It was an afternoon of air balls, contested shots and ugly offense, which led to Wichita State’s first blowout loss of the season.
Oklahoma disrupted what Wichita State wanted to do from the opening tip and made life difficult on the Shockers for the entire 40 minutes of OU’s 80-48 victory on Saturday afternoon at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
It wasn’t only the worst offensive performance by WSU basketball in the Gregg Marshall era, it was the worst performance, at least by an efficiency standpoint, by WSU since Ken Pomeroy started tracking the metric in 2002.
WSU shot 24.2 percent (15 of 63) from the field, 18.5 percent (5 of 27) on three-pointers) and committed 15 turnovers to register 0.65 points per possession. For perspective, WSU’s previous low came in the 2008-09 season in a 58-50 loss to Georgetown when WSU scored 0.78 points per possession. The Shockers had only dipped below 0.80 PPP four times in Marshall’s 12 seasons.
OU (8-1) extended its winning streak to four games, while the loss snapped the two-game streak by WSU (4-4).
Markis McDuffie led WSU with 19 points on 17 shots and a team-high seven rebounds. No one else scored more than eight points.
Neither team responded well to the 11 a.m. start time, as the first four minutes saw the teams miss 12 of 14 shots and commit seven turnovers. That set the tone, at least for WSU, for the rest of the game, which did little to generate excitement for the WSU fans who nearly equaled the OU fans in attendance.
The 9-0 run WSU reeled off in the first half to tie OU at 15 with 8:39 remaining was about as good as it got for the Shockers. McDuffie scored on a put-back and a three-pointer to highlight the run, but that was as offensively potent as the Shockers would be when the game was still undecided.
Almost none of WSU’s sets produced clean looks. Either a player would grow impatient and rush a shot early or OU’s switch-everything defense grinded WSU down to late in the shot clock and force a contested shot.
For the game’s first 13 minutes, McDuffie was the only WSU player who made a field goal. Freshman Erik Stevenson provided a jolt off the bench, finishing an athletic layup over the defense and connecting on a pair of three-pointers, but that was the only support WSU’s offense received in the first half.
The rest of the Shockers combined to miss 13 of 14 shots. WSU made 28.1 percent of its shots and committed 10 turnovers. The 0.71 points per possession WSU logged in the first half was the offense’s second-worst performance in a half this season.
The offensive troubles overshadowed a defensive effort that failed to accomplish its main priority: guard the three-point line. WSU suffered through a handful of lapses tracking OU’s sharpshooter Christian James, who made three three-pointers, as the Sooners made six threes on 46-percent accuracy in the first half.
The good news, at least relatively, was WSU only trailed by eight, 35-27, at halftime.
The bad news is that things actually got worse in the second half.
Jaime Echenique swished a three-pointer in the first 30 seconds to trim OU’s lead to five, which seemed like a distant memory when just 10 minutes later the Sooners would hold a 20-point lead.
The Shockers missed 18 of their next 21 shots and struggled to produce as many defensive stands as they did in the first half. That deadly combination led to the first blowout loss of the season for WSU, which trailed by as many as 27 points in the second half.
WSU has four days to prepare for another team that’s on a winning streak, as Jacksonville State has rattled off five straight wins entering Wednesday’s matchup at Koch Arena.