Score: WSU 75, Iowa 63
Key stats: Iowa shot 1 of 7 from three-point range after making 7 of 8 in the first half. The Shockers outscored Iowa 30-6 in the paint and 11-0 on fast-break points.
How the game turned: A 13-2 run by WSU to start the second half gave the Shockers the lead for good. Malcolm Armstead made back-to-back threes to highlight the burst.
Records: WSU 6-0, Iowa 5-1
- The Shockers won’t move into the top 25 after this week. They got 13 votes in the Associated Press poll and none in the ESPN poll (voted on by coaches) on Monday. That’s too far a jump in one week. But the Shockers will get people’s attention with a win at VCU and a win over Iowa as part of the 6-0 start. I give VCU an above-average chance of helping WSU’s NCAA resume in March. DePaul – no chance. Iowa – fair chance. Lots of work to do before then, of course.
- Cleanthony Early is turning into a significant offensive force after Wednesday’s 25-point effort. What impresses me is his willingness to do the less glamorous items – get in a defensive stance, hustle after shooters, box out, rebound, etc. He appears to realize the importance of those moves. Not every scorer figures that out so quickly. “I don’t think it ends here, and I want to go to the next level,” he said. “I understand those are the things you are going to have to do. You’re going to have to get low, play defense, rebound, dive for loose balls. Whatever it takes, not just to get to the next level, but to win here.”
- WSU guard Malcolm Armstead did a number on Iowa freshman starter Mike Gesell, who played 12 minutes and scored two points and committed three turnovers. He scored 19 points in Tuesday’s win over Western Kentucky. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery took him out to protect him. “He’s going against a veteran guy, a fifth-year guy who’s really quick and really good,” McCaffery said. “Whenever you take the floor you respect your opponent, I think he respected him too much. He needed to attack a little bit more.”
- The Shockers can foul and foul and it never seems to affect their rotation because of their depth. But they can’t go on like this. Iowa outscored them 31-22 at the foul line. DePaul outscored them 27-15. Shooting and making more free throws than opponents is one of the top indicators of a winning team. WSU can still be aggressive and play good defense while eliminating some of the reaching fouls that are a problem. WSU must stop puttingt teams in the bonus and double-bonus for long stretches.
- WSU’s bench scored 80 points (with Early contributing 33) in the two games in Mexico. Beyond Early, Tekele Cotton gave the Shockers a big lift. He scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds with three steals. Nick Wiggins played his best game as a Shocker, flashing his speed and leaping ability to score two fastbreak baskets on assists from Armstead. When Demetric Williams struggled, freshman guard Fred VanVleet ran the team effectively. He is getting a fast education in dealing with pressure defense and looks better each game.
Next up: vs. Tulsa, 7 p.m., Nov. 28 (Kansas 22)