WSU sophomore Toure MurryClevin Hannah answered a lot of questions from the media after Tuesday’s loss to Pitt in the Sprint Center. That scene provided the pick-me-up after a 68-55 loss. Hannah, suspended for WSU’s first three games by the NCAA, returns tonight. The Shockers committed 24 turnovers, including six by replacement point guard Toure Murry. WSU didn’t show up like it wanted against its best non-conference opponent. Opportunity missed.“We looked like a team that missed their senior point guard,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “That’s not an excuse – they’ve got more guys out than we do. We certainly could have used him.”
Hannah’s return will help cut down on turnovers. He also gives WSU another scorer, which it desperately needs. Besides turnovers, the most disappointing thing about the performance was the lack of scoring support for Murry and J.T. Durley. Neither Graham Hatch nor David Kyles scored. Hatch didn’t give WSU his customary dose of hustle plays. He grabbed one rebound. Kyles only took one shot, a sure indication the Panthers locked him down. Aaron Ellis scored two points and grabbed five rebounds. That ’s not near enough production from three starters.Dribble drives continue to be a problem for the WSU defense. Pitt isn’t the first team to get into the lane too often and too easily. Opponents are shooting 45 percent from the field in WSU’s three games. They are also shooting 40 percent from three-point range. Liberal subbing in the first two games account for some of that. The Shockers need to defend the three hard tonight against Iowa. The Hawkeyes will keep shooting them no matter the score. They are 33 of 116 (28.4 percent) from beyond the arc. If you’re a pessimistic Shocker fan, that means Iowa is due.The Shockers did cause 17 turnovers (although Pitt coach Jamie Dixon lamented a few needless ones late in the game) and WSU’s press continues to show a lot of potential. The Shockers changed up a lot on Monday and it helped at times.Gabe Blair gave WSU its good news of the game. He scoerd nine points and grabbed eight rebounds. After a so-so debut against Fairleigh Dickinson, Blair looked much better in the next two games. He has an unorthodox, herky-jerky offensive style that can be difficult to figure. His shot isn’t pretty, but the ball goes in. In the past two games, he is 6 of 11 from the field and 8 of 10 from the line. With his quickness, he should get to the line a lot.Toure Murry’s off-season emphasis on shooting is paying off in the early going. He is shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. He’s an All-MVC player if he maintains anything close to that pace. Moving him back to shooting guard can only help. His experience as point guard didn’t go smoothly, but it should help. He can play point guard if needed. Sometimes, he can do it pretty well.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is 35-0 in November. Travon Woodall stepped up to hurt the Shockers when WSU shut off Ashton Gibbs.
Iowa coach Todd Lickliter believes his team is getting better after its loss to Texas.
The Panthers credited reserve guard Chase Adams with limiting Murry in the second half.
Illinois State won after trailing on the road.
More love for MVC women’s basketball: Illinois State is off to a good start and ESPN.com notices. Creighton defeats Kansas State to make the Wildcats 0-2 against the MVC this season.