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Shockers are regular season ready post Canada

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Before last Saturday’s exhibition against Augusta and the coming season opener against South Carolina State, Wichita State opened its new era of basketball with four games in Canada in the beginning of August.

Their first game was a one-sided affair of 107-58 against the University of Quebec-Montreal. In 25 minutes Frankamp led the team with 19 points and shared the point guard spot with newcomer Daishon Smith.

The Shocker defense stifled the Citadins early, leading to a 54-18 halftime score. The Citadins committed 30 turnovers and shot just better than 32 percent from the field.

In the second game, the Shockers met their toughest opponent of the tour in Ottawa against Carleton University. The Ravens have a reputation of upending top sports programs. Since 2012, the Ravens are 17-10 against Division One schools in Canada and have a list of triumphs that include Wisconsin, Memphis and Baylor.

The team’s youth showed in their 100-75 loss to Carleton. The Shockers were plagued by committing 22 fouls. Morris was limited to playing five minutes because of foul trouble. The Shockers were out-rebounded 38-27, a statistic that Marshall and his physical-focused play hopes to dominate.

“We definitely learned that no matter where we go or where we are we always have a target on our back because of what we have on our chest – the Shockers,” said Morris.

The Shockers kept the game close until the third quarter when Carleton broke away and out scored Wichita State 29-14. Zach Brown led the team with 17 points, while Shamet added 13 points and two assists. Newcomer Darral Willis added eight points in his second game and first loss as a Shocker.

“We had film the next day and we went over the things that we did wrong. We came out the next game trying not to do the things we did wrong the last game,” Willis said.

The Shockers were able to wipe away the pain of the loss with their next game, but not without drama against McGill University. The Shockers trailed in the final minute of the third period 68-56. In the fourth quarter, the Shockers outscored the Redmen 29-13 to scrape together a 77-71 win in Montreal.

The defense highlighted this Shockers victory. The newly seen defensive press caused seven McGill turnovers in the fourth quarter. Without the defensive prowess of Baker and VanVleet, the Shockers may be looking for new ways to pressure opposing teams and cause turnovers. The press found success in Montreal.

The Redmen were no easy competition, last year finishing seventh in the Canadian top-10 poll. Zach Brown led the team, again, with 14 points with four other Shockers scoring in double digits.

The last game the Shockers strayed away from universities and played a team with a collection of professional talent. The IndiSport All-Stars are a team of professional Canadian players that are either overseas or in the NBL.

The Shockers ended the trip with a 94-79 victory. Morris stayed out of foul trouble long enough to have his biggest game of the tour with 17 points. Shamet led the team with 18 points by making seven of his 12 shots.

“I think [playing in Canada] helped exponentially, being a young group. Getting that game experience before playing games that actually matter,” said Shamet. “It was big for us to get comfortable in game situations.”

It’s noteworthy to add that the Shockers got a taste of quicker, more physical play in Canada where they play with 24-second shot clock. Freshmen Austin Reaves and C.J. Keyser did not play in Canada due to injury, but are now back in the line-up and played in the Augusta exhibition game.

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