‘We didn’t play well:’ A look behind WSU’s offensive struggles against Kansas State


Sean Marty / The Sunflower

Sophomore Tyson Etienne takes a three-pointer during the game against Kansas State on Dec. 5 inside INTRUST Bank Arena.

The Wichita State offense was its achilles heel in a loss to Kansas State on Sunday, scoring a season-low 59 points. A large part of the offense’s ineffectiveness was a seven-minute stretch where the Shockers were held scoreless. 

The offense has had its fair share of struggles this season, with the team struggling to find a rhythm in the first eight games. WSU has struggled overall with taking tough, contested jump shots and turning the ball over at a high rate.

“We didn’t play well, defensively I felt that we were solid, on offense we weren’t disciplined, we didn’t do a good job, we turned it over too much, we didn’t go inside enough,” head coach Isaac Brown said. “We’ve just got to learn from that loss. Sometimes it takes losing a game in order to get better so hopefully this will help us down the line.”

The Shocker offense was at its best when they were feeding the ball to center Morris Udeze – who finished with a season-high 18 points on Sunday – but they struggled to find Udeze for much of the second half. Udeze’s last shot attempt came with 14:39 left in the game, after he converted a layup.

During WSU’s scoring drought, they settled for jump shots instead of finding Udeze in the post. Brown said it’s important for the offense to find Udeze in the post, especially when the offense is struggling.

“He’s been a problem on the block, we’ve got to go to him a lot more,” Brown said. “When the team is struggling and we’re not running sets for him, a lot of times when we walk the ball up the floor, we run a set for Morris Udeze. We’ve just got to do a better job of getting him the ball on the block.”

Sophomore Tyson Etienne looks down during the final seconds of the game against Kansas State on Dec. 5 inside INTRUST Bank Arena.

Sophomore Tyson Etienne has struggled over the past two games, taking many contested shots, especially from deep. During WSU’s seven-minute scoreless stretch, Etienne went 0-3 from deep and tallied one turnover. Over the past two games, Etienne is shooting 22.2% from the field and is 2-15 from downtown (13.3%).

Brown said Etienne and his teammates need to do a better job of getting open looks and not forcing tough shot attempts.

“We’ve just got to get better shots,” Brown said. “We’ve got to push the ball in transition to try and get easy ones, we’ve got to set more screens for our guys that are shooters. If you’re a shooter and you’re struggling, you’ve got to try and get layups, you’ve got to try and get to the free throw line and see the ball go through the basket.”

Brown said the lack of offensive movement has been key to these struggles. Against KSU, the Shocker offense primarily ran pick and rolls in the halfcourt but Brown said they’ll go away from that in the near future. 

“Going up against a good defensive team like K-State, the ball cannot stick,” Brown said. “You cannot have 10 dribbles and be in the same spot. You have to move it, you’ve got to cut, you’ve got to set more screens, you’ve got to try and get stops and get easy baskets in transition. It’s hard to go against a high major team and have to go at the half court all night long.”

The Shockers will have a chance to show the offensive improvements on Saturday as they take on Norfolk State inside Charles Koch Arena. The Spartans are allowing 62.5 points per game, which is No. 62 in the country, so it’ll be another test for the Shockers offensively.

“Those guys were all locked in, talking about ‘we’re not going to build excuses why we lost, we didn’t play’,” Brown said. “We’ve got to get better every game, can’t take bad shots, can’t turn it over, can’t go eight minutes without scoring. That cost us that last game.”