This is the version of Chadrack Lufile Wichita State needs.
Lufile stands 6-feet-9-inches tall, filled up with 266 pounds. He has monster size, but at times, that monster sleeps soundly during games.
Against Indiana State, Lufile was awoken. He racked up a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds as Wichita State rolled to a 68-48 win.
Lufile averaged only 5.9 and 4.7, respectively, coming into the matchup.
Lufile played his most minutes of the season – 27 – as he made his muscle work on both ends of the court. Shocker coach Gregg Marshall was quick to compliment Lufile during the game, and Marshall saw what it meant to his burly post player.
“He had chill bumps all over his arm, because I was just praising him and telling him how great he was doing,” Marshall said. “His whole body was chill bumps. I love that. He’s got a big heart, a lot of intensity and passion.”
If Lufile is finding his stride, the Shockers may find another level altogether, too. No one doubts the talent of the backcourt, but opponents can be stickier on the perimeter if they do not believe there are threats in the paint.
Perhaps most important, Lufile is earning the trust of his guards. On Saturday, they tossed it into Lufile nine times in the post to try to set up the offense. He also drove twice, and picked up offensive rebounds in the paint four times.
“He’s been keeping it simple,” said Wichita State point guard Fred VanVleet. “The way he’s rebounding and running the floor and blocking shots of late, you have to give him the ball down there sometimes.”
The Sycamores averaged 76.7 ppg as a team coming into the contest, tops in the Missouri Valley Conference. That number took a tumble. Indiana State was held to 22 points in the first half, and then went nearly five minutes without a score to start the second half.
Indiana State entered the ballgame with five players averaging double figures in points. Only Dawon Cummings, a former Coffeyville Community College player, beat his average. He led the team with 19.
“I think our biggest thing was keeping them off the 3-point line,” said Wichita State’s Ron Baker. “We kept a couple of them quiet, and that was a key.”
A 3-pointer from Baker in the middle of the second half gave the Shockers a 61-33 lead – its biggest of the game. He paced the Shockers with 16 points. VanVleet added 15.
The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for Indiana State (14-4, 5-1).
“That was just a domination,” said Indiana State coach Greg Lansing. “Really disappointed in how we played.
“We got taught a little bit of a lesson today.”
The victory gave No. 5 Wichita State (19-0, 6-0) sole possession of first place in the MVC. The Shockers also improved to 12-0 at Koch Arena.
“I’ve been in some of the loudest places in the country. There’s no place any louder than this,” Lansing said. “This is as great a venue as there is in the entire country.”