When the USI men play like they played in beating Wisconsin-Parkside 81-62 on Saturday … oh, wait, that’s how they’re supposed to play ALL the time. Get the ball in the middle to DeWitt or Manny or Wisch, then distribute it around and watch the opponent’s defense blow up. Parkside folded like a cheap PAC chair — just like what happened to Kentucky Wesleyan in the last game of the regular season and Lewis on Thursday night in the overtime of their GLVC Tournament quarterfinal game.
Some Saturday details I wasn’t able to get to in my game story:
Kenyon Smith scored five points, grabbed six rebounds, passed out eight assists and stole the ball three times — just another day at the office for the best defensive player in the GLVC. Just remember that he does stuff like that all the time on one good foot. If you haven’t heard, he’s been suffering from plantar fasciitis — a very painful condition on the bottom of the foot — for most of the season. One person told me he saw Smith limping around so badly the other day he thought Smith couldn’t possibly play on Saturday. But, of course, there he was being Kenyon and being a pain in another part of the body for Parkside. “Our main focus was to run them off the 3-point line,” he said when I asked him what USI’s main defensive strategy was for its guards. “The No. 1 thing coach put up on the blackboard before the game was top their transition.” Parkside got 10 fast-break points but it didn’t matter.
USI outrebounded Parkside 47-24. In addition to Orlando Rutledge grabbing 11 boards, Keith DeWitt and Smith had six apiece and Lawrence Thomas and Taylor Wischmeier had five each.
The Eagles dished out 20 assists. In addition to Kenyon’s Smith eight assists, Thomas passed out five and Wischmeier and DeWitt had two apiece.
Wischmeier had a miserable game offensively, going 0-for-10 from the field and not scoring at all. But he should take solace in his five rebounds and two assists as well as the defense he provided in the middle that kept people like Jeremy Saffold — the GLVC player of the year — from owning the paint. Wisch’s big problem is he gets down on himself. I could see him shaking his head and, it looked like, cursing himself after almost every missed shot on Saturday. I think he was incredulous he was missing such open and easy looks. Somehow I have a feeling he’s going to slip through some opponent’s scouting report soon and he’ll end up with one of those monster games like he had early in the season.