Drake team lost to WSU 66-58 and then lost to Illinois State, which was without two starters, 81-45, a week later. It is easy to see why the Redbirds made an impression.
From WSU’s perspective, he was too impressed.