Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall ran through a long list of positives, not a surprising development after a 40-point win.
The result — a 91-51 win over Chicago State on Wednesday at Koch Arena — was never an issue. How the Shockers went about winning mattered more.
“I played a lot of guys some valuable minutes and saw some nice things,” Marshall said. “Now it’s move on to the big game of the week, which is in San Diego Saturday night.”
WSU (5-1) prepared for that meeting with No. 17 San Diego State with a solid, sometimes spectacular, night against overmatched Chicago State (2-6). The Shockers, after some early sloppiness, played long stretches of smart, crisp basketball. They rarely let the margin alter their effort.
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“We just looked at the things we needed to do get better as a team,” guard David Kyles said. “There’s been a lot of talk going around that we can’t guard the ball. We took this as a work-on-us game.”
The Shockers gave up a few open shots, but did a much better job stopping drives into the lane. They held the Cougars to nine baskets in the first half and 20 for the game.
WSU continued its offensive efficiency, shooting 50.8 percent from the field. After a rash of turnovers early in the game, WSU settled down and committed only six in the second half.
Marshall played 11 players 3 or more minutes. None of his starters played more than 19, which should help their legs during a busy week. Sophomore Demetric Williams played 23 minutes and was happy to get that much work. Turnovers have been a problem for Williams and he turned that around with four assists and two turnovers against the Cougars.
“He's getting there,” Marshall said. “He's got to take care of the ball. Don't try to make a home-run play, just don’t turn it over.”
Williams also scored a career-high 14 points — going 8 for 8 from the foul line — to give him a needed feel-good effort.
“I still had two turnovers — I wanted to eliminate those,” Williams said. “But some of my teammates found me, and I was able to get a good rhythm.”
Kyles led WSU with 15 points, all on three-pointers. J.T. Durley added 11 points and grabbed four rebounds after going without a rebound in the two previous games.
The Shockers gave the crowd their fill of highlight moments during the 20-2 run to close the first half.
A free throw started the burst. Gabe Blair gave it life with a flat-footed jumper from the baseline.
It grew more exciting quickly.
Kyles’ steal led to a Kyles three-pointer for a 35-20 lead. Blair swatted away a jumper by Carl Montgomery. Kyles made a loooong three — at least five feet behind the line — for a 40-20 lead. Kyles jumped high to snuff a jumper by Ardarius Simmons. After Simmons missed a guarded jumper, Joe Ragland pushed the ball to produce a layup for Demetric Williams. Aaron Ellis, running the break after another Cougars miss, scored the final points of the half with a one-handed slam.
On it went.
Graham Hatch took a charge to start the second half. Kyles sank a step-back three for a 52-22 lead and a corner three to make it 57-22.
Marshall rotated his top players in waves. He started sending in deep reserves in the first half and began clearing the bench for good with around five minutes to play. The Shockers scored 91 points, their most since they broke 100 against Maryland-Eastern Shore in 2006.