In a game where the score was a combined 51 points in the first half, the Wichita State Shockers forces its opponents into bad decisions and shots. It was 26-25 in favor of the Tennessee Volunteers at the end of the first period, but that’s okay, Wichita State has trailed in five of its nine wins at the break this season.
The Shockers live, breath and die by its pressure defense and three-point shooting. After a three-of-eight shooting performance from behind the arc, the Shockers needed to change up its offensive style for the second half — and they did.
Wichita State did what their motto, “Play Angry,” said; they played angry. Darius Carter was the angriest of them all. Carter had 11 rebounds off the bench and with his stellar play in the first half, got to start in the second half. Not only was he grabbing rebounds left and right, he was playing the role of defensive anchor. The physical play allowed the guard-heavy Shockers to be aggressive on defense.
If the offense matched the defense, the Shockers could have won by 20 points. Instead, they only scored 70 total points. Luckily the defense helped out the sloppy offense and held the Vols to 61.
Coach Gregg Marshall loves to press in the backcourt and be physical to forwards and centers, his Shockers portrayed that style against the Volunteers.
Despite only having eight turnovers, the Volunteers looked like a mid-major team against the Goliath of all the mid-majors this season. Shooting eight of 15 from the foul line can kill a team’s offense, and Tennessee did just that; shot around 60 percent from the line. Tennessee looked at the rim like there was a clear lid over it; nothing would go in despite the constant changing of offensive styles.
Tennessee Volunteers’ Jordan McRae was the leading scorer in the game with 26 points. However, he shot poorly from the field, proving that sloppy offense caters to the Shockers’ way.
A 16-5 run put the game on ice as the Shockers won in a physically demanding game led by Carter and leading scorer Tekele Cotton. Cotton led Wichita State to its first ever 10-0 start to a season with his 19 points and four assists.
John Lloyd is a PAC-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII