Saturday , Dec , 23 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Shockers try to rebound from first loss

Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) – The eighth-ranked Wichita State Shockers were
handed their first loss of the season last night, and they will attempt to
bounce back strong against the USC Trojans tonight in the third-place game
of the Las Vegas Classic.

USC took on Kansas State last night in the semifinal round, and the result
was a 68-55 loss. That setback halted a four-game winning streak for USC,
which has racked up a 9-3 record thanks to a fairly weak non-conference

As for Wichita State, it carried a 9-0 record into last night’s matchup
with New Mexico, tying the school record for the best start to a campaign.
Unfortunately, the team could not claim the outright program record, falling
to the Lobos by a 71-68 final. The Shockers gained a great deal of national
exposure with a four-point triumph over LSU last month.

The all-time series between USC and Wichita State is tied at 1-1, but the teams
haven’t met since 1959.

USC led Kansas State by five points at intermission last night and held a
seven-point advantage early in the second stanza. Unfortunately, the Wildcats
promptly went on a 20-3 run to take control of the contest. USC finished the
game 1-of-11 from three-point range, and the club suffered a 34-27 rebounding
disadvantage. Clearly, however, the most obvious cause of defeat was a
staggering total of 28 turnovers. Daniel Hackett led the way in the loss
with 14 points on the strength of an 8-of-8 shooting effort from the foul
line. As for Lodrick Stewart, he posted 10 points, falling short of his team-
leading average of 15.5 ppg. Nick Young is close behind with 15.4 ppg, and Taj
Gibson adds 12.3 ppg to the mix. The Trojans are netting 71.5 ppg on 47.3
percent shooting from the floor, and they are limiting opponents to 58.6 ppg
on 33.1 percent efficiency.

It is hard to blame Kyle Wilson for Wichita State’s loss last night, as he
poured in 23 points to go along with nine rebounds. Sean Ogirri pitched in 18
points for the Shockers, who clearly missed the services of P.J. Couisnard.
The junior forward was too ill to participate in the contest, so his 12 ppg
were gone from the lineup. Wichita State trailed 40-27 at one point before
going on a 17-5 run. Unfortunately, New Mexico proved to be the better team
down the stretch. Wilson is scoring 14.0 ppg thus far, and Ogirri checks in
with 11.4 ppg. The Shockers are scoring 75.2 ppg on 49.3 percent shooting from
the floor, and they are limiting opponents to 59.7 ppg on 39.6 percent
shooting. They are turning the ball over only 11 times per contest, four fewer
than their opponents.