Landry Shamet’s dribbling at halfcourt, and while most everyone in Charles Koch Arena is watching, Shaq Morris is staring at Gregg Marshall on the sidelines. As the shot clock hits 10, Marshall’s hand beckons, and Morris sprints to set a screen for Shamet. Morris’ defender is late getting into position, so the 6-4 point guard bursts between the coverage into the middle of the floor. He’s got options. Morris is rolling to the rim, Darral Willis Jr. is popping to the 3-point line and on his right, Conner Frankamp fades to the corner. Frankamp’s defender hesitates for a split second. Shamet notices. He throws the pass. Moments later, Wichita State leads Florida Gulf Coast 70-62 with 1:10 remaining, and there’s a sense of relief in the building. This is the second unexpectedly close home game in a row for the Shockers, and both came on the heels of a loss to Oklahoma in which star freshman Trae Young put on one of the most impressive offensive performances you’ll ever see in a half. Anxieties among the Wichita State faithful are running high as many openly wonder what’s going on with the team’s defense. In a sense, the Shockers are victims of their own success. They’ve finished in the top 20 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency — a measure of points allowed per 100 possessions and adjusted for the quality of opponents — in each of the last five seasons. There are high expectations these days.
Wichita State basketball faces new challenge: Dealing with standard of high expectations
Sporting News - NCAAB | Dec 29