Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the basket.
Wichita State bludgeoned South Carolina State Friday night, but Shocker guards Landry Shamet, Conner Frankamp and Daishon Smith weren’t in on the fun.
The trio combined to shoot 2-for-11, including “0-fers” from Frankamp and Smith. Gregg Marshall put a positive spin on it following the opening win:
“Neither [Frankamp] nor Daishon were able to get a basket to go down, but I thought they were both effective in their own way.”
It was a different story against Long Beach State, as Marshall’s backcourt burst into the scoring column in a 92-55 win. Shamet (12 points) and Frankamp (15 points) carried Wichita State in the first half with Shaq Morris glued to the bench in foul trouble.
Smith (11 points, 4 assists) went on a personal 8-0 spurt in the second half amid a torrid 33-6 Shocker run. Marshall praised the JuCo transfer during a postgame interview with the ESPN3 broadcast.
“Daishon really gave us a spark with his defense. I thought he was tremendous.”
A larger-than-normal magnifying class is trained on the Shocker backcourt as they step into the shoes of Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker. Wichita State’s quality frontcourt depth shone against South Carolina State, and the guards made their own statement against a talented LBSU team.
A night like this confirms - in decisive fashion - why the Shockers are favored to win the MVC, especially in light of an underwhelming opening weekend overall from the league.
For LBSU’s part, it ultimately fell victim to a rough shooting night of its own.
After a competitive first half, the Shockers went under screens and dared LBSU to make three pointers that never went down. For the game, the 49ers went just 2-for-20 while Wichita State buried half of its 20 three point attempts.
Long Beach State ice cold as the WSU run has extended to 18-0. 61-38 with 11:56 to go— LBSU Mens Basketball (@LBSUhoops) November 14, 2016
Starting guards Justin Bibbins and Evan Payne combined to score just eight points on 3-for-24 shooting, including 0-for-9 from deep. Both players will frustrate defenses in the Big West, but the 49ers can’t weather an off night from the pair against a team like Wichita State.
Depth seemed to become the focus for Dan Monson as the run put the game out of doubt. Bibbins and Payne stayed on the bench as it mounted, with freshmen Loren Jackson (16 minutes) and Jordan Griffin (10 minutes), as well as sophomore Noah Blackwell (11 minutes) getting minutes.
Monson’s strategy is no secret. As always, LBSU zig zags the country playing a horrendous schedule, with UNC, Louisville and UCLA up next. The depth developed and experienced gained during this stretch will make the 49ers a strong contender in the Big West, and a team no one will want to play in March.
Marshall told the broadcast after the game he had been, “scared to death” of the 49ers.
After how his guards played, MVC coaches might have a similar feeling about the Shockers.