No. 11 Wichita State gets past Florida Gulf Coast
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said he is “glad” the 11th-ranked Shockers’ non-conference schedule is over after their 75-65 win against Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night in Wichita, Kan.
“I really am; it’s been brutal,” Marshall said. “We played the best non-conference schedule in my tenure (11th season as the Shockers’ coach).”
Wichita State (10-2) lost to Notre Dame and Oklahoma but also beat Baylor on the road and Oklahoma State.
Florida Gulf Coast (7-7) looked like the NCAA Tournament team it was last year until 4:48 remained in the game. That’s when Wichita State, which begins its first season in the American Athletic Conference on Dec. 30 at Connecticut, started to pull away on a 9-1 spurt, capped by Conner Frankamp’s 3-pointer with 1:10 left.
The 3, which put the Shockers ahead 70-62, increased Frankamp’s streak to 33 games with at least one make beyond the arc.
“What I’m pleased with the most is that we made some big shots down the stretch,” Marshall said. “We didn’t turn it over against their pressure. We played the opposite way in the first half. We did some of the most knuckleheaded things we’ve ever done since I’ve been here in the first half with our turnovers.”
Wichita State settled down after committing nine turnovers by halftime. The Shockers finished with 15. Florida Gulf Coast had 19 points off turnovers.
Landry Shamet scored a game-high 23 points for the Shockers and Darral Willis Jr. had 15 points and 13 rebound.
The Shockers blocked 11 shots in the game, including five by Shaquille Morris and three by Rashard Kelly.
They also went to the free-throw line 26 times compared to only 10 for Florida Gulf Coast. Wichita State outscored the Eagles at the line 22-6.
Florida Gulf Coast was led by Brandon Goodwin with 20 points and Zach Johnson with 19. No other Eagles players scored in double figures.
Wichita State pulled away after Florida Gulf Coast tied the game at 61 following a layup by Brady Ernst with 4:48 remaining.
“They’ve got great guard play,” Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley said. “Great point guard play by Landry Shamet. You’ve got a team that can make a run to the Final Four.”
Junior forward Markis McDuffie, an All-Missouri Valley Conference selection last season, played in his first game of the season after recuperating from a stress fracture in his left foot that he suffered in September.
McDuffie finished with three points and five rebounds in nine minutes.
“Never in my life did I not play basketball for three months,” said McDuffie, who averaged 11.5 points and 5.7 rebounds a game last season. I’ve always been out there playing like a warrior.”
Wichita State led by as many as 13 points in the first half but was ahead only 35-33 at halftime. Florida Gulf Coast went on a 12-3 run to cut the lead to 33-31 with 3:42 left in the half. The Shockers did not make a field goal in the last 4:43 before halftime.
Wichita State had another cold spell early in the second half as the Shockers did not make a field goal from 16:33 left in regulation until 12:17.
During that span, Florida Gulf Coast went on a 13-0 run to take a 50-43 lead with 13:05 remaining. Goodwin scored the last seven points of that run.
The Shockers then scored seven unanswered points — five of them by Jones — to tie the game at 50 with 11:29 left.
NOTES: Four of Florida Gulf Coast’s six losses entering the game have been by five points or fewer, and in all four of those games it has had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds. ... Entering the game, Wichita State’s 12-game non-conference schedule was the nation’s 29th toughest (according NCAA RPI calculations). The schedule includes nine games against 2017 postseason teams. The Shockers are 5-1 against teams that were in the NCAA Tournament last year, including Florida Gulf Coast. ... After not making double-figure 3-pointers in any of its first 10 games, Florida Gulf Coast made 10, 11 and 11 in three straight games before making nine against the Shockers.