WSU's Graham HatchWe will write off Monday’s first half problems to human nature. Perhaps it’s better to think about them as the inevitable result of guarantee games. Everybody in Koch Arena knew how that game was supposed to play out. Sure, the Shockers should be experienced enough to rise above the general malaise that infected the gym.
For the first half, they weren’t. Not totally unexpected in this game during exams. Other than a nightmare four minutes at San Diego State, the Shockers have not suffered through long stretches of bad basketball this season. That’s an achievement. That is, fans hope, more of a statement about where this team is going than last night’s first half. From here on out, every team should get WSU’s full attention.
LSU lost to Coastal Carolina on Wednesday. Coastal Carolina out-rebounded LSU by 10 and outscored the Tigers by nine points at the line – in Baton Rouge. You probably don’t know much about Coastal, so you might not know it went to the NIT last season. I didn’t know.WSU guard David Kyles benefited from being an unknown early in the season. After a ridiculously hot start, he is going to be a bigger focus of scouting reports. He is 3 of 12 from the field in the past two games for eight points. Kyles could help himself by driving to the basket and getting fouls, something he is capable of. Right now, he’s a shooter who teams want to make a driver. Kyles continues to lead WSU in scoring and is second in minutes. He is 2 of 4 from the free-throw line in nine games, which is almost as inexplicable as shooting 56.3 percent from three-point range.Perhaps Graham Hatch is the beneficiary of Kyles getting more attention. Hatch is averaging 12 points over the past three games, topped by a season-high 16 in Monday’s game. In the previous four, Hatch totaled 21 games. He is 6 of 10 from three-point range in those three games. “I haven’t changed my mind-set since the beginning of the season,” Hatch said. “That’s what’s great about our team – if you have an shot and you’re open, take it. We have a lot of threats on this team.”I’m ready to start a campaign to do whatever it takes to get Aaron Ellis a 10-rebound game. Ellis has grabbed nine five times as a Shocker – including the past two games. He has also done it twice in back-to-back games. For as many screens as he’s set, he deserves a double-figure rebound game before he leaves WSU.Ellis’ nine-rebound games – vs. Drake, 3-1-08; vs. Indiana State, 3-6-08; vs. Creighton, 1-17-09; vs. Nicholls State, 12-10-10; vs. Alabama A&M, 12-13-10.
Around the Valley
SIU has a new baseball coach. Assistant coach Ken Henderson takes over for Dan Callahan, who passed away last month.Creighton is losing a walk-on. Kody Ingle made a tough choice for the right reason.UNI is taking a lot of threes, and missing way too many.