By Ken Cross
Wichita State arrived in Maui and found a Cal Bears team that took the fight to them for over 32 minutes before Wichita State’s talent took over and the Shockers were able to pull out a 92-82 win. The level that Gregg Marshall’s team play at was not up to speed as it took a 14-2 run over the last 3:36 to take that win.
Tuesday, the Shockers elevated to a higher level as Landry Shamet led four Shockers in double figures with 19 points, seven boards, and four assists. Wichita State stormed the glass with a 42-25 advantage as the Shockers out scored Marquette 44-22 inside to take a convincing 80-66 win.
“I thought we played much better, more like Wichita basketball that I’m used to seeing,” said Marshall, “They were a tough team. But in the end, I think our size and strength wore them down.”
Wichita State took over with it’s physicality and better inside play where forward Rashard Kelly had six point and led with 10 rebounds.
“We just kept crashing our offense and continuing to check out on defense,” explained Kelly, “That’s just really our motto. We really didn’t think about the numbers during the game, but just the performance at the end of the game kind of showed our motto.”
Kelly is one of those players who does so many things that may not appear in the box score. He takes charges, gets deflections, closes out well and goes to the boards hard, whether or not he gets rebounds.
“I’m glad I contributed,” said Kelly, “The numbers, they don’t really matter to me how high they go. We have a plus-minus system, and the more pluses I have, that’s the more satisfaction I’ll get.”
The 6-7 senior who attended Hargrave Military in Virginia has proven to be Wichita State’s lock down defender. His contributions will certainly be a major key as the Shockers face Notre Dame tonight at 10:30 in the Maui Invitational Final.
His greatest moment in the game was the two blocked shots in one possession where he got a block on a break away layup and then recovered to block a second shot. The series show Kelly’s workmanship and his vigilance in making plays on the defensive end.
“That was a tremendous play, and it epitomizes Rashard Kelly and hopefully our program,” commented Marshall.