WICHITA, Kan. — Gregg Marshall was willing to divulge some of the halftime adjustments he made that enabled No. 6 Wichita State to rally past pesky South Dakota State on Tuesday night.
He just wasn’t going to replicate the R-rated delivery.
The Shockers began switching ball screens that frustrated them the first 20 minutes, and a full-court press got the Jackrabbits out of sorts. And after slowly digging from a 13-point second-half hole, the Shockers escaped with a 95-85 victory over the Summit League favorites.
“The resolve, the toughness of these guys, the refuse-to-lose carried us tonight,” Marshall said.
Landry Shamet led the way with 21 points and eight assists. Shaquille Morris had a big second half and finished with 20. Conner Frankamp added 16 points, setting the school record by hitting a 3-pointer in his 30th straight game. And big man Darral Willis Jr. finished with 13 points.
That was enough for the Shockers (7-1) to offset Mike Daum, who hit seven 3-pointers and poured in 31 points for South Dakota State. Daum also had six rebounds in a virtuoso performance.
“With Mike, he scores the ball so well and when he can command so much attention it gives other guys easier plays, easier looks,” Jackrabbits coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “When he’s playing with that confidence and swagger he had tonight, that makes everyone better.”
The game was knotted 27-all midway through the first half when Daum hit one of his four first-half 3-pointers. That began a run over the next 5 minutes that pushed the Jackrabbits’ advantage to 39-30 and silenced another crowd packed to the rafters of Koch Arena.
Daum wound up scoring 16 points in the first half, and the Jackrabbits — who were trounced just up the road by No. 2 Kansas a couple of weeks ago — shot 63 percent from the field in the first half.
“In the first half, we weren’t communicating too much like we needed to,” Morris said. “As soon as we started communicating, got back and got in a defense stance, we did a better job contesting shots.”
Indeed, South Dakota State twice pushed its advantage to 13 points early in the second half before Marshall finally began slapping on a full-court press to change the tempo of the game.
It was a big improvement over their leaky half-court defense.
“It seemed like they were hitting everything. That doesn’t happen too much around here,” Morris said. “We talked about at halftime that we needed to get back in it, get the crowd riled up to give us the extra boost we needed.”
The press cooled South Dakota State offensively, and the Shockers slowly chipped away at their deficit. Frankamp made three free throws, Morris knocked down a 3 and Rashard Kelly threw down a dunk to make it 76-all — the first time it was tied since the 9:09 mark of the first half.
Daum set an illegal screen to earn his fourth foul and a spot on the bench with 5:53 left, and back-to-back-to-back baskets by Morris in the paint made it 89-81 with 2:26 to go.
The Shockers were never threatened again.
“I mean, a win’s a win,” Shamet said. “It wasn’t a perfect game, but getting a win gives us some momentum going into a game against Oklahoma State.”
Junior college transfer Samajae Haynes-Jones, who scored 31 points in a win over Savannah State, missed the game with an unspecified illness. “Samajae had some stomach issues we’re trying to resolve,” Marshall said. “I don’t know if Samajae thought it was going to be an easy game to sit this one out.”
South Dakota State was fifth nationally in made 3-pointers entering the game, but the Shockers evidently forgot that part of the scouting report. They allowed the Jackrabbits to go 14 for 29 from beyond the arc, and that long-range shooting was nearly enough to spring the upset.
Wichita State proved it could beat an NCAA Tournament-caliber opponent on an off night, and that should bode well the rest of the season. The performance also gave Marshall plenty of teaching moments, especially on the defensive end, where lapses throughout the game nearly cost his team.
South Dakota State plays Concordia of Nebraska on Friday night.
Wichita State visits Oklahoma State on Saturday.