Stevenson, McDuffie continue to struggle late in games and away from home


Joseph Barringhaus

Head Coach Gregg Marshall holds his head after a bad pass during their game against Southern Miss on Dec. 15, 2018 at INTRUST Bank Arena.

Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall was nothing more than puzzled after Saturday’s roller coaster win against Southern Mississippi.

“I’m glad we survived,” Marshall said. “I was very disappointed in the way we played down the stretch in the last 11 minutes, after we get the 16-point lead. It was just bad basketball.”

The Shockers’ play as of late has been a tale of two halves. Saturday night was no different.

Markis McDuffie, Samajae Haynes-Jones, and Jaime Echenique led the Shockers to an eight-point lead at halftime, and the Shockers started the second-half hot as well, ultimately reaching a 17-point lead.

With three-minutes remaining in the game, and after a 17-3 run by the Golden Eagles late, the Shocker lead stood at just two points. Ultimately, Southern Mississippi took the lead, which the Shockers took right back.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State senior Samajae Haynes-Jones goes for a layup during their game on Dec. 15, 2018 at INTRUST Bank Arena.

With a three-point lead, Haynes-Jones fouled Tyree Griffin with 0.7 seconds left in the game. Griffin went down injured on the play and was unable to shoot the free-throws. Leonard Harper-Baker shot the foul-shots and missed all three.

WSU survived, winning 63-60. Echenique, Haynes-Jones, and McDuffie scored 45 of WSU’s 63 points. 

“We made a couple plays at the end,” Marshall said. “It was tremendous resolve by Doc and his group. Obviously, we won the game, but it just didn’t feel like a win the way we played.”

Marshall lauded freshman guard Erik Stevenson.

With 4:37 left in the game, Stevenson made his only shot of the game, a three-pointer, that helped the Shockers lengthen their lead. Off of a missed McDuffie free-throw, the freshman tipped the ball out to Ricky Torres for an extra possession that was instantly viewed as crucial.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State guard Erik Stevenson drives the basket during their game against Southern Miss on Dec. 15, 2018 at INTRUST Bank Arena.

“Thank goodness he hit that one,” Marshall said. “It was a really big dagger. We were sputtering. I think we had gone 10 or 11 possessions without scoring and then he makes the big one.”

Stevenson had another game to forget. He finished with just five points on 1 for 9 shooting, including 1 of 6 from three-point range.

“His first two shots in the first half were three of four feet off, they weren’t even close,” Marshall said. “I really don’t have the answer, but I’ve seen him shoot enough and I recruited him because I’ve seen him shoot in AAU and high school, the guy can really shoot the ball.”

“For whatever reason he goes 1-of-9 and 1-of-6 for three.”

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State Erik Stevenson takes a shot during their game against Southern Miss on Dec. 15, 2018 at INTRUST Bank Arena.

Saturday’s struggles aren’t Stevenson’s first while being away from Charles Koch Arena. Coming into the game with the Golden Eagles, Stevenson was shooting 18 percent from three-point range on 29 attempts in games outside of Koch Arena.

In the second half of games, home and away, Stevenson was shooting 16 percent from behind the arc. In the last five-minutes of games, or what some call “crunch-time,” he is shooting just 16.6 percent, and 14 percent from deep.

Against Southern Mississippi, he was no different. The freshman from Washington was 1 for 4 from the field in the second half, with all of his shots coming from behind the arc.

On another note, Stevenson isn’t the only Shocker to struggle late in games. 

McDuffie, who has also shared struggles during crunch time finding his shot, didn’t factor in much during the late game stretch against the Golden Eagles. The senior attempted no shots in the final five minutes, recorded one rebound, and split a pair of free-throws.

With 10 games down the hatch, the senior forward has only attempted 14 shots in the last five-minutes of games.

McDuffie finished tied with Echenique for the team lead with points scored. They had 17 points each.

The Shockers improved its record to two games above .500 on the season and has its second two-game winning streak this year.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State junior Ricky Torres helps up senior Markis McDuffie during their game on Dec. 15, 2018 at INTRUST Bank Arena.