Wichita State lost a season opener for the first time in 16 seasons after Louisiana Tech handed the Shockers a 13-point loss in their official first game of the season.
The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Shockers by 11—something Wichita State is not used to happening.
“We’re going to have to get better,” Head Coach Gregg Marshall said. “We did some things pretty well tonight, but I’m not accustomed to being out-rebounded.”
Wichita State couldn’t get a shot to fall—they shot 37 percent from the field and only knocked down 11 of their 26 free throw attempts.
“When you shoot 42 percent and get out-rebounded by  you’re probably going to lose the game,” Marshall said. “That’s the story of the game in my opinion.”
After the seniors helped the Shockers win against Catawba for a combined 33 points, Markis McDuffie and Samajae Haynes-Jones had a combined 15.
Despite their loss, Marshall still has high hopes for the seniors.
Even though McDuffie went 3-11 from the field, Marshall has faith that the leader will find his groove.
“Markis I think was a little rushed. He wants it so badly, he wants to play well, he wants to win, but he’s just rushing it and forcing things,” Marshall said. “We’re still going to ride him, he’s still our best player right now…he just has to be more efficient.”
Although the team is young, and the season just began, this loss did not sit well with the team—especially for freshman guard Erik Stevenson.
“No feeling will ever out-do a loss in my book,” Stevenson said. “Losing is one of the worst things to happen to me in my life. The feeling of losing to me is horrible.”
Stevenson did everything in his effort to attempt to not have to stomach a loss. The freshman finished as the leading scorer with 16 points, knocking down four of his six three-point attempts.
He realized in the exhibition game against Catawba that some of his teammates were playmakers, which made Wichita State harder to guard, so he wanted to be an asset of the sort too.
“I noticed with the team we got a couple guys that can go score and they get to the paint and make plays,” Stevenson said. “I figured I need to be one of those guys too. It would make us tougher to guard.”
The newcomers on the team realized that the team’s performance tonight is not what the Wichita State “style” is.
Freshman guard Dexter Dennis said the team strayed from what the Shockers are known for.
“It’s almost like we’re not playing how Wichita has really been playing,” Dennis said. “We weren’t really doing things this program is known for, like rebound the ball, getting stops. We’re not being who this program really is.”
Stevenson agreed that the team wasn’t living up to the Wichita State on the technical side, but he thinks their mental and physical toughness isn’t up to where they would like it to be.
“Toughness. That is what this program has been successful with is execution on the offensive end and toughness on the defensive end,” Stevenson said. “We’re still trying to find that.”
The Shockers are staying hopeful for the rest of the season, and the newcomers are adding fuel to the fire by wanting to carry on Wichita State’s winning traditions.
“We don’t want this tradition to die off. Seven-straight NCAA appearances, we don’t want to be the team to break it,” Stevenson said. “We feel bad and we’ve got our heads a little bit down right now but we’re going to go back to the drawing boards and prepare for the next one.”