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Wichita State efficiently routs Missouri-Kansas City, 109-57

Taylor Eldridge, The Wichita Eagle on

Published in Basketball

WICHITA, Kan. -- Forget about Conner Frankamp, Landry Shamet, and Austin Reaves.

The sharpshooters for No. 7 Wichita State on Friday were Darral Willis, Shaquille Morris and Rauno Nurger, as the trio of big men scorched the nets at Koch Arena in the season-opening 109-57 rout of Missouri-Kansas City.

The combined 20 feet of posts drilled a combined five 3-pointers after making just 17 combined all of last season. Willis, who didn't connect on a single 3-pointer last season, made his first two shots from distance to start the season.

For a team receiving its highest preseason recognition in three decades, Wichita State looked every bit the part of the Final Four contender while playing a team ranked outside of the top-300 in Ken Pomeroy's preseason rankings. Wichita State met the standard of excellence on Friday and achieved ruthless efficiency.

It took the Shockers just 15 possessions -- a little more than eight minutes -- to establish a 26-11 lead over UMKC. This proved to not be a hot streak. Wichita State operated at that this elite level of efficiency for the entire game.

What is a defense supposed to do when Willis, Morris, and Nurger can consistently knock down 3-pointers?

What is a defense supposed to do when Frankamp tortures defenders who are expecting a pull-up 3-pointer by swooping by them and finishing at the rim, something he rarely did last season?

These are questions the College of Charleston will ponder heading into Monday's prime-time matchup at Koch Arena.

Wichita State's offense will surely see some regression against better competition, but Friday was a peek into what the Shockers can do.

Frankamp's offseason promise to be more aggressive attacking the rim translated, as the senior scored 11 points and handed out nine assists. Samajae Haynes-Jones was a force in transition, as he scored 11 points to go with four rebounds and five assists. And Reaves, who looked slow in the team's first exhibition, showed no rust in scoring eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in 16 minutes.

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