What has happened to Wichita State? A loss to Missouri Valley contender Indiana State is one thing. Falling to Northern Iowa was a game the Shockers likely wish they could have had back.
But Tuesday night showed a reason for real concern with Gregg Marshall’s team, as the Shockers fell to Southern Illinois, 64-62, at SIU Arena in Carbondale, Ill.
Wichita State led, 62-60, with 1:12 to play after a Carl Hall tip-in, but Jalen Pendleton tied the game with a layup on SIU’s next possession. The Shockers had a chance to take the lead with 0:12 to play but turned the ball over, setting up Pendleton for a jumper that was blocked but called a goaltend to take the lead with 0:03 remaining. That proved to be the game winner.
Southern Illinois was previously 1-10 in Missouri Valley play and ranked 255th in the nation in scoring, but three players scored in double figures Tuesday. T.J. Lindsey led the way with 14 points to go along with Desmar Jackson and Jeff Early with 11 each.
Hall and Cleanthony Early, Wichita State’s two biggest offensive threats who combine to average over 27 points per game, were held to just 15 points Tuesday night. Without those two producing, Demetric Williams was the only reliable scorer for WSU. He finished with 15 points.
The Shockers were also -7 in turnover differential. Point guard Malcolm Armstead had four turnovers for the second straight game, which did not help the offensive find its groove.
Wichita State now stand 1.5 games behind Creighton for the lead in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.