▪ Key statistics: The Shockers recorded 21 assists, matching their season-high, to restore crispness and movement to the offense after subpar showings in losses to Louisville and Michigan State.
Louisville, with its matchup zone, and Michigan State with man defense dedicated to walling off the lane, got the Shockers standing around, just as those defenses are designed. When the Shockers moved and cut hard to make the defense move, they created good shots or rebounding chances.
Too often, they didn’t move.
“It takes guys not just staring at the ball with their hands out, wanting the basketball back,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “You’ve got to be able to move and pass it. Move yourself and the ball. Don’t become a tree and grow roots. Ultimately, with good cutting and spacing, the ball will come back to you. We’ve had guys that only know how to play with their hands out, wanting the basketball back.”
▪ How the game turned: Two three-pointers by Landry Shamet gave WSU a 14-2 lead and the Shocker bench, fueled by demoted starters, kept building the lead.
▪ Records: SNU 2-4, WSU 6-2
▪ Rotation watch: Shamet started at small forward as part of a lineup that worked well late in the loss to Michigan State.
Shaq Morris sat almost six minutes before coming in from the bench. Zach Brown didn’t check in until 9:47 remained in the first half. Morris (37) and Brown (38) own more starts than any other Shocker.
Both played well off the bench, although Morris needs to grab more than one rebound. He scored 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and seemed intent on scoring around the rim. Brown scored 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
“It has always been kind of different for me coming off the bench, but you really don’t have any control over that, the coaches do,” Brown said. “They made a decision and you just have to play how you are supposed to play no matter if you are coming off the bench or starting, you are always going to have to play no matter what and play to the best of your ability.”
▪ Somebody said this:
▪ Good: Nobody got hurt. Freshman Austin Reaves didn’t play, but looked good in Tuesday’s shoot-around.
▪ Bad: WSU’s streak of 45 straight Koch Arena sellouts ended with 70 unsold tickets. The streak started with the final game of the 2013 season.
▪ Numbers guy says: Brown, after recording offensive ratings of 58, 70 and 20 in the Bahamas, according to kenpom.com, led WSU with a 173 offensive rating (number of points produced per 100 individual possessions).
▪ On and on: WSU won its 41st straight home non-conference game, the nation’s second-longest streak. Duke is first at 130 … After committing three turnovers against Maryland Eastern Shore, Daishon Smith has nine assists and four turnovers in four games. He had a season-high five assists on Tuesday.
▪ Next up: at Colorado State, 4 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
The Rams (5-1) play at Colorado on Wednesday.
They are coached by Larry Eustachy, former Iowa State and Southerm Mississippi coach. WSU assistant Greg Heiar worked for Eustachy at Southern Miss. WSU freshman C.J. Kesyer signed at Colorado State in 2015 while at Sunrise Christian Academy before deciding to take another year at a prep school.
The Rams are one of the nation’s toughest teams to score against at the rim. They rank No. 24, according to hoop-math.com, nationally by holding opponents to 47.8-percent shooting in that area around the basket (WSU is No. 7 at 44.4).