When breaking down games, some things are difficult to spot and some things are easy. This was the latter, because when Wichita State was able to get into their offense, they were the better team, but basketball is about being able to handle the pressure.
When Louisville finally ramped up the press, Wichita State’s offense stalled and their confidence started to falter. With Russ Smith and Peyton Siva not playing particularly well, Luke Hancock was a consistent force on the offensive end. Wichita State weren’t rattled until the late in the game, but Cleanthony Early (funniest name in tournament) almost single-handedly kept them in the game.
When Witchita State looks back on this game, they will regret a couple of things. They were up double-digits when they missed two front ends of a 1 and 1 and Louisville took advantage.
Walk-on Tim Henderson nailed two-three pointers to get the deficit to a manageable margin.
The second thing, is for the most part they took care of the ball, but at the end of the game crucial turnovers and bad possessions against the press fueled Louisville’s comeback. This is a game that the Shockers had in their grasp and blew it.
Louisville did not play well, so that should be comforting to them going into the Championship game. Don’t expect Russ Smith and Peyton Siva to shoot a combined 7 for 26 again (Smith was also brutal at the line 5-12, but did make two big ones at the end).
It wasn’t pretty, but they got the job done.