Shockers ‘taking it a little more personal’ to bounce back with a win over Red Wolves

No. 11 Wichita State defeated Arkansas State 89-80.


Brian Hayes

Wichita State guard Landry Shamet drives to the basket against the Arkansas State Red Wolves during the second half in Koch arena

No. 11 Wichita State was on track to pick up their second-straight loss to an un-ranked team.

The game ultimately came down to the last five minutes. Five minutes was what determined The Shockers’ fate.

Late in the second half, there were three technicals—one on Arkansas State’s coach, one on senior center Shaquille Morris, and one on Head Coach Gregg Marshall.

“I reminded people to not get caught up in everything going on,” sophomore guard Landry Shamet said. “You know in a close game the last five minutes are going to be a grind.”

Wichita State defeated Arkansas State by nine after what seemed to be the longest game of the season.

“I think we got a really poised group,” Shamet said. “We have five guys on the floor that are going to stay locked in and do what you have to do for the remainder of the game.”

Senior guard Conner Frankamp was out with a migraine, leaving the starting spot for sophomore guard Austin Reaves to fill.

Reaves started the game and came out and scored all of his nine points in the first few minutes of the game. Knocking down two threes in a row, he contributed to The Shockers’ early lead.

That lead diminished when Arkansas State’s offense sparked.

Arkansas State’s offense seemed to be unstoppable during the first half. Making 10 threes and shooting 62 percent. With 50 points, The Red Wolves lead The Shockers by six at the half.

“They’re a smaller team. They don’t have traditional big guys,” Marshall said. “They were giving us a hard time guarding on the perimeter.”

The Red Wolves’ relatively smaller lineup forced The Shockers to go into a three-guard lineup. The three-guard lineup did work out well for Wichita State’s offense.

“For attacking that zone, I thought we needed three guards that can get in the crevasses and gaps and penetrate and kick, or score themselves,” Marshall said.

Despite Wichita State’s offense clicking, the defense was the main downfall for The Shockers for the second game in a row.

“I think Zach Brown said at half time: ‘y’all want to be known as the best offensive team in WSU history or worst defensive team?’ and I think that’s a really good point,” Shamet said. “I don’t think any of those guys in there want to be like that.”

After the half, Wichita State didn’t change much to their defense, except for taking things “more personal.”

“We didn’t change anything [about our defense],” Shamet said. “It was just sitting down, wanting to guard, taking it a little more personal, I think…and a little more intensity, which we need to do from minute one.”

The biggest  momentum change was after a defensive stop where Shamet passed to Kelly for a dunk—bringing all of Koch Arena to their feet.

“That was a tremendous play,” Marshall said.

Wichita State was able to hold Arkansas State to 35.7 percent on field goals in the second half, allowing them to push ahead for the win.

Junior guard Samajae Haynes-Jones, coming off from an illness, was the leading scorer with 27 points.

“I’m getting healthy and staying out there,” Haynes-Jones said. “I felt good out there and played as hard as I could.”

WSU finishes non-conference play Friday against Florida Gulf Coast. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. and airs on CBS Sports Network.