A couple of our favorite water-cooler debates were fired back up by the end of this classic 67-64 Wichita State win.
Should a coach call for the foul when his team is up three with under :10 left on the clock? Are referees blind and/or willfully destroying college basketball?
With Carl Hall at the line, having missed the front end of his two foul shots, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall clearly and forcefully instructed his team to foul if Hall missed the second. He did, and Ethan Wragge got the rebound. As the ball advanced up the floor, a WSU player laid hands on his opponent, and… nothing. Wragge got a long look from three that failed to fall, and the game was over.
Was the tense ending more exciting for us, the viewers? Heck yes. Was it the right call? Heck no. Had Wragge made the buzzer-beater, and WSU lost in OT, Marshall’s head might have spun around before exploding, and who could have blamed him?
While we’re speculating, an OT period likely wouldn’t have worked in the Bluejays’ favor, because starting guards Jahenns Manigat and Grant Gibbs had already fouled out by the time Hall stepped to the line. Gibbs left with 14 points, but Manigat had a horrible game, scoring zero points in 13 minutes. Still, he also had zero turnovers.
The Shockers showed a very well-rounded squad to the home crowd at Koch Arena. Carl Hall had a 17/13 double-double in his second game back from a hand injury that cost him seven games. His frontcourt mate Cleanthony Early had 13, and the backcourt duo of Malcolm Armstead and Demetric Williams combined for 25 points.
Doug McDermott burnished his All-American credentials in the loss, scoring 25 points and hitting 4-5 from deep. If WSU’s Marshall wants to hang his hat on one thing from this game, it would have to be his team’s success in keeping the ball in Wragge’s (1-6 from deep) hands for the final shot when McDermott was flat killing it from outside.
The win puts Wichita State in a 6-1 tie with Creighton atop the Missouri Valley standings. Better yet, the two teams don’t meet again until WSU travels to Omaha on March 2. Season-ending battle for supremacy between two top-notch MVC squads? Yes, please.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.