The exhibition feel of Wichita State’s summer ended as soon as the Shockers fell behind Carleton University on Sunday, first plagued by turnovers and then poor rebounding.
Shocker coach Gregg Marshall hates both those issues and so things got serious immediately in the Ravens’ Nest, with about 1,500 vocal fans. Marshall even got a technical early in the foul-fest, earned by telling a referee to “run the court.”
For most of the game, he directed his disappointment at the Shockers. Carleton defeated WSU 100-75 by taking the role of aggressor early and beating the Shockers with a blend of shooting, execution and a packed-in defense that allowed few driving lanes.
“We learned that, as of right now, we’re really not where we need to be,” WSU junior Zach Brown said. “Defensively, offensively, in a physical mind-set. When situations get tough, you have to fight through adversity and that’s not what we did today.”
Carleton specializes in just this kind of Canadian experience, luring NCAA teams into its gym and exposing their summer weak spots. The Ravens are the dominant team in Canada’s college ranks and their roster is stocked with fourth- and fifth-year players. They ran their plays to perfection, sliced up WSU with the pick and roll and used FIBA’s 24-second clock and rules allowing physical play to their advantage.
“They were even better than I thought,” Marshall said. “And we were not quite as good as I thought. It’s good to find that out on Aug. 7.”
In recent seasons, Carleton knocked off Memphis, Baylor and Valparaiso. It can add WSU to the list with a superb effort that made the Shockers look more disjointed than they really are. The Shockers didn’t scout Carleton’s offense nor did they spend much time prepping for the FIBA rules.
“We did zero scouting and they carved us up with their sets,” Marshall said. “Put some of this on me. I didn’t scout the team and I didn’t do anything with the 24-second clock.”
Those behind-the-scene reasons for defeat didn’t matter much to the Shockers. They also knew the Ravens pushed them around mentally and physically.
“They played a lot more with a will to win,” Shamet said. “They out-competed us and beat us to the glass.”
Foul trouble limited WSU center Shaq Morris to five minutes, robbing the Shockers of their best scoring threat in the lane and a potential calming influence. Guard Peyton Allen, who spent the summer working his way into the rotation, played three minutes because of foul trouble.
Without Morris, WSU relied on jump shots and rarely scored in the lane. Without Allen and injured wing Markis McDuffie, the Shockers lacked options at shooting guard and small forward. Brown led WSU with 17 points and Shamet added 13. WSU shot 40.7 percent from the floor and missed 16 of 21 three-pointers.
Carleton made 10 of 28 threes and 35 of 64 shots (54.7 percent). Ryan Ejim led the Ravens with 18 points, making 8 of 11 shots. Connor Wood made 4 of 7 threes and added 17 points.
The Shockers took too much time getting into their offense and found themselves rushed by the 24-second clock. Carleton’s penetration and passing turned inexperienced Shocker defenders into hesitant athletes who too often watched the action.
Carleton out-rebounded WSU 38-27, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. Eight of those offensive rebounds set the tone for Carleton’s physical play in the first quarter.
“We understand now that despite their lack of size, they’re tough dudes that really do the right things,” Marshall said. “They just kicked us, man for man.”
Carleton seized the game with a frantic third quarter in which it broke a 47-all tie and outscored WSU 29-14. The Ravens made 4 of 7 three-pointers in the quarter. The Shockers missed 12 of their 17 shots in the quarter and fell behind 76-61. Carleton’s Kaza Kajamie-Keane converted a three-point play early in the third quarter to start a 16-4 run that unraveled the Shockers.
Carleton, which defeated Stetson 85-76 on Friday, led 26-20 after the first quarter. WSU committed six turnovers, one when Daishon Smith didn’t get the ball over half-court in the eight seconds allowed with the 24-second clock and one when Brown stepped out of bound. Carleton out-rebounded WSU 12-6, grabbing eight offensive rebounds.
The Ravens extended their lead to 35-26 in the second quarter and led 39-31 before the Shockers rallied. WSU’s presses took the Ravens out of their flow and the Shockers tightened up their defense against the pick and roll. A three-point play by Brown, after a Carleton turnover, cut the lead to 39-34. The Ravens committed four turnovers in their next five possessions. While WSU didn’t capitalize on most, it turned the tide for the rest of the half.
The Shockers traveled to Canada for just this type of experience. Sunday’s lesson came with more pain and more baggage then they are accustomed to enduring.