Score: Wichita State 100, Pittsburg State 56
Key stats: WSU made 10 of 25 threes and committed 14 turnovers. It held the Gorillas to 29.8-percent shooting.
How the game turned: Steals by Tekele Cotton and Malcolm Armstead led to WSU baskets during a first-half run that extended an 18-9 lead to a 24-9 lead.
Records: Exhibition game
- Nick Wiggins could end up being a pivotal figure. He is a significant talent on offense. If he does the other things well enough to get on the floor, he can raise WSU’s ceiling. It might happen next week. It might happen in January. It might happen next season. It’s not surprising for junior college players to take time to adjust. It happened with Joe Ragland. It happened with Ben Smith. Wiggins made all four of his shots, two from behind the arc, to score 13 points in 14 minutes Monday. “He’s got to figure it out,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “He’s got to defensive rebound. He’s got to guard. He’s got to run our stuff. He’s got to know what our defenses are and know what we’re trying to execute offensively. They’re having to think a little bit, probably, more than they’ve ever had to think and play.”
- Even adjusted for NCAA Division II competition, scoring 100 points and committing 14 turnovers while playing 12 players, six of whom made their Shocker debut, has to be a good sign. I expect WSU to face some offensive difficulties after losing scorers such as Ragland, Garrett Stutz and Toure Murry. Perhaps they won’t be as significant as I supposed. The chemistry and flow of the offense seemed excellent for a team breaking in two new point guards and three starters playing dramatically different roles than a season ago.
- Three second-half turnovers might have obscured Armstead’s game. I thought he looked very solid running the offense and defending. He finished with two points, five assists, seven rebounds, four turnovers and four steals in 18 minutes.
- Carl Hall wore goggles. Bob Lutz will write about the goggles for Wednesday’s paper (probably sooner on Kansas.com). Should be entertaining. Hall scored 23 points on -for-7 shooting and 9 of 10 free throws. He didn’t show off increased shooting range, and didn’t need to because he scored easily around the rim. He also had three assists and no turnovers.
- Ron Baker was the only starter to make his Division I debut. He didn’t look the least bit out of place, authoring a chapter on the benefits of redshirting. He scored 17 points on six shots (making 9 of 11 free throws) and grabbed six rebounds. “It was nice to start tonight,” he said. “It’s nice to hear your hometown (Scott City). That kind of means a lot to me. It’s kind of nice, with Carl whispering in your ear here and there when you mess up. He kind of helped me ease into things.”
- Twelve Shockers player and that was with junior forward Chadrack Lufile out with a hyperextended left knee. Marshall said a player needs to redshirt. The best candidate is freshman Derail Green, who played three minutes Monday. Green is an excellent shooter. There doesn’t appear to be many minutes for him on the wing behind players such as Baker, Wessel, Cotton and Wiggins. Marshall won’t play 12 during most games. “Somebody’s going to have to redshirt, probably, if they’re smart,” Marshall said.
Next up: vs. North Carolina Central, 7 p.m. Saturday at Koch Arena